May 18, 2022

California: San Francisco Public Library’s “$3.4M Radio Frequency Technology Proposal Meets with Opposition”

From the San Francisco Examiner:

The San Francisco Public Library is trying for a second time after more than a decade to convince the Board of Supervisors to provide funding to deploy radio frequency technology in books and other lending materials. But at least one supervisor wants to kill the plan.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who serves on the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, said Thursday that he intends to make a motion to strike the library’s $3.4 million budget proposal for RFID, pointing to concerns over privacy and other spending priorities like increased security.


Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert defended the RFID proposal Thursday during a budget committee hearing.

“It will improve customer service. This will streamline our patrons’ and our staffs’ ability to check out materials in a more efficient manner. But on the other side, it also improves the working conditions of our staff,” Lambert said. He added, “You can check in or check out a stack of books simultaneously rather than with the current barcode scanning technology where you have to individually check out or check in each item.”

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See Also: San Francisco Public Library Once Again Considers Placing RFID Tags in Books (December 20, 2016)

See Also: SFPL Postpones RFID Plan (via LJ; February 1, 2005)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.