UHF RFID Adopted in Grand Rapids Library to Improve Efficiency

Grand-Rapids-Library-UHF-rfid-blogAfter years of research and development, Grand Rapids Public Library has launched an RFID system this month, enabling it to speed up checkout, track check-in, provide security and manage inventory. The Michigan library believes it is the first public system to adopt UHF RFID in North America.

Aiming at reducing labor costs and improving efficiency, the library installed a more expansive RFID system at all of its 8 branches. The technology consists of fixed and handheld readers, tags on all media, and software designed by the library’s IT department to manage RFID read data and integrate it with the existing library-management system.

In the world, HF passive tags are employed if the library has implemented RFID technology. However, since HF tags have a short read range, libraries require a separate security system to track media leaving through the exit, or they must install a large antenna array specifically designed to read HF tags passing through a portal.

By deploying UHF, a library can have a faster and efficient system, which takes up less space and costs less. With the new system in place, now a pile of books can be read simultaneously. Besides, employees now can use a handheld reader or a portable interrogator on a wheeled cart to locate or count the inventory books in stacks.

Users only need to place the entire stack of books or other materials on the counter above the reader. Since UHF tags have a considerably longer read range than HF tags, the device can capture the ID numbers of multiple items in a single stack without need to be in proximity.

If a patron is unable to find a book, he/she can request help from the staff. Workers could then utilize one of the handhelds to look up the book’s location in the Evergreen software. If the book is found not to be where the software indicates it should be located, employees can use the handheld’s Geiger-counter mode to walk through the stacks and pinpoint it.