In October 2008, I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting at the Bridging Worlds 2008 conference, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel Singapore, across the street from the National Library. A few of us took time one afternoon to tour around the library, where we wandered around the Central Lending Library and the Lee Kong Chiang Reference Library. Both were impressive and fairly crowded for a Friday afternoon. Our goal was to see the RFID system in the Reference Library, after learning about it from the National Library Board's Chief Executive, Dr. N Varaprasad. The RFID-equipped Smart Shelves were located in the Social Sciences and Applied Sciences sections of the Reference Library, which occupies several floors of the 16-story building. According to a press release, the RFID pilot, a partnership between the NLB and Exploit Technologies, tracks 46,000 books across some 275 shelves, making tracking and retrieval of these social science reference books easier and more efficient. Though the area was equipped with signage, the antennae were inconspicuously built into the shelves. One of the uses of the system is the automatic collection of browse counts--the system detects when a book is removed from its shelf.
Many thanks to NLB's Mr. Ian Bain, Dr. N Varaparasad, and National Librarian Ngian Lek Choh for their wonderful hospitality and the opportunity to visit and speak in Singapore.