Claire Armistead & Simone Rostenne

A Devil of a challenge – Introduction of RFID technology


Some would say living in North Queensland with 90% humidity, raging cyclones, swimming with deadly Jellyfish and Crocodiles is challenging, yet this is nothing compared to leading staff through major culture, operational and organisational change of the implementation of RFID.

CityLibraries Townsville made the decision in 2012 to join the 170+ libraries across Australia and New Zealand to liberate ourselves from out dated technology and implement RFID. Evolving with the times staff were destined for a 100% self-service model accompanied by a transitional period of uncertainty and culture shock. What did this mean for us? A bumpy road where the leadership team worked tirelessly to support library staff in the movement from a role defined by transactions to a role centered on interactions with customers.

How did we manage and cope with this? Forget the managers perspective, this paper will tell you what it’s really like leading front line staff through the challenging and opportunistic transformation whilst keeping morale high and the library functioning beyond its current capability. For the customers it would be a game changer, with a proven record for enhancing the service to maximise productivity gains resulting in staff having time to assist with the rapid growth in demand for digital technology and deliver more services and programs to the community. Leading by example required each and every one of us to commit to new behaviours and new habits for the transition to 100% self-service. As Team Leaders, we were the first port of call for all concerns from the front line staff proving that we as Library and
Information Technicians more than ever must be the “devil” to tame the beasts and lead staff through an ever changing and demanding world in libraries.


Simone Rostenne and Claire Armistead are Team Leaders in the Customer Service and Operations area of CityLibraries Townsville, North Queensland. Collectively we have worked in the Public Library Services for 48 years.




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