No worry about RFID in Danish public library

February 10, 2005

In the Danish town of Silkeborg, RFID has been successfully installed in the public library. Each item in the library’s collection of 300,000 books, CDs and other materials has been tagged with a 13,56 MHz RFID chip. In the case of books, each tag consists of a self-adhesive label with the tag on the back side and a picture of the local artist Asger Jorn’s painting ”Livshjulet” (The Wheel of Life) on the front side. The labels are stuck on the inside cover of the books and now work as an extension of the barcode system.

The system has been working at full scale for several months now, enabling borrowers to automatically borrow, renew and return media. Most of these functions are also possible with the existing barcode system. However, the most spectacular issue about the RFID system is that there has not been a single complain from the library’s users! As a matter of fact, they think the system is an improvement, and nobody is concerned about surveillance.

Keeping in mind the massive movement against RFID in the San Francisco Public Library last spring, the public attitude is remarkably positive in this case from Denmark. Well aware of the San Francisco drama, the staff in Silkeborg have made a great effort to communicate about the purpose of RFID tags to the public.

The main reason for implementing the system is that RFID-tagged books free the staff to serve the borrowers in more important matters. With a functional system with RFID tags on every item in the collection, the library has laid the foundation for other visionary ideas that will benefit borrowers. The library in Silkeborg has just begun a pilot project on ”The Intelligent Bookshelf” that enables library users to locate a particular item – and also informs the borrower if an item is put back on the wrong shelf.


Posted by joakimditlev

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