Modernizing access to art through RFID
The expansion and renovation of the Vienna University Library of Applied Arts embraces light and transparency. Designed by the Riepl Kaufmann Bammer architectural firm, the final result is a modern, open library that takes full advantage of the bright top floor space. Simple shelves divide the minimalist room, and the linear, modern aesthetic is continued throughout the work areas, reading nooks, and information counter. The design of the self-service solutions and security gates blend harmoniously with the modern feel: the transparent bibliotheca RFID gates are inconspicuous and the two sleek selfCheck 1000s are a perfect match for the space.
The University of Applied Arts strives to be an example of contemporary education in a changing social environment. Conversion to RFID furthers this mission and establishes the scientific library as a modern Teaching Library. The Vienna team is focused on informational literacy, and offers a dedicated advisory service, event rooms, and a well-equipped space for self-directed, individual learning.
“As a result, we’re excited to use RFID technology to increase the independence of our users, thereby freeing up staff to be available for more meaningful interactions elsewhere in the library,” says Sybille Hentze, director of the University Library.
The library views itself as a community hub, a place to exchange news, be inspired, and dialogue with others. Reducing the burden on employees by automating routine activities in combination with reliable inventory security was a key factor in switching from EM / barcode to RFID.
“With RFID, we modernize our services in several ways: self-service for checkout and return, time-saving batch processing, account management and payment of fees directly on selfCheck. All of this can be done with just a few clicks, “comments Johanna Totschnig, Deputy Library Director.
The quickConnect software that powers the selfChecks is intuitive and reliable, which means users can perform a myriad of tasks right at the selfCheck without needing to track down staff for help – that saves everyone time. Furthermore, paying fees on the selfCheck provides users with more privacy.
“Our students are always pleasantly surprised at how easy and fast it is to log on to the devices. They see it as a big win, being able to checkout, return, handle account management and payments at the selfChecks independently, “says Hentze.
In the age of smartphones, such simple and fast processes are expected. The staff is also pleased about the simple operation of the devices and the resulting increase in efficiency.
State-of-the-art technology for a top notch collection
The library is one of Austria’s major public spaces for contemporary art in the field of applied and visual arts. The collection comprises 149,000 volumes, about 99,000 of which can be borrowed. 5,000 volumes are so-called artist books, which are presented in changing exhibitions in an open-shelving area.
“The information offered by the library reflects all fields of study at the university. In addition to affording printed artists the opportunity to actually touch works, the library offers numerous analogue and digital opportunities for research and analysis, “emphasizes Sybille Hentze. “It was very important to us to have popular materials and also the magazines perfectly secured with RFID and at the same time to make them comfortably available”, says Hentze. “We see it as our central task to give our visitors a new access to knowledge. The library technology helps us to free human resources and schedule them in a timely manner. Our collection is literally made tangible in an attractive and secure freehand lineup.”
The university is internationally respected. As a modern Teaching Library, it strives to stay current and flexible and is exploring possibilities for extended open hours.
Photos © Birgit und Peter Kainz