The Law Library, RFID, and You

Photo of RFID shelf reader.

Photo by Michael Porter.

Starting tomorrow, January 14th, workers will be going around the library, taking books off of shelves, hopefully not making all that much noise, and in general just doing, well, stuff in the library. What are they doing?

As a part of our move to the new College of Law building, the Law Library is implementing a new system of keeping track of our books using RFID. RFID (which stands for “radio frequency identification”) involves marking each book with a tag that contains a small memory chip. The tag contains information unique to each book that can be read using specialized equipment.

What does this mean for you? Well, many things on the surface won’t change – you’ll still need to check books out at Circulation, and the gates will make noises if you go through them with a book that wasn’t checked out. But an RFID system will help us keep track of what we have more efficiently, particularly if something gets misplaced. For example, if a book isn’t where it’s supposed to be on the shelf (which, yes, does happen, despite our best efforts), we will be able to use a scanner to scan the shelves for the book. We can also check the shelves more efficiently to make sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be. The result is a library where everything is more organized and easier to find. And isn’t that the way a library should be?

We’re aware that this project will result in a bit of noise, but we believe it will be minimal and confined to relatively small areas of the library at any given time. Have questions? Feel free to ask Terrance Manion, the College of Law’s Director of Information Technology.

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