System RFID for libraries and archives

Application of RFID in the system of archiving and flow control of books and documents in libraries and archives

Libraries and archives contain valuable collections amounting to millions of volumes, books, magazines, documents) which are in constant circulation. Proper labelling and location on a shelf of each tome and borrowing control are essential for efficient operation of every library and archive.

RFID system is a modern system excellent for every library. It allows to:

- Reduce time necessary for book borrowing and return,
- Quickly label new titles and reliably find a given volume, for example, files in court archives,
- Reduce library operation costs. A huge advantage of RFID technique is visible while compiling inventory in library or archive. Time of drawing up inventory of collection containing 100,000 books labelled with RFID tags is about 12 times shorter than the time of making inventory of collection labelled with bar codes and about 50 shorter than methods of manual writing down.


The library system consists of several posts used by staff and library members, a number of antennas and software able to communicate data on all tags, and devices installed in the facility.


The main element of RFID system is a special RFID UHF label (with measuring 5-7mm x 100-140mm) which is glued to the chosen book collection. And the basis is labelling the chosen book collection / archive. The labels are self-adhesive, they consist of an integrated circuit and antenna combined to form a transponder. It has the ability to store information like book catalogue number, original store location or loan status and history. RFID labels can be rewrite again without any requirement for contact or line of sight. They sends wirelessly information to RFID reader. They have also multi-reader function, which means that several tags can be read at once. Labels do not have their own power supply and they do not use electric power when inactive. Guaranteed life-span of label chips is more than 50 years.


In order to enter book catalogue number into the label one needs a “coder” i.e., a post for coding labels. It is a device measuring about 250 x 250 x 100 mm which can be put on a table or a desk in any place. The coder supports PC and book collection management software. With labelled book collection we can automate the process of book borrowing and return, facilitate compiling inventory and shorten 10 times the amount of time required for it as well as protect ourselves against taking out “not borrowed” books.


For the purpose of book borrowing and return process automation special devices are used, so-called “borrowing posts”, which can have the form of a stand with touchscreen or a smaller device of the size of a printer. Book borrowing is made by placing books in the area of Borrowing Post reader and scanning borrower’s membership card or student card. Computer system will automatically register the operation in database.


Book return can take place at Borrowing Post by placing books on the active area of the reader and confirming return with the card of library employee who collects the books. We also offer self-service posts where a member can return books without the participation of library staff. These posts are made in the form similar to bank depository or conveyor, inner or outer as required.


Mobile RFID UHF readers are used for quickly drawing up inventory or verifying book location on the bookshelves. The readers are connected “online” to library system by wireless network or they operate “offline” sending and downloading data in the moment of connecting to a PC through USB or RS232 ports. They are equipped with touch screens and keyboards (also full QWERTY) which allow to easily enter/find catalogue number of the chosen book and then find it with the reader in library room.


Additionally, RFID UHF labels may be used for control of “illegal” taking out of books from library. For this purpose “RFID gate” is installed in the library. It may have the form similar to classic EAS gate (as in shops) or antennas may be placed in door frame in a visible or hidden way.


- Clear labelling and description of each book which facilitate sorting returned tomes,
- Reduction of costs thanks to simpler and quicker compiling of inventory (No line of sight needed like in bar codes),
- Self-service posts allow employees, who were previously occupied by borrowing and returning books, to again become library specialists. They can serve, in a significantly larger extend than before, clients with their knowledge and providing advice on the choice of books,
- Easy and quick adding new titles,
- Clear system of borrowing state and calculating fines,
- Theft prevention gates which make it impossible to evade borrowing post and make unauthorized taking out of books,
- Thanks to labeling documents with RFID chips both finding incorrectly placed document as well as handling its borrowing and return are performed in simple and reliable way.


- Fast and effective self-service borrowing system,
- Reduces queuing time,
- Provides patron privacy,
- Each borrowing and return is confirmed by receipt,
- Possibility to return books at any time thanks to outside depositories,
- Access to always up to date book catalogues with descriptions,
- Allows to check out and check in several items simultaneously.

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