To me, the more I travel and speak to libraries about RFID, the good, the bad and the reality of it, the more I begin to compare RFID in libraries to smoking. Let me explain. When I was young, "smoking" was explained to me as a response to social awkwardness in kids - that is, this was something to do with your hands, and you looked cool doing it. As I got older in high-school, "smoking" was akin to fitting in..."everyone is doing it, you should too". As I progressed towards adulthood I saw smoking for what it really was, an addiction that does provide some momentary gratification, but at a huge cost to your family and your well-being.
I see the same trend towards RFID in libraries as when I was young. It has that "cool" effect, with very little substance, yet it does give this appeal to libraries that gives an apperance they are doing something worthwhile. How else can you spend that "efficiency grant" money, or your "friends" money - on traditional self-checks, or on this new, cool thing called "RFID". Its a four letter acronym, it sounds high-tech, it must be good.
According to 3M, only 2% of libraries in the US use RFID, and 8% worldwide! Yet, you hear about it all the time.
YET...virtually every library that talks RFID, has very little understanding of its complexities, benefits, true costs, problems, future support and a myriad of other key questions. When I was attending U of P, one of the first questions you were are asked at Wharton was "What is the ROI?" Well, if someone has it related to RFID in libraries, please, please let me know before I light up :)
Disclaimer: Running a successful business supplying various technologies to libraries, I would like to emphasize right away, that as a vendor, we love to sell you anything RFID related, such as gates, tags, readers, software, staff-stations, self-checks...etc., anything. Talk to us about a full array of RFID enabled products and services that we offer should you ever decide to move towards that direction.