Technological advancements are paving the way for all kinds of online systems that are creating value in ways one could have never imagined. Online library management software systems are becoming popular in schools and colleges.
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In this article, we will discuss library management software and its benefits for students, faculty members, and those involved in the management of schools and colleges.
Why Do You Need A Library Management Software Solution?
Managing a huge library with endless rows of books and reading material is a huge undertaking. Again, keeping track of all library resources with hundreds, thousands, and even lakhs of students can be challenging for even the most experienced librarians.
Online library management systems can automate various tasks related to library management and make libraries more efficient and effective. They can save schools, colleges, and universities a considerable amount of time, space, effort, and costs involved in managing a library.
Online library management solutions make it possible to manage huge libraries with a single computer and minimal human effort. They also make it easier for students and faculty members to navigate, explore, and use the library with ease.
Benefits of Online Library Management Software
Let us discuss the common benefits of the best online library management software systems available in the market today:
1. Catalog Creation and Management
This is perhaps the toughest part of library management and requires the most amount of time and effort from librarians. Librarians spend a lot of their time cataloging each book and creating physical library cards to keep a track of lending and borrower details.
Online library software solutions can generate book IDs and virtual library cards, perform article indexing, and barcoding to catalog every book, magazine, portable data storage devices such as CDs and USB drives, presentations, project reports, PDF files, etc. with a few clicks. Librarians can print out the library cards, if necessary, as they issue the books and other reading material.
2. Easy Maintenance
With an online catalog maintained by an online library management solution, it is easier to keep track of –
- which books are available in the library;
- which ones are borrowed;
- what is the date of issue, reissue;
- the due date of return;
- user history, and other such details
Users can obtain the status of the number of books and resources he or she has borrowed and when they are due to return.
This saves lots of time and manual effort for the librarian. Also, the user doesn’t have to be physically present at the library to get any information from the librarian.
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Online library management software systems can automate everything to a large extent – be it maintaining catalog, library cards for the issue and reissue of books and materials, monitoring the return due dates, or issuing automatic alerts to users.
Users can browse through the list of available books online, submit a request for them, check the status of the books he or she has already borrowed, and their return due dates to avoid any late fee penalties.
4. Error-free Information Retrieval
In the absence of an online library management solution, librarians must spend hours maintaining and updating manual records of books, its user history, and contact information of library members. Not only can this be time-consuming and tedious, but it can be prone to many errors.
An automated library management solution collects and stores this information in a centralized location on a real-time basis. Moreover, it retrieves this information in the form of reports with a few clicks.
Some of the best library management software solutions for schools and colleges, also come with a smart card feature. Librarians can issue smart cards to students. Inserting these smart cards into a device displays all the information about the user, his or her contact details, and library usage history on the screen.
5. Quick and Efficient Circulation of Books and Library Materials
Online library management systems automate makes it possible for users to obtain the most updated information on the available books at any given time and borrow them accordingly. Librarians can issue them quickly.
Since the online library system keeps a track of all the lending and borrowing details, books are returned on time. This ensures that the library is well-stocked at all times. As a result of these features, books and library materials circulate quickly and efficiently.
Some library management solutions also allow users to submit their suggestions to librarians. They even allow librarians to get quotations from various vendors for books and purchase them online.
It is evident that an online library management software system has several benefits in store for schools, universities, and colleges. Library management software solutions are highly configurable and they can be customized and scaled as per requirement. They are user-friendly and anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can learn to use them easily.
Using library management software, schools and universities can keep their libraries running 24/7. It also gives them the potential to replace brick-and-mortar library establishments with a full-fledged online library.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.