RFID Frequently Asked Questions

What is RFID?

RFID stands for radio frequency identification. RFID tags will be added to each library item. RFID allows a stack of materials to be checked out by radio frequency IDs as opposed to scanning individual barcodes, leading to a much faster checkout experience and improved materials security.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have been added to each library item to enable a more efficient checkout process.

New, state-of-the-art checkout kiosks will allow you to utilize RFID technology to efficiently and securely checkout in a matter of seconds.

There will be two kiosks on the main floor, one in each the Young Adult Department and Children’s Department upstairs and one in the basement.

Why is the library implementing this system?

  • Streamlined checkout and check in process
  • Greater convenience for patrons
  • More cost-effective than the current system
  • Reduction of repetitive tasks (frees staff for other necessary tasks)
  • RFID technology provides improved security from theft

Will any library staff lose their jobs?

Staff will not be laid off by this change. In fact, RFID systems give us more ability to provide meaningful service to our patrons. There are plenty of other, behind-the-scenes jobs that need attention daily.

Will I need a new library card?

No. The current library card will work with the new RFID system, but you must have a card when you check out.  The library will provide free replacement cards if you can’t find yours.

I don’t like using self-checkouts. Will the checkout kiosks be the only way to checkout?

Because of the convenience of the self-service checkout, patrons will be encouraged to use the kiosks. However, library staff will always be available to assist as needed.

There is little comparison with a library checkout to a store self-checkout. Library checkouts have RFID technology that is infinitely more efficient than scanning product barcodes or looking up items such as produce. There are less steps to library checkout because payments are rarely required.

But I enjoy my interactions with library staff.

We love that too! We promise to continue to be as engaging and helpful as always. Because the RFID technology is so efficient, we have more time to focus on service. In fact, we will station staff near the kiosks to ensure our level of engagement with patrons doesn’t suffer.

How do I renew materials I have checked out?

You will still be able to renew in person, online or by calling the library. You will be able to use the kiosks to access your library account to renew items without bringing them back to the library.

How is my privacy protected when RFID tags are used to identify library materials?

The library's RFID tags will carry only unique numerical identifiers. No title, author, publisher information, patron name or use pattern can be found by reading an RFID tag placed in Hays Public Library materials.

Are there any health effects associated with RFID?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and many other organizations have conducted extensive research on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields. WHO has concluded that at the frequency used by library RFID systems (13.56 MHz), there is no evidence of adverse effects to general health or pregnancy. Nor is there any record of interference with medical devices such as pacemakers.