RFID for clients

The new RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system offers a faster and more efficient method of borrowing and returning items to the library.

RFID technology collects, uses, stores, and broadcasts data. Components of RFID systems include tags, tag readers, computer hardware (such as servers and security gates) and RFID-specific software (such as RFID system administration programs, inventory software, etc.).

RFID technology can enable efficient and ergonomic inventory, security, and circulation operations in libraries. Like other technologies that enable self-checkout of library materials, RFID can enhance individual privacy by allowing users to checkout materials without relying on library staff.

RFID improves managing our collections through the introduction of RFID and improving the client experience

  • best practice use of RFID technology
  • organisational compliance in accordance with Personal Information and Protection Act 2004
  • organisation compliance in accordance with Library Regulations 2012

Our staff keep informed about changes in RFID technology, and reviews policies and procedures in light of new information.

More information

What is RFID?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of an object (an RFID tag) added to a product for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves i.e. Within a library, the RFID system replaces the current barcode system and scanner by using an RFID reader and microchip to identify items.


Unlike the current barcode system RFID library resources and materials can be processed at much faster speeds. In addition, while the former barcoding system requires items to be individually scanned, multiple RFID tags can be read simultaneously.

Do all our sites use RFID?

Eventually all our lending items will be tagged, allowing the entire collection to be managed by this new and exciting technology. Through the use of RFID technology our clients will be able to go to any one of our 47 locations around the state and borrow faster and easier. 

Where does the RFID technology come from?

We are working with Bibliotheca (now incorporating 3M Library Services) and FE Technologies who are the two Australian suppliers of library-specific RFID equipment. These two companies are involved in supporting us to transition to this new technology.

How do we use it?

We will replace barcodes on all our items with RFID tags. The tags allow library staff to quickly and accurately 'check in' resources as well as lend items out in less time. Some of our locations will have self-check-out kiosks which will allow our clients to check out multiple items quickly and easily themselves, with help from our friendly staff if required. Clients will be able to check out up to 15 items at a time.

Is radio frequency a health concern?

No. The tags and scanners work at 13.56 MHz which is in the 'shortwave' radio band; the same as ordinary radio waves which have surrounded us since before the 1940s. It is not like mobile phone technology which works at a much higher frequency. The RFID scanners and security gates have only a short range for their transmitters and the technology does not interfere with pacemakers, hearing aids or other similar devices.

What about staff jobs? Will there be fewer staff to help me?

No. This technology has been introduced to improve customer service. Along with our collections, our staff are our best asset and will continue to help our clients as required. Staff will be able to spend more time with clients supporting information and digital literacy, learning services, navigating technology and exploring our Tasmanian history and archives.

What about privacy for client details?

This won't change. We will continue to protect client's privacy and membership records. Clients will continue to use their normal barcode membership card to borrow. The nature of library RFID tags requires them to be 'read' by equipment closer than 20 - 30cm. It is not possible to scan items across a room or a street to 'read' what a person has borrowed.