Guide to Unlocking the Benefits of Library Automation Software

Staff
5
mins
March 6, 2023
Library Management

Library automation software saves time and resources by streamlining various operations, from cataloging books to tracking library materials. Today, having a library automation system in your library is not a privilege anymore but a necessity.This quick guide will equip you with knowledge regarding the benefits of library automation software, its different types, key features to look out for, implementation tips, and more.

What is Library Automation Software?

Library automation software is a specialized computer program designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of libraries.It aims to automate redundant tasks that are otherwise done manually, such as cataloging, circulation, and tracking materials.

With the help of library automation software, librarians can manage the library's digital resources like e-books and online databases, track and monitor their usage, and ensure proper maintenance and accessibility for patrons.

Benefits of Library Automation Software

Here's a quick rundown of the benefits of library automation software:

  • Efficiency: Automation reduces the amount of time and effort needed to do tasks like cataloging, shelving, and accessing documents, saving both time and money.
  • Easier Access to Resources: Library automation systems provide patrons with easier access to resources like books and other documents.
  • Improved Organization: Automation reduces errors and helps keep resources organized for efficient retrieval and better utilization, improving organization.
  • Security: Automating the library helps keep records secure, so only authorized entities can access information. This protects sensitive information from being misused or stolen.
  • Resource Management: Libraries can track resources like e-journals, books, magazines, fines, entries, etc., using them to optimize resource management.

Types of Library Automation Software

There are a few different types of Library Automation Software, but we'll take a look at the three most popular ones:

Open Source Library Automation Software

Open-source software is distributed for free and can be customized to fit the needs of the library. It also offers the potential for collaboration and contribution from a larger community. This allows libraries to get the most out of their software.

Commercial Library Automation Software

Commercial library automation software is supported by a company and may come pre-packaged with features and services. CLAS provides a more reliable and consistent service than open-source software, as the company will take responsibility for any issues that arise.

Cloud-Based Library Automation Software

Cloud-based library automation software is hosted in the cloud, which eliminates the need for libraries to purchase or maintain any hardware. This increases the flexibility and scalability of the software and can also reduce costs.Cloud-based systems also offer mobile access to staff and patrons. This allows them to search the library catalog, check out items, renew loans, place holds, and access other library services using their mobile devices.

Key Features of Library Automation Software for Staff and Patrons

A library automation system benefits both staff and patrons. The staff enjoys increased efficiency and accuracy, more organized records, and improved security. On the other hand, patrons have access to a searchable catalog, online reservations, automated check-outs and returns, and reviews.

How to Choose the Right Library Automation Software

With so many options available, choosing the best software can be difficult. To make the right choice for your library, consider its needs and goals. This includes evaluating services offered, budget, staff expertise, and potential growth. By doing so, you can simplify the decision-making process. Then, evaluate software solutions that offer necessary features and user-friendly interfaces with useful analytics and reporting capabilities.

Make sure that the software solution you choose has reliable customer support to assist you with any issues that may arise. Taking the time to thoroughly evaluate your options will allow you to make an informed decision for your library.

Need help picking automation software for your library? Get in touch with our team for a consultation

Popular Library Automation Software

Koha

Koha was developed by a team of developers led by Katipo Communications in New Zealand in 1999 to help libraries streamline their operations. It offers a range of features such as cataloging, circulation, and tracking of library materials, user authentication, and secure access.

What sets Koha apart is its support for over 100 languages, including Chinese, English, German, and Japanese. This makes it an excellent choice for libraries that serve diverse communities.

LibreCat

LibreCat was built on the principles of Linked Open Data by a team of researchers at Bielefeld University in Germany. Along with standard features such as cataloging, circulation, and tracking of library materials, it also offers analytics and reporting capabilities.

This makes it an excellent choice for libraries that need to generate reports and gain insights into their operations.

Evergreen

Evergreen was developed by the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) in the United States in collaboration with PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services), a consortium of over 275 public libraries.

Evergreen is a great choice for public libraries that need to manage large collections of materials and provide efficient services to patrons. As of today, around 1,800 libraries and websites use Evergreen.

Implementing Library Automation Software

After selecting the library automation software that most effectively fulfills the needs of your library, the next step is to proceed with its implementation. The initial stage entails installing the software and adapting it to suit the operational requirements of your library. This consists of setting up the cataloging and circulation procedures and guaranteeing seamless integration with other relevant library systems. It is also essential to train staff members in the software's utilization to ensure its proper application.

Cost of Library Automation Software

Library automation software cost varies widely based on features and type. Free and open-source programs like Koha require no license fees or ongoing costs.

Paid programs may charge a one-time fee or ongoing subscription fees ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.LibraryWorld, for instance, costs $495-$1,095. Prices also depend on users and license length; Alexandria costs $1,995-$2,995 for 1-5 users, with extra fees for more users. SirsiDynix Symphony charges $10,000-$20,000 for an annual license, based on library size and users.

Parting Thoughts

Library automation software plays a crucial role in streamlining operations and providing excellent services to patrons. It automates several manual processes, including cataloging, circulation, and material tracking, making the library more secure and offering relevant analytics.When choosing the appropriate software, it is essential to consider the library's services, budget, and the technical expertise of the staff.

The right automation software can unlock the library's full potential by automating its operations. Bring automation to your library with GR Tech, get started!

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