Welcome to the future baby!

At the library where I work we’ve installed terminals where you can loan out your own items all by yourself. All you do is put the items on the bench in front of the terminal. Tap the ‘borrow’ button on the screen. Swipe your card down the reader on the side of the screen and the computer will sense all the items (via their RFID tags) and put them on your card for you.

Some borrowers find this rather magical, especially how it picks up all of the items at once. I told one man that I’d like to see the RFID tags keyed into a GPS system and when someone can’t find their book we could look it up on the computer and tell them it’s under their bed. Then, getting a little ahead of myself, I came up with an even better idea. If we had transporter technology we could program the books to automatically beam back to the library when they were due! I got a couple of very strange looks. One man showed me his Dr. Who DVD as if to say I was as crazy as the show, and another asked me if I was a Trekie.


5 thoughts on “Welcome to the future baby!

  1. It must be about Melbournites…or just the suburb where the library is. If I was to make a comment about beaming out the overdues, people would laugh and add to the thought! But, maybe my customers are all just closet trekkies.

  2. I’ve just had one of those sudden thought that encompass a whole mess of ideas in a few seconds.

    RFID’s a great. Better than barcodes. With an RFID you just have to walk though a radio frequency and can link to information about the item it is connected to. Then I thought about the conspiracy theories regarding people secretly barcoded, I remember receiving pamphlets in the mail about government plans to barcode to population. Just be careful of that one that starts “666…”

    That lead to the secretly microchipping people. Perfectly fesible and so useful. For all those who seem unable to keep a simple card in their wallet, just stick your microchipped hand under this reader…there we go, your record pops up picture and all. No identity fraud…at least that much harder!

    The small inconvenience of the government knowing (if they even cared!) where you are (not possible) and what you’re doing (also not possible) is surely a small issue when you consider you will never need another card again…ever!

    Let see if that get’s the paranoid conspiracy theorists buzzing.

  3. Wow, those are the best type of thoughts to get!

    I’m sure the paranoids will hate your idea though. It would save us a lot of hassle explaining to people they do need their card, and no we can’t just take their word for it.

    My old library card number used to end in 666 before I had to change it.

  4. I love the concept of RFID enabling us to tell someone “Yes, you do have the book. It’s on top of the fridge.” My own personal dream addition to library technology is a pit trap under the exit which opens up if someone tries to steal things. I’d have crocodiles in there, but I’m petrified of them and wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them.

  5. I like the crocodile pit idea!
    Could be useful for those troublesome kiddies who like to misbehave on the computers too.
    In fact, I can think of many applications for this idea.
    We’d have to train them to love librarians though, so you wouldn’t have to fear them.

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