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November 2010

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-based technologies have grown into a major portion of the library automation landscape. While this topic has not been covered extensively in Smart Libraries Newsletter, RFID increasingly warrants attention. Not only are larger numbers of libraries investigating and adopting RFID products, but there are important conversations taking place regarding new standards and issues of interoperability with existing technology infrastructure components. This topic has been on my mind as I prepare for my keynote presentation at the CLIP RFID Conference to be held in London in November (http://www.cilip.org.uk/rfid2010/).

In the current economic climate, libraries struggle to maintain budgets in a difficult economy, the efficiencies and innovation made possible through RFID-based technologies can be an important aspect of a library’s technology strategy. Though not necessarily a panacea for all libraries, it’s an area of technology of increasing significance with an ever-expanding reach. RFID-based technologies today fit best into public libraries with moderate to high circulation volumes. Many academic libraries, especially those that serve large undergraduate populations, also experience the need to leverage technology to handle physical collections more efficiently. For these kinds of libraries, investments in technology can lead to improvements in service to patrons through more efficient handling of routine tasks related to physical materials. These investments give librarians and other staff more time to focus on providing services of higher value. Librarians should be careful to avoid the patterns we often seen in retail outlets with self-service, where too few personnel remain to deliver high-quality customer service.

-Marshall Breeding

Also in this Issue:

  • A Smart Approach to RFID Technologies
  • Library Automation at the State-Wide Scale
  • King County goes Live with Evergreen
  • Executive Changes in the Industry
  • Interacting with Digital Natives

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