Making the most of RFID

Profiting from the successful integration of Library Management (LMS) and RFID systems is the big issue being addressed at CILIP’s fourth RFID in Libraries conference in London on 13 November 2008. The conference theme is Making the most of RFID.
Initially RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) was developed to provide cost-effective solutions to some of the key issues facing most libraries. These included: annual stock-taking; rapid checking that books are shelved in the correct area; searching for specific items using a scanner; self check-out of items; self-return of items; security and library membership cards.
New issue
Today, however, a new issue faces librarians who have installed RFID systems. Many have now received initial benefits from enhanced service delivery to customers and increased security. But, as most have previously invested heavily in Library Management Systems, they are now seeking added value and additional benefit for their service and also their customers by integrating the two systems.
The conference programme addresses these issues by opening with a definitive overview by Library RFID consultant Mick Fortune of latest developments across the UK. This will be followed by an exclusive presentation by eLibraries consultant Simon Edwards of the new Best Practice Guidelines being developed by BIC: Book Industry Communication. They are being extensively researched to highlight how libraries can to achieve maximum efficiency and profitability, and every delegate will receive a personal copy.

Case studies
To add a practical dimension, two case studies have been commissioned. Hans van Dijk, head of the ICT Department at Biblionet Groningen in The Netherlands, will provide a European perspective and look at the practical issues to be tackled and the resulting benefits.
The other case study is by Carole Pickaver, head of Library Services at The University of Kent. Her library is moving from a closed-access short-loan collection to an open-access RFID-enabled self-service core text collection. She will discuss challenges of system interoperability between RFID technology, LMS and RFID Access control systems, re-engineered stock acquisition, and management processes.
New to the 2008 programme is a presentation by Roger Adams, partner at architects Bisset Adams. He will look at the implications for library design and usability when RFID systems are introduced and the advantages and pitfalls of installing new technology in traditional buildings, as well as starting from scratch in new builds.
Another new angle this year is that of the consumer. Jan Holden, assistant head of Service (Localities), Norfolk Library and Information Service, will explain how her library is involving customers in the procurement and implementation process. This has been central to the success of Norfolk Library Services’ roll-out of RFID to 25 branches, as engagement with customers has resulted in practical changes and an enhanced service.

Taking a business perspective

A session on business perspectives will include an insight into business transformation, with Ken Chad of Ken Chad Consulting looking at whether RFID is being transformational or libraries are just conducting “business as usual”. This is a follow-up to CILIP’s report ‘Return for Investment Decisions?’, which was exclusively presented at last year’s conference. It will address issues including whether RFID adopters in public and academic libraries are successfully extracting real value and transformational benefits are being realised.
Consultant Fiona Emberton will speak at the conference for a second time this year on how RFID can help better deliver key outcomes such as learning, literacy and the Third Place. She will look at how best libraries can further improve their position within their organisations and secure funding, and the changes needed to staff roles and work practices to ensure RFID is not merely a substitute checkout facility?
Concluding the conference will be a special presentation on future challenges by Martin Palmer, resources procurement and deployment manager - Libraries, Essex County Council and Chair BIC/CILIP RFID in Libraries Group. He will seek to determine where RFID goes from here. He will pull together key issues raised during the sessions and provide a perspective on the opportunities and pitfalls users can expect as they seek to exploit RFID’s full potential.

Award presentation

Once again, the BIC/CILIP RFID in Libraries Group will make an award to an outstanding new RFID installation or innovation, and for the first time the winners will be invited to make a 20-minute showcase presentation to show why they won. Four nominations have been received for the award with group members voting for the winner. The inaugural winner of the award was Nick Lewis, head of Library Collections at the University of East Anglia.
During the conference time will be set aside for questions and discussion both in the conference room and the exhibition area during refreshment breaks. The previous three conferences have all identified key issues that have been further developed following the event, and delegates have rated them all more than 90 per cent Good to Excellent.
Supporting the conference are a number of leading RFID system suppliers, with 3M as the overall sponsor. The on-site internet café is being sponsored by DS, and other sponsors include Intellident, 2CQR, D-Tech and ST Logitrack. All of them will be exhibiting at the conference so delegates can get hands-on with the latest technology,
Also supporting the conference are: MLA: Museums Libraries Archives Council and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Media sponsors include CILIP’s Gazette magazine and Government Techology.

Website and blog
A dedicated conference website is available at with online delegate booking. It provides access to the conference blog, which carries the latest news on all aspects of the event. Once again the venue for the conference is the top two floors at the prestigious QEII Conference Centre in Westminster, London.
Those who would benefit by attending the conference include: chiefs of library services in public and academic libraries; directors of information management; heads of e-government in local authorities; corporate and professional librarians and information managers; and suppliers of RFID and related technologies.

For more information
Further information about RFID in Libraries is available from CILIP Conferences at or from John Woolley, Managing Director, CILIP Enterprises at

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