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With the spectacular conversion of the former station post office, the University of Lucerne and the University of Teacher Education for Central Switzerland have created an attractive and striking landmark in the City Centre, which (since September 2011) has embraced RFID with bibliotheca.

With around 1.1 million items, the combined libraries represent not only the largest in central Switzerland but also offer customers the ultimate in convenience, with a central location in terms of the urban landscape; four outposts of the library have been brought together here. Equally, the fresh and bold redesign of the huge building complex provides an aesthetic counterpoint to the neighbouring Culture and Congress Centre.

To compliment the design from Zurich architects Enzmann + Fischer, the bibliotheca library solution has been technically and aesthetically integrated into the architecture of the library, with four Orion table-top self-service machines having been fabricated specially in a particular shade of white so that they harmonise with their surroundings. The main entrance is secured with a 7-section security gate setup through which almost 2,000 people pass every day. There is a single gate at the night exit, which serves certain groups of users.

On the first floor of the library, which is accommodated over a generous area of 5,500m2, there are currently 200,000 volumes, soon to be increased to over 300,000 volumes - the majority of which are available to borrowers and arranged on open shelves. It is planned to attach RFID labels to all the items printed from 1901 onwards.

The Central Library in the University building was re-launched in September with new, generous opening times amounting to 78 hours per week. Automation has allowed the hours to be extended to a 24/7 service for selected user groups. This would be unthinkable without RFID.

The original impetus for examining the case for RFID more closely was provided firstly by the wish to implement a fully functioning security system for the stock, in addition to the added value RFID technology delivers. The intention was to provide the valuable open-shelf collections in the new Legal Library, which reopened in 2001, with as much protection as possible. As from 2006 this site (and a second one from 2007) served as an RFID pilot project to reveal the full bandwidth offered by an RFID system in preparation for the planned reconstruction of the Central and University Library.

bibliotheca was the preferred RFID supplier for several reasons. "We were persuaded by the company's open system solution which also guaranteed a reliable interface to the Aleph library system. We also liked the fair price and, as a Swiss company, bibliotheca was quite local which promised to make running the project uncomplicated and to deliver fast and personal support," explains Philipp Marti-Baschung, Head of IT at the Library and coordinator for IDS Lucerne (IDS is the Informationsverbund Deutschschweiz, the Library Network for German-speaking Switzerland).

All in all, the University building is viewed very positively. "It has been well accepted. Borrowing is simple and fast thanks to the intuitive user interface. Even slightly automation-phobic users have confirmed this," adds Philipp Marti-Baschung.

bibliotheca look forward to working with the libraries to help promote the use of the system to its users for many years to come, and promoting the outstanding way in which RFID can be perfectly integrated into a modern library environment.

About the Central and University Library
Since 1951, the Central and University Library has made available literature and information for research and teaching, for studying and pursuing careers, as well as for leisure time and entertainment. In addition to holding the most up-to-date items in its collections, it bears the hallmarks of its predecessors, the Citizen's Library (from 1812) and the Canton Library (from 1832), in the form of valuable and historic stock, which must be carefully preserved.

The Central and University Library is a large general and academic library and therefore open to a wide public. At the same time it has developed into the provider of library services for the Lucerne Campus, the University of Lucerne, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the University of Teacher Education for Central Switzerland and other higher education institutions. As part of the IDS, the Central and University Library (as a coordinator) and other libraries in Lucerne are organising a joint catalogue of items, the Lucerne IDS, which records all the stock in all the partner libraries.

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About bibliotheca
bibliotheca is dedicated to the development of solutions that help libraries connect with users in unique ways and provide engaging experiences, allowing them to continually evolve their library services for the changing needs of their communities. Their products are designed to provide a welcoming, intuitive and seamless environment for those that use the library – wherever they choose to use it - be that at home, on the move or within the library itself.

With over 30,000 libraries as part of their family, they have installed and continue to support more than 10,000 self-service units, 6,000 security systems and over 650 Automated Materials Handling (sorter) systems. In addition, the cloudLibrary™ digital platform powers eBook and eAudiobook lending at a further 3,000 libraries.

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