21st century technology enhances library services

The Paso Robles City Library recently implemented Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, a daunting undertaking, but one that has been equally welcomed by staff and library patrons.

RFID technology has been helping libraries to streamline services for over a decade—assisting with inventory control, providing for more efficient check-out at service desks, and offering user-friendly self-check kiosks that encourage patron autonomy and privacy.

Steve Martin at PR Library RFID-min

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin checks out books from the kiosk at the Paso Robles Library using new RFID technology.

The process of “tagging” the library’s 60,000 items required teams of two, working eight hours a day, five days a week for three months. Library volunteers performed about 95% of the work. There was no reduction in services or any closures during this time.

The Paso Robles Library Foundation, its benefactors and an anonymous donor, contributed $33,000 toward the purchase of five staff workstations, theft-prevention gates at the entrance to the library, and two self-check kiosks, one in the Children’s Library and one near the Circulation Desk. In addition, City Librarian Angelica Fortin worked with the City to secure ongoing maintenance of the system as well as future capital equipment replacement as needed.

Once implemented in the Paso Robles City Library, the benefits of RFID technology were immediate—improved user experience, a reduction in theft, and increased staff time to assess and improve collections and make new materials available to patrons sooner.

Most of the libraries in the Black Gold Cooperative System have already adopted RFID technology. Now that the Paso Robles City Library has implemented it, the sharing of resources and collections among libraries is more efficient, too.
As libraries continue to move forward with 21st-century technology, the Paso Robles City Library will continue its tradition of excellence in library service through its quality collections, popular programming, modern conveniences, and friendly staff. “The Paso Robles City Library is a jewel in our community that provides access to the tools for lifelong learning. The Library Foundation works to ensure that the Library has the additional resources to keep pace with our ever changing world,” stated Foundation President Pamela Alch.

The Paso Robles City Library is located at 1000 Spring Street and is open Monday – Friday 10-8, and Saturday 10-5. For more information on library programs and events, please call 237-3870 or visit www.prcity.com/library.