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As of October 2017, all Oakville Public Library (OPL) branches are equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, including book tags, Smart Gates, Check-out Kiosks, Check-in Stations, and Automatic Sorters. 


What is RFID?

  • RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification
  • RFID tags replace barcodes to identify and track items in the Oakville Public Library (OPL) collection
  • RFID is a proven technology that is used in many libraries in Canada and around the world

How does it work?

  • RFID produces a harmless low-level radio frequency that is detected by a reader
  • Using RFID-enabled Check-out Kiosks, customers can scan and check-out multiple items simultaneously


  • Improves customer service and increases customer satisfaction
  • Results in a faster system with quicker check-out times
  • Simplified customer check out and check in process
  • Items re-enter circulation quicker, which means shorter waiting periods for borrowing
  • Improves inventory control and accuracy
  • Addresses ergonomic issues for employees (lifting and repetitive movement)
  • Items are easier to find, holds arrive quicker, and items are re-shelved faster

How private are RFID tags?

  • No personally identifiable information is on the RFID tag, only the item is identified, not the customer
  • OPL’s RFID tags do not generate a signal on their own; they are only active in the presence of a reader, so nobody will be able to tell what books a customer is carrying
  • RFID tags cannot be tracked; the read-range of the tags is only 20-30cm and the only information that can be pulled in this area is information about the item itself
  • For more information on customer privacy, please visit: Patron Privacy and RFIDs in Libraries

Are RFID systems safe?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and many other organizations have conducted extensive research on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields, and have confirmed that there is no evidence of any adverse effects to general health
  • For more information on health concerns, please visit: Library RFID and Health Concerns

How will the introduction of RFID affect Library staff?

Our staff are our greatest asset and this technology will allow them to use their expertise and knowledge to help you with your inquiries; such as searching for something to read, finding information, using library technology, and running invaluable programming and events.


RFID in everyday life

  • Hospitals are major RFID users, using it to track expensive equipment
  • Pets are tagged at the Humane Society
  • Ontario enhanced driver’s licenses have had integrated RFID tags since 2009
  • Many countries’ passports include them
  • Since January 2005, Wal-Mart has required its top 100 suppliers to apply RFID labels to all shipments
  • It is estimated that over 30 million library items worldwide now contain RFID tags, including some in the Vatican Library in Rome