ASSET TRACKING IN LIBRARIES
RFID-based Library Management Systems (LMS) have introduced an innovative set of management concepts to libraries, ranging from more empowered users to creating an automated alerts system for overdue books.
With so many assets under their care requiring different types of services, libraries need an effective tracking and management system that helps them control what assets they do have. This is where an effective LMS solution can make the difference to their efficiency.
Integrating an LMS solution as part of their daily work process ensures that libraries can also better track and manage their assets and the people that use them. By using a combination of RFID tags, portable computers and readers, and asset management software, libraries also increase productivity and accuracy in other areas.
As with any asset tracking system, there are three components that are needed to make it work:
- Asset tracking software : The type and level of software a library has not only determines what options they will have, but it also brings all the information together. At this point, libraries can determine whether updates come in batches or real-time. This will also create the automated alerts informing library employees of overdue items, missing items, and the like.
- RFID-based hardware : Every asset requires a unique digital fingerprint. Alongside the software capabilities should be the hardware the library needs to print RFID tags and the like. Libraries also need to ensure they have the wireless technology to support the RFID solution.
- Portable handheld devices and other readers : With a range of RFID signal reader devices available, libraries can either take the readers to the assets to take an inventory, or have the assets (as books) brought to the reader. This helps them gain the information they need and make the necessary changes to asset location.
Uses in the library
There are several key areas where RFID-tracking can be used in a library setting:
- Book loaning : If a user has come in during their lunch break and is pushed for time, they can simply use a book loaning machine, located at salient points in the library, to loan out books. By simply scanning the book’s unique RFID tag under the reader, which is installed within the machine itself, books can be placed on the user’s account. The machines will also print a receipt or update their online library accounts with details of return dates.
- Book drops : Empowering users and improving their library experience, the book drop can be located anywhere visible in the library. This allows users the flexibility and convenience of returning items at their own convenience without having to wait in queues. If there are external book drop opportunities, users can return books even outside of library hours.
- Shelf management : With RFID tags present on each book and each shelf, library employees can effectively identify items on shelves and check when there might be items missing or misplaced. By pointing the handheld RFID readers in the direction of shelves, they can pick up the relevant information on what books are on which shelves. There is also a customer service value to this, where staff can search for books requested, check for stock and search for items that may be on another shelf.
With so many assets under their management, it is vital that a library maintains full visibility and management over their assets’ movements. There are numerous key benefits to having an effective asset tracking system integrated into the LMS.
- Greater productivity : Because libraries can collect more accurate and more detailed data faster, they are able to make swifter decisions regarding the way they work.
- Improved accuracy : RFID-based tracking essentially automates all the parts to the process, ensuring that libraries gain the most accurate data possible – and reduces the potential for human error.
- Better security : Libraries gain more accurate data on who has loaned out assets and when, allowing them to create greater accountability on their property.
- Improved alert systems : LMS solutions allow libraries to create a system of automated alerts that pop up when items are overdue, giving them better asset management capabilities.
- Improved inventory taking : RFID-based asset tracking allows more accurate management of how many items of each asset they have, and when they can expect to have assets returned.
- Better management of leased items : Linked with inventory taking and asset tracking, libraries can send out automated email alerts or mobile messages alerting library users when they need to return items.
With the latest in asset tracking system integrated into the library’s LMS, they can be assured of the very best in information and most effective management solutions.