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Library Software

Library software provides centralised management and process automation for public, private, and school libraries. Activities that Library Automation software can enable include circulation history, administration, cataloguing, reporting, and patron records. Library Management software provides integration of self-service kiosks and online web portal access for catalogue search, content delivery, reservation requests and patron check-out history, and can also track and automate notifications of overdue books and fines. Find the best library management system for your organisation in Australia.

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Library Software Buyers Guide

What is library software?

Library software, also known as library automation software, helps schools, colleges, public, and private libraries with activities including book handling, title acquisition, catalogue building, indexing, and circulation. Library management software automates core library operations that are repetitive in nature and allows librarians to search for titles in a central book record, assign unique serial numbers to titles, categorise books, and keep track of title location within the library system. Library automation systems also monitor overdue books, calculate fees for late returns, and maintain records of revenue generated by subscriptions, fines, penalties, and memberships.

What are the benefits of library software?

  • Modernising library activities: Present-day libraries often manage huge collections of titles and resources. Manual management methods are unrealistic in this digital age, and library automation system replaces past methods (e.g. card catalogues, physical due date cards) of catalogue management. By managing an unlimited amount of book records and streamlining data entry and tracking, libraries and their staff members have effectively modernised through the use of such systems.
  • Error-free data entry/title tracking: Library automation software uses RFID scanners to log books in and out while capturing patron details, saving librarians from manually entering this information and preventing errors during data entry.
  • Mobile access: Popular library management systems offer mobile apps for both patrons and staff members. Patrons can easily search the library catalogue, submit hold requests, and access available digital resources at any time from their smartphones.

What are the features of library software?

  • Barcoding/RFID: Use RFID and barcode technologies to manage check-outs (borrowing) and returns, tagging, shelf management, and anti-theft detection.
  • Catalogue management: Maintain a catalogue of library resources (e.g. books, journals, and newsletters).
  • Search: Allow users to search the library catalogue and find information such as book availability and location.
  • Self check-outs and check-ins: Allow users to check-out and return library items using library computers and/or dedicated kiosks.
  • Serial and circulation management: Generate unique ID numbers (or tags) for all library content and patrons and track the status and location of library resources.

What should be considered when purchasing library software?

  • Ease-of-use paired with great support offerings. It can be difficult for any non-technical user to learn a new software's interface, features, and functionalities. Before making a purchase, libraries should ensure that the system they choose has a short learning curve backed by quality support that is ready to help their team whenever they're stuck or unable to resolve issues on their own.
  • Trials/Demos. Before purchasing a library automation system, you should test the software to ensure it adequately meets your needs. After you test a few different library automation tools, you can make a better, more informed decision about which system is right for your library.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) will improve patron experience: AI is making waves in various markets, and while it has not yet made a significant impact on the library sphere, some library automation system software is being improved by AI applications. Artificial intelligence within library automation software can improve patron experiences by tracking data around their book and author preferences, average reading time, and more, and make recommendations for future content. This data will help libraries identify popular books, authors, categories, and publications to cater their catalogues to their users and maximise their limited funds.
  • Shift from on-premise to cloud-based library automation system software: Many libraries have begun shifting from traditional, on-premise software development that historically required heavy IT investments to a more flexible, cost-effective, cloud-based model. Expect this trend to continue in the coming years as even more libraries seek to cut costs and free staff up to focus on users.