To reduce its loss factor, the Cynthiana-Harrison Public Library in Kentucky will deploy a radio frequency identification (RFID) security system from 3M Library Systems this fall.
3M will install two single-corridor detection units that use RFID technology to help ensure that circulation items have been properly checked out. Each item will be affixed with an RFID tag, which stores the item's identity and transaction experience, and communicates information using radio waves. An item that has not been checked out will trigger a signal.
Tagging of some 50,000 circulation items has begun, and installation is expected to be completed by the end of November.
Cynthiana Library Director Pat Barnes says the RFID tags may eventually serve more than one purpose, enabling the library to automate such circulation management functions as checkout and return, sorting and inventory.
"Our immediate need was to improve security with respect to items lost," says Barnes. "However, we know that RFID also is used to enhance productivity in libraries, and we are examining that for the near term." A 3M SelfCheck System, which lets customers take out books and audio-visual items without a librarian's assistance, may be next on the library's RFID agenda, she adds.
Rory Yanchek, 3M general manager, says loss prevention is an increasingly critical concern for public libraries as budgets come under growing pressure in the face of expanding demand for services. "Libraries are recognizing that RFID helps make their circulating collections more secure, while also enabling greater productivity in serving the public, with tools such as SelfCheck Systems."
Libraries using RFID technology are especially focused on the durability and reliability of the tags, adds Jacob Haas, marketing manager for 3M. "3M RFID tags are designed to satisfy today's demanding library applications, and 3M warranties that they will last as long as the items to which they are affixed," says Hass.