Best Library Automation Software

Library Automation Software

Using a library automation software helps to take a huge amount of workload off the librarians in terms of acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation. It enables them to serve their patrons better. Moreover, integrating a library management software solution in schools or colleges or universities make it way easier to find books and manage/view the stockpiling arrangement. This further enhances the book collection of a library, as the librarians can weed out the outdated ones and order the latest versions so that the collection of the library stays sustainable. In need of such automation? GoodFirms has got you covered with a list of the best library management software solutions available below:

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List of Best Library Management Software Solutions

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Buyer’s Guide

Introduction to the library automation software buyer’s guide

"I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple".  - Jean-Paul Sartre 

A library is a storehouse of information and is an exemplary part of the educational institution and the society as a whole. Over recent years, the way that library functions have undergone a lot of changes. Nowadays, every task related to library management is digitized. Yes, we are currently living in an era of library automation. 

A library automation system helps in managing the work of the library constructively. It gets more natural for a librarian to efficiently manage the extensive collection of books, magazines, and heaps of journals with library automation software. 

By employing a library automation system, it is easy to reduce the paperwork, printing cost, and workforce in the library. In this digital world, you can make your library a smart library where all works get carried out systematically. 

This buyer's guide for library automation software is intended to provide in-depth information about this software and will help you make a wise choice before buying the library automation software system.

What is library automation?

Library automation is a process where every major task of a library is automated. Such a facility helps in efficient tracking of the record of books that have been issued, returned, and added in the library. The library automation process can store information related to book numbers, author name, rack detail, and book titles. Management of the members also becomes much easier when automation is put in use. 

What is the need and purpose of library automation?

Innovative technological developments have been evolving the process and functions of a library. Automation in library management has been proving to have extraordinary benefits. Have a look at the following points that will justify this statement.

  • Efficiency and Control - The library staff can increase their efficiency and productivity by making use of copy cataloging, creating a union catalog, and sharing of bibliographical records. The consistency and standard quality of the record are maintained well by automating several tasks of the library. The library automation system provides instant access to the collection and helps in saving the time of the users.

  • Protects information of library and users- Library automation protects the information related to the library’s holdings and patrons along with their transactions. 

  • Advanced search and access - The library automation system provides advanced search and access to the library. All the resources in the library are efficiently handled and managed with the help of library management software. 

  • Better interface - The library management system provides a better interface with the users. The library management system quickly and easily generates reports for the smooth functioning of the library.

  • Reduced human interference – The process of library automation reduces the interference of human activities and increases the utilization of the latest technology. Library automation removes all cumbersome and monotonous work related to the printing of the card catalog. 

  • Library cataloging- The library cataloging helps in creating metadata representing information resources such as books, sound recordings, and moving images. It allows users to search for any fields, access databases, email services, and can make their request services. 

What are the different types of libraries?

There are different types of libraries which are as follows:

  • Academic libraries- This type of library serves college, universities, students, staff, and faculty. 
  • School Libraries – This type of library is usually a part of the school system. It serves students from kindergarten to grade 12.
  • Public Libraries – This type of library serves communities of all sizes and types. It helps cities and towns of all kinds.
  • Special Libraries – These types of the library are in specialized environments like hospitals, museums, military, private business, and the government.

The library automation system can be implemented in all types of libraries.

Why is library automation critical to the education industry?

Libraries are an essential part of the educational institute. The following points define how library automation is critical in the education industry:

  • The library automation helps in maintaining the data of books that are issued to learners and the books that are available in the library. 
  • The library management helps librarians to spot any particular book at any given time in the library.
  • The library automation solution makes easy arrangements by dividing the books based on the biographer's name, manuscript group, and publisher.
  • The librarian will be able to keep track of different records with the help of a barcode. All the documents related to issue date, return date, several books published, several books available, collection and calculation of fine on the individual book, and the book catalogs with different genres are maintained with the help of barcode.
  • The administrators can keep an eye on the functioning of the library department with the help of library management solutions. The library automation enables librarians and users to maximize time and efficiency. 
  • The efficiency of the library can be enhanced with the help of a well –organized library management system. Librarians and management can get reports with various productive data due to the library automation system. 
  • The activities related to the acquisition, cataloging, stock verification, circulation, serial control, indexing, and binding all are carried effortlessly with the help of library management solutions. 
  • The library automation system in the educational sector helps in providing a paperless solution, reduce working hours, and increases efficiency, which in turn lower the operating costs. 

What are the challenges faced by libraries that are not automated?

The libraries which are not automated face many challenges, whether they are big or small, academic or research, private or public. Few prime challenges are as follows;

  • Lack of collaborative library collection and circulation system
  • Managing the new generation of readers
  • Enabling round-the-clock universal access and knowledge sharing
  • Lack of coordination among philanthropists, publishers, and booksellers- 
  • Difficulty in facilitating access under various levels and with various devices
  • Space
  • Better customer support and service 
  • Reduced cost and manpower
  • Better preservation of content
  • Better management of copyright and licensing

What is library automation software?

Library automation software manages the tasks related to book handling, title acquisition, catalog building, indexing, and circulation for schools, colleges, public and private libraries. Also termed as library management software, it helps in keeping track of the title location within the library system. The library automation software enables librarians to look for titles, allot unique serial numbers to the titles, and classifies books in a central book record. 

Also, the library management system is capable of handling overdue books, fee calculations for late returns, maintenance of records of revenue that are generated by subscriptions, fines, and penalties, and much more.

What are the typical features of library automation software?

The features of the library management software solution are as follows:

  • Barcode/RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) – The library management app makes use of barcode technologies and RFID that helps in managing checkouts and returns, shelf management, tagging along with anti-theft detection. 
  • Label Pricing- The online library management system allows the printing of catalogs as per the choice by employing the feature of label pricing.
  • Catalog Management –The library automation system can efficiently manage the description of library resources such as books, journals, and newsletters with catalog management functionality.
  • Books Tracking – The library management system software can track the fresh issue, return, and re-issue the books with the help of book tracking features. With this functionality, it is easy to make out who has issued the books.
  • Search – The library management system enables users to explore the library catalog and find information such as book availability and location. 
  • Photo Capturing- The library automation system can directly capture the photo of members and students by making use of photo capturing functionality. There is no need to scan the photo separately.  
  • Self-checkouts and check-ins- The library management app enables users to check out and return library items by making use of library computers and kiosks with the help of self-checkouts and check-ins. 
  • Serial and Circulation Management- This feature of the library automation tool enables users to generate the unique ID numbers (or tags) for all library content and patrons. It is easy to track the status and location of library resources with this functionality.

Other essential features of library management tool are:

  • Acquisition Management – The library automation system can keep track of new print and all the digital solutions with the help of acquisition management functionality.
  • Fee Collection -The library management software allows keeping track of fines owed to the library. 
  • Patron management- The library management software solution keeps track of information about patrons and their records with the help of patron management features.
  • Periodicals Management- The library automation tool manages journals and magazines that are available digitally in print with the help of periodicals management functionality.
  • Reserve Shelf Management- The online library management system has reserve shelf management functionality that helps teachers and librarians to keep items on reserve. 
  • OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) – OPAC is an online database of materials held in the library. The library management system allows access to an online public access catalog of various libraries with the help of OPAC functionality.
  • Circulation management – With circulation management functionality, the library management software can track who has what and when items are due.

What are the competitive advantages of using library automation software?

The benefits of library management system are as follows:

  • Easy Access – The library management app can easily find books and can access journals and magazines from anywhere. If there is an increase in demand, then the library can work more flexibly with the help of a library automation system.
  • Better Customer Service – The library management system software can take some of the workloads of librarians and other staff members in the areas of acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation. As a result, the librarians and staff members can serve their patrons in a better way. 
  • Record Maintenance – The library automation system allows authorized personnel to maintain the record related to the book issued and return deadline. In the same platform, the library management solution enables recording the fine received from the student, which in turn helps in easing the work of reporting for the library department. 
  • Saves time and Cost- Libraries can become free of several registers and files with the help of library management software solutions. The library management app can eliminate paper-based processes. It can reduce the operation costs and can efficiently save the time of the library. 
  • Secure and reliable- The library management software is secure and reliable. Only the authorized personnel can log in to the system and use it. 
  • Enhances reporting and monitoring- The online library management system helps in supporting the self-updating records, user tracking, and material circulation. It is easy  to make out what has been borrowed and what is precisely available with the help of library automation solutions.
  • Cataloging Improvements – The online library management system allows quicker cataloging of library items with the help of automated cataloging standards (such as MARC- Machine Readable Cataloging). The automated cataloging standards will enable the librarian to catalog items quickly. It is easy to track library materials with the help of automated cataloging.

Several other benefits of the library management system are:

  • The online library management system allows better access to the collection with a systemized database.
  • The library management software has an advanced searching option that helps in improving the searching process.
  • The library management software solution provides a better interface to the users. 
  • The library automation tool provides integrated information. 
  • The online library management system helps in keeping the library’s collection simplified, which in turn helps in finding the right item quickly.
  • The library management software can efficiently modernize library activities.

What are the latest trends and strategies used in library automation systems?

Nowadays, the innovative libraries are using digital tools. The librarians are using technology to enhance their services for the customers. The latest trends and strategies in the library management system are as follows:

  • Virtual Reality- The library management software solution makes use of virtual reality technology. The virtual tours of the library or virtual workshops help in bringing the library closer to the users or readers. While sitting in the local library, the readers can easily learn and explore other places with the help of the VR technique.
  • Single sign-on technologies – The library automation system provides unique sign-on facility technologies that allow libraries to manage their users’ login-in credentials from a centralized system. This system helps in automatic account creation and updates, which in turn helps in saving the time. 
  • Open Libraries- The concept of open libraries is mainly used in smaller communities. It means the combination of staffed and unmanned library services that fulfill the requirement of libraries. The opening hours of the libraries are extended without reducing the staffed hours in the concept of open libraries.
  • Robots- The library management app makes use of robots. This automated technology (robots) is implemented in the libraries that help in raising the interest of the readers in the library, along with the latest technology.
  • Digital Displays – The library management system enables the digital display of library books that helps in creating multiple dynamic presentations for a range of titles. The digital display allows people to see what items are available in the library. 
  • Kinetic bikes in the library- The library management system software provide innovative and unique services in the libraries. Users can charge their phones and can exercise while using the library. The kinetic bikes serve as smart bikes that can charge the phone while the user or reader is working or downloading an eBook to the device.
  • Cloud-based printing- The online library management system provides the trend of cloud printing, copying, and scanning. The cloud printing system supports mobile working and traveling, which means people can work wherever there is a library. The people don’t require traditional office space. In libraries, cloud printing has become commonplace where users can make use of their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to print their required material. 
  • RFID technologies (radio frequency distribution) – The library management app makes use of RFID technologies. These technologies make use of tools such as inventory readers, fines payment, or reception of returned materials that help in facilitating the user flow at the library and the daily activities of the staff. 
  • Mobile Apps – The library automation software makes use of mobile apps that allow people to have access to their mobile devices regularly. The library’s services can be extended on a mobile app, which in turn helps in forming the interaction with patrons. 
  • User-focused interfaces- The library automation system makes use of user-focused interfaces that helps in improving the user experience by promoting engagement and more involvement from users. These interfaces help in personalizing interactions between the library system and the patrons. 
  • Artificial Intelligence – The library automation software makes use of AI technology to improve patron experience. The AI technology helps in tracking data around the book, and author preferences along with it make recommendations for future content. The libraries can identify popular books, authors, categories, and publications to provide their catalogs to their patrons. 

What points to be considered when investing in library automation software?

The points to be considered when investing in library management software are as follows:

  • User-friendly- Make sure that the library automation system is user-friendly. A user-friendly library management tool can allow users to have little or no library experience to run a library efficiently. 
  • Customizable- Ensure that library management software solutions should have the capability to customize the look and functionality of reports, templates, and the catalog. 
  • Future-proofed- Check whether the library management software can accommodate new cataloging rules and formats. Before choosing the online library management system, clarify that the database of the system is sound.
  • Technical Support- Confirm whether the library management system software provides technical support at the time of need. Ensure that through phone, email, or live chat, it is possible to reach the professional support team. 
  • Diversity of suites- Clarify whether a library management software solution offers packages for small libraries, large centralized library systems, corporate libraries, or libraries with little or no technology support.
  • Data security- Ensure that the library management solution guarantees data and content security. Check whether the data is stored correctly and indexed in the library management app.

Other essential points to be considered before choosing the best library management software solution for the organization is:

  • Check whether the library management solution offers the fully functional trial version or live demonstration of the software so that it becomes easy to test the performance of the library automation software.
  • Make sure whether the basic package of the library management system allows the addition of extra components later. Check if the packaging of library management system software expandable 
  • Examine how the library management app can help meet the needs of the end-users while searching for content.
  • Check that in what way the library management software delivers the search – whether in the form of the web page, or multiple flexible options or should be combined with other sources.
  • Make sure that the library management solution is mobile-ready, which means it can be deployed across all staff and in any location.
  • Consider the functionality, price, and credibility of the library management system before finalizing the product. 
  • Check whether your library management software solution provides all the necessary features required for the smooth functioning of the library.
  • Talk to the existing clients who are already using the library management system so that you can gain proper guidance.
  • Consider the license suitability, support and maintenance, and suitability for collaboration when purchasing library automation software.
  • Make sure your online library management system is capable of integrating well with the existing system. The library automation system should be easy-to-use.
  • Ensure that the library management software has the ability to scale to fit the growing need of your organization.
  • Avoid breaches by running the vendors through the third-party risk management process.
  • Check whether the investment in the library management software system is beneficial for the users?
  • Consider the current needs and future requirements of the library automation system so that a wise decision can be made as per the requirement. 

Average cost of library automation software

Several factors are considered for deciding the average price of library automation software. It depends on:

  • The number of features the library management app is providing
  • The quality of elements offered by the library automation system
  • On the size of the business 
  • Whether the library automation software is a cloud-based system or not, 
  • How many users and admins are allowed by the library management tool?
  • What type of profitability the library automation tool can generate for clients when used
  • The user interface of the library management app

Small organizations require basic features of the online library management system. As a result, their prices are affordable. On the other hand, large organizations prefer advanced plans that provide powerful features. The cost of library automation software can start as low as $29.95 per year (for example, Book Collector Pro). It can reach as high as $3595per year (for instance, Easylib-Entire Automation System for Libraries). Along with these charges, some more costs are associated with the support, maintenance, and installation by the vendors.  

There is also an option of free and open source library management software for small and start-up organizations. If you prefer a high-quality free library management system, then you can explore the GoodFirms platform. Koha, OpenBiblio, NewGenLib, PMB, and Invenio are all free library management software which you can opt for your organization.

Why consider the GoodFirms list of top library automation software?

GoodFirms platform believes in performing painstaking research work in the field of software. The research work is based on the latest market trends. This platform serves as a reliable and authoritative source that guides in providing the profound knowledge and understanding of the top quality library automation software to the readers. 

If you are unknown to the library automation field, then no need to worry at all. The experts of GoodFirms can guide you by offering a deep intuitive understanding of the library automation software that can efficiently meet the demands of your organization. 

You can stay ahead in this competitive environment by exploring the GoodFirms page of best library automation software, as it provides the intensive details about the popular library automation software that includes their pricing, reviews, core functionalities along with the business size. Grab the opportunity to meet your unique business demands by going through the list of best library automation software.