A Library Chooses to Add RFID…10.20.10

20 10 2010

The Appleton Wisconsin Public Library has chosen to use RFID – excerpted from “the New Cybrary” blog:

“…RFID will change all our inventory control processes, most visibly checkout and security gates, but also check-in, reshelving, and searching for items. To implement it, we’ll need to place a radio-frequency tag in or on every item in the collection, then replace our self-checks, security gates and book-drops. We’ll want to add additional self-checks, new bookdrops, and automated materials handling equipment for returned items. With almost 400,000 items in our collections, this is a huge undertaking, and it will be the better part of two years before it’s done.

The reason for all the work and cost is to improve service and security while lowering costs. By automating processes, we can handle more business without more staff. We can shorten checkout lines as more people use self-checks. Some libraries get 90% of checkouts done at self-checks, and we’re planning to get easy-to-use checkout stations that will unlock media cases and allow payment of fines. We’ll still have staff to help with problems, but any routine checkout, picking up holds etc., should go much faster.

RFID will improve library use because we’ll get things back on the shelves faster, and have better tools to find lost or misshelved items. It will speed the checkout process by using faster more reliable self-checks with more functions including unlocking media cases and accepting fine payments. RFID will help stop loss with security gates which can notify staff of specific items being taken away without being checked out.

There should be considerable cost saving over time. Not only should we lose fewer items, but checkout and return processes can be highly automated. New bookdrops will check items in as they are returned, and automated materials handling will use conveyor belts to sort returned items. As implementation of new equipment is phased in, we should be able to save staff through attrition, by not using people to do repetitive tasks, and by letting attrition in non-benefited staff reduce the workforce. Staff should be able to do more high-level tasks and help the public. If use increases substantially, we would not need to increase staff commensurately.

In the past, there have been some civil liberties concerns expressed about public library RFID. In the system we are putting in place, there should be no privacy issues or concerns for two reasons:

  1. the radio frequency tags in our materials are very short range — about 18″ — and require a dedicated reader on the frequency of the tags
  2. the tags contain nothing more than the bar code just like is currently printed on the backs of our books. Without a link into our circulation database — which has strict privacy safeguards, the RFID data is meaningless.

All of these advantages and improvements come at a cost. We need to tag our entire collection, and then we need to replace a lot of equipment. The investment will pay off for the taxpayers, but the project has to be capitalized up front — and next year’s completion of the project is pending a decision by our City Council. The Library Board has requested the dollars, and the Mayor has included their request in his executive budget proposal to Council.

We’re keeping the cost much lower than it could have been by relying on volunteer labor to tag the materials. This will save many thousands of dollars over hiring temporary staff to do the project, or stringing it out for years to try to let current staff absorb the tagging duties. With volunteer help, we plan to be done tagging all the materials by next summer…”


Google Secrets…10.20.10

20 10 2010

Michael Sauers at the NLA/NEMA 2010 Conference

E-books in U.S. Public Libraries…10.20.10

20 10 2010

E-books in U.S. Public Libraries from ALA

Library ROI (Return on Investment) Redux…10.19.10

19 10 2010

From Library Research Service:

“…Study-Related Information and Resources

Personal ROI Calculator
Calculate your individual estimated Return on Investment
Library ROI Calculator
Calculate an estimated Return on Investment for your library
CAL PresentationPowerPoint document
Powerpoint presentation of “Public Libraries – A Wise Investment” from 2007 Colorado Association of Libraries Conference
Questions for Key Informants
Approaches to use for key informant interviews during the study

Related Articles

“$1 Invested Yields $5 Return”
Article in Douglas County News-Press, written by Douglas County Libraries Director Jamie LaRue
“Libraries are Essential in the Information Era”PDF document
Editorial in Colorado Springs Gazette, written by Pikes Peak Library District Executive Director Paula Miller
“Fort Morgan library returns $8.80 for every $1 spent”PDF document
Article from the Fort Morgan Times

Links to Related Information and Resources

What Have Other Studies Found?
Compilation of results from similar studies in public libraries in the United States
Articles and Studies Related to Library Value
Web Page from the American Library Association detailing other studies and articles about Return on Investment
Calculators from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine
Cost Benefit and ROI Calculator
Valuing Library Services Calculator…”

Cloud Computing Exlained…10.19.10

19 10 2010

Pew Research Data – Luxury to Necessity and Back Again…10.18.10

18 10 2010

Pew Research Data – 5 – Luxury to Necessity and Back Again

Libraries As Seen by the Media…10.18.10

18 10 2010

U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services…10.18.10

18 10 2010

U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services

The World of Data…10.16.10

16 10 2010

The World of Data

YouTube Launches Leanback Today..10.16.10

16 10 2010

Google In-Page Analytics…10.15.10

15 10 2010

New PEW Research Report: Americans and their gadgets…10.15.10

15 10 2010

From Americans and their gadgets:


  • Cell phones – 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults illustrate the extent to which mobile phones have become a necessity of modern communications: fully 96% of 18-29 year olds own a cell phone of some kind.
  • Desktop and laptop computers – Three quarters (76%) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.
  • Mp3 players – Just under half of American adults (47%) own an mp3 player such as an iPod, a nearly five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.
  • Game consoles – Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42% of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64%) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33%) to own a game console.
  • Tablet computers and e-book readers – Compared to the other devices in this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans. However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated–ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national average…”

  • $99 eReader ECTACO jetBook mini…10.15.10

    15 10 2010

    ECTACO jetBook mini

    Talking About the Web’s Visual Future…10.14.10

    14 10 2010

    Mobile Services for Libraries…10.14.10

    14 10 2010

    The Expert Library: Sustaining, Staffing, and Advancing The Academic Library in The 21st Century…10.14.10

    14 10 2010

    The Expert Library: Sustaining, Staffing, and Advancing The Academic Library in The 21st Century

    LibraryThing’s Library Anywhere Launch…10.14.10

    14 10 2010

    From PlanetCataloging:

    “We’re pleased to officially launch Library Anywhere. Library Anywhere is a mobile version of your public or academic library. It is available in mobile web formats today and in app forms in the coming weeks. It’s free for users, but libraries have to subscribe to it.

    Try it for yourself:


    Or go directly into a library. Try Gwinnett County Public LibraryUniversity of Nebraska Omaha Library, orWaukegan Public Library as starting points.

    Key features

    • Search catalog, place holds, renew items. It does what the regular catalog does.
    • Save records to your phone to access later. Works on any phone with a web-browsing feature—not just smart phones.
    • “Universal Version” is fully compliant with Section 508 and other accessibility standards.
    • Geo-location finds your nearest library easily.
    • Libraries can display events, branches, contact-a-librarian information, and other mobile pages.
    • LibraryThing for Libraries customers also get integrated tags, recommendations, information about other editions, and access to over 500,000 reviews.
    • Costs far less than similar products.
    • Works with most major OPAC systems.

    Version 1.0 includes:

    • iPhone mobile web
    • Android mobile web
    • Universal Version

    The iPhone/iPad app is pending Apple approval, and will be released this month. Apps for other platforms will be released by the end of the year…”

    Online Marketing for Libraries…10.14.10

    14 10 2010

    This Week in Libraries…10.13.10

    13 10 2010

    What Technology Wants – New Release Tomorrow…10.13.10

    13 10 2010

    What Technology Wants

    Amazon book release

    GFU Embedded Librarian Program…10.13.10

    13 10 2010

    Sony Internet TV with Google TV…10.13.10

    13 10 2010

    Library Marketing…10.13.10

    13 10 2010

    Future Ready Libraries…10.12.10

    12 10 2010

    Shapeshifting Future of the Mobile Phone…10.12.10

    12 10 2010

    New Windows Phone…10.12.10

    12 10 2010

    Microsoft Launches Windows 7 Smartphone…10.11.10

    11 10 2010

    Windows Phone

    Reader’s Advisory…10.11.10

    11 10 2010

    Gaming in the Library…10.11.10

    11 10 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving — in Canada…10.10.10

    10 10 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and relatives in the Great White North -Eh?


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