Faster Library borrowing thanks to Radio Frequency Identification Technology

Hawkesbury Library Service has just completed a new project to equip 111,000 library items with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. RFID will make it easier and faster for library patrons to borrow materials and increase staff efficiency, enabling the library to modernise circulation equipment, checkout stations and security gates. It also brings Hawkesbury Library Service up to speed with standard library practices and technology. During the COVID-19 closure, Hawkesbury Library Service staff were involved in preparing the library for RFID. This new system replaces the previous barcode reading system, speeding up the borrowing and return process.

    RFID technology with the specific software provided by FE Technologies enables a more efficient inventory, security and circulation system in libraries.

    How does this new system work?

    Each library item now has a new microchip containing all of the information about the item and its issuing conditions. The library member takes the items they wish to borrow to the self-loan machine which scans the items, loans them to the borrower and prints out a receipt with the return date.

    What about privacy?

    The RFID technology represents no threat to patron privacy. The 9 barcode number identifies the item and no bibliographic information will be on the tag. The security component will tell if the item is checked out or not. The RFID tags on library material can only be deciphered within 100 centimetres of the library RFID reader.

    How is this different to the old system?

    RFID combines circulation and security deactivation into one process, staff can process materials far more efficiently and accurately.

    You can now place multiple items together in a stack on the self-loan machine and it reads all microchips without having to scan each item individually. This creates a faster and more efficient borrowing experience for the library patron.

    How do I return items?

    To return books and other library items library patron places the item in the new return chutes located inside each of our libraries and the items are automatically returned from the patron’s card. This results in no longer needing to wait for staff to return the items.

    The saved time will allow staff to provide even better customer service. The after-hours return chutes outside Hawkesbury Central and Richmond Branch Libraries are still available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    How was the project funded?

    The ability to install RFID to Hawkesbury Library Service was made possible due to a Library Infrastructure Grant received from the NSW State Government to improve technology services.

    Join the Library now!

    If you are not a library member it is free and easy to join.

    You can join online at or by visiting Hawkesbury Central Library, 300 George Street, Windsor or Richmond Branch Library, 29 West Market Street, Richmond.

    Hours of operation

    Due to COVID-19, there are temporary changes to the hours of library operation.

  • Hawkesbury Central Library hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm.
  • Richmond Branch hours are Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

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