Libraries transform with SMART technology

Posted on 03 November 2022

People visiting Waipā libraries this week will notice big changes as members use new technology to self-issue books with digital kiosks.

The new state-of-the-art system, called RFID  (Radio-Frequency Identification), incorporates a wireless radio system and an electronic tag attached to library items.

Waipā District Council community services manager Brad Ward said the technology upgrade is a “real game changer”.

“It makes library visits faster and more convenient with a grab-and-go approach. Customers can take control instead of waiting in a queue for staff to serve them and can do their own issuing, renewing or checking reserved items,” he said 

“It’s easy, but if you need help, our staff are happy to guide you through the process.”

Library staff have been busy behind the scenes, electronically tagging more than 151,000 library items in preparation for the launch of RFID. The process took almost nine weeks and was undertaken alongside regular library duties.

There is also another exciting upgrade to streamline the return process, Ward said.

“Smart shelves are clever units located near the entrance of each library for returns. They look like ordinary shelves but contain a transmitter that activates when you place an item on the shelf. Blue tooth technology automatically checks in the borrowed item from your library card and updates the inventory system. You can see this happening in real-time on the attached screen.”

Staff can perform a library stock check at the touch of a button; making inventory control faster and more accurate.

“Another bonus is that RFID provides enhanced security, saving Waipā libraries around $23,000 per year in stolen items. I don’t think people realise the cost of theft on our service.”

In the coming weeks, residents will be able to download a new app and visit a Waipā library to experience RFID technology using their phone to self-issue, renew and manage reserved items. Look for Waipā  District Libraries in the App Store or Google Play on your digital device.

You can also use your phone or PC to search the extensive catalogue of library books by visiting the Waipā libraries website. Just go to and look for the catalogue menu.

The library counter and after-hours returns slot are still available for those who want to borrow and return items the traditional way.

Cambridge & Te Awamutu Community