RFID is Evil, But …

I know that they’re the coming evil mark of the beast destroyer of privacy hand in glove with the USAPATRIOT Act, but after spending the morning doing inventory for my favorite AA middle school library, I’m beginning to wonder if San Francisco’s position about the joys of RFID technology in library books isn’t so bad after all.

I’m having a great deal of problems this week with my old nemesis, tendonitis (for which I had surgery in 2001), and the repetitive motions of pulling a book out, holding the bar code scanner in my right hand (the bad arm) and pushing the scan button for all of the 800 and 900 classifications of the school’s library is playing hell with me today.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have RFID chips in the books that could be read without such physical pain? Bar codes were a wonderful invention; I can’t imagine having to do this inventory the old fashioned paper way. But I’ll be paying a painful price for this all night long.

Surely there’s a way to moderate the wonderful aspect of the RFID technology and completely protect the privacy of patrons. But we live in extremist times and I’m not holding my breath. Give Johnny Reb Asscroft another four years and the spectre of FBI agents using USAP to drive in front of your house and read the RFID chips in your library books and build a damning reading list just isn’t all that far-fetched, no matter how tinfoil-hattish it sounds.

Speaking of the 800 and 900 classifications … call me an elitist snob but I just still have problems with the biographies. Come on, professional librarians, can’t we have a ‘sports, entertainment and worthless flavor of the minute’ section in biographies? I mean, I HATE shelving that volume of Refrigerator Perry next to Admiral Perry. Dennis Rodman really shouldn’t be keeping company with Eleanor Roosevelt. And oh the indignity of forcing Thomas Jefferson to share shelf space with the likes Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.