Officials believe a key component of the Frances Banta Waggoner Community Library expansion is for the building to become tech-focused and tech-friendly for both the community and staff. 

And as construction on the project gets under way, new technology to keep track of books, DVDs and other items was ordered.

About $28,700 is earmarked in the library’s 2019-20 fiscal year budget for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which uses radio waves to automatically identify individual items. RFID will allow library patrons to use self-checkout stations, reduce the amount of time staff uses to check items in and out and track their location, and provide some security against stolen materials, said Jillian Aschliman, library director. 

“It is a great investment for the library’s future as new products for RFID are constantly being developed for library services. It will allow us to streamline our circulation processes and let staff spend more time on other meaningful services and programs for our library users,” Aschliman said.

The library bought a bundled package versus an individual license for the technology, which will allow it to be more flexible if it wants to add more hardware in the future. 

“Otherwise, we’d have to purchase an additional license each time we purchased a new piece of hardware, which is much more expensive down the road,” Aschliman said. 

The technology will be instituted in two phases. The tagging phase will begin later this year by volunteers and library staff. Georgia-based Envisionware will provide the software and provide onsite training to staff and volunteers on how to properly tag materials, how to use the new RFID readers, etc. Aschliman chose the firm after reviewing several vendors. 

Phase Two of the project would happen before the opening of the new library and consist of installing self-check stations and staff work stations. 

The RFID technology will provide additional benefits including faster processing for weekly overdue reports and annual inventory, adding security measures for materials, and saving space and money. 

The RFID tags will cost an estimated 13 cents for books and 50 cents for DVDs. The locking DVD case system will cost an estimated 60 cents to $1.59 for strips and buttons and $1.51 to $1.29 for the cases.  

The library staff will start implementing the tags in August and Envisionware will attend an in-service day with the staff to review proper tagging and using the RFID stations.