Managing libraries is complex. It involves handling multiple tasks, such as stock-keeping, cataloging, controlling lending, and borrowing. All these tasks take a lot of time and effort on the librarian’s end when you have conventional methods in use. However, these and other library tasks can be streamlined and made more efficient by integrating advanced library management systems with RFID technology.
The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology finds various uses in different industries. This advanced technology is most useful in monitoring and tracking people and possessions. For instance, one of the most popular uses of RFID technology is in automated attendance management systems.
In this blog, we will see the convenience of RFID in library management automates checkouts and returns.
Common Challenges in Library Management
Despite the growing popularity of digitization, thousands of libraries worldwide still use conventional manual library management methods. Before beginning to understand the importance of RFID in library management we will learn the common challenges faced by librarians.
- Tedious tasks
Managing a large library filled with hundreds of different types of books manually gets tedious after a short while. Manual cataloging requires librarians to spend hours every day, but the task is still prone to errors. Thus, conventional library management methods are tedious and time-consuming.
- Time-consuming operations
The common operational aspects of libraries are also time-consuming when performed using traditional methods. These include manually handling book buying, cataloging, distribution, and circulation control.
- Erroneous calculations
Manual library management methods are also prone to errors, especially when it comes to the financial aspects. For instance, dealing with fines, late-return charges, membership fees, etc. tend to take a long time, and are also prone to errors in calculating.
- Inefficient functions
Library members should be able to search for and find the books they need quickly and efficiently. However, manually locating books and updating card indexes with borrower information is inefficient. This method of library management is time-consuming and also requires significant effort on the part of the library staff.
Need for Library Management System
Library management systems (LMS) minimize the level of manual effort required by library staff when they use conventional management methods. By using reliable LMS librarians can avoid putting in hours of manual effort performing common management tasks. Thanks to the high-tech LMS software most operational and administrative tasks of libraries are automated.
Here are some reasons that prove why libraries need automated library management systems –
- LMS efficiently stores and maintains detailed information about borrowers. It allows librarians easy access to this information.
- The software system makes library management so easy that it can be done by a single person. This is because it automates most operational tasks of libraries.
- Advanced LMS solutions allow users easy access to library resources. This lets users quickly search for books, check book availability, etc.
- Ideal LMS simplifies the entire book-borrowing process for members. The system allows users to browse the inventory over the internet, and request for loan. It also makes the complete process of finding books incredibly easy.
Convenience of RFID in Library Management
Radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic energy to identify and track tags on books. This technology allows the use of several types of identification tags but storing a serial number is most preferred.
An RFID chip consists of a tag with an attached antenna. The RFID sensor or scanner reads the tag details and converts them into digital information. This information can be easily read by connected computer systems. The system also stores the information safely for use in the future.
For library management systems (LMS) the RFID technology provides a convenient way for data collection. It essentially scans the books on shelves and quickly helps users find the book they want. This helps librarians avoid manually walking along bookshelves in search of books. This way, the RFID technology is revolutionizing the conventional library management methods.
Benefits of RFID in Library Management
There are several significant benefits of integrating RFID-enabled library management systems. Let’s check out some of the most prominent advantages of using an LMS with integrated RFID technology.
- Enhances staff performance
An RFID-powered library management software improves productivity for patrons and librarians. The digital solution simplifies cataloging books, and maintaining accurate records of transactions. This includes accurate information on books issued, returned, re-issued, and misplaced. Additionally, librarians can also quickly decide if they need to add any book to the collection. All these features combine to enhance overall staff productivity and performance.
- Cost-efficient library management
An LMS with RFID technology also helps reduce the number of staff to manage a library. It automates several tasks for libraries. It also helps to maintain detailed records of books and borrowers without needing reams of paper. In addition, the software allows librarians to store all information on a centralized database, which also eliminates the cost of paper. Overall, these features make library management more efficient.
- Effective oversight
Advanced RFID technology in an LMS automates updating records, which ensures comprehensive oversight functions. Besides this, the system generates in-depth analytical reports. These detailed reports allow for efficient user tracking, bookings, and material circulations. This provides librarians with a deeper insight into the daily operations of libraries without much manual intervention.
Library management systems are designed to automate, supervise, and handle general tasks for librarians. Modern LMS software comes equipped with RFID technology. This technology makes it incredibly efficient to handle regular operations, such as lending, returns, and re-issuing. Additionally, these management systems make managing libraries more cost-efficient and convenient for owners. Hence, industrial experts recommend integrating RFID-enabled library management systems into existing ERP solutions.