There are times, we have seen a librarian sitting in the Library permanently for issuing, returning and renewing books, doing all the paperwork to get the book to the shelves. But, with the emergence of the digital era, it has become essential for educational bodies to manage the catalogue of the details and information through efficient software. The Library Management System (LMS), is the software through which all the data related to the books that are available in the Library and the books that have been issued to the learners is maintained. The compound most task of searching for books as per students’ needs and requirements has been made more comfortable and more convenient now with the introduction of LMS. And since the libraries are considered as the brain of any education system, we are now going to discuss more on LMS!!
What Is A Library Management System?
Library Management System, also abbreviated as LMS, is the software which created to handle and maintain primary housekeeping functionalities of a particular library. And guess what, nowadays, more libraries are relying on this super cool management system as it seamlessly manages the book collection and also helps in maintaining relationships with the members. The LMS assist in retaining the check-ins and check-outs of the books, keeps a track on the books, efficiently manage the book collections, including new and existing members’ profiles and subscriptions. Not only this but the Library Management System maintains a database which helps to enter new books and record books borrowed by the learners, with their respective submission dates. Hey, wait there’s a lot more! LMS is functioning as the assistants to librarians, as well as saving valuable time of students by providing them easy to use platform. These kinds of advanced system do not require any physical presence, enabling you to keep the whole system computerized. For all good reasons, LMS is trending among all the educational bodies that comprise of schools, colleges, learning institutes, many public libraries, etc. It facilitates a smooth search when any specific learner asks for a particular book.
Why Do We Need a Library Management System?
With the evolution of the new digital technology in the education system, we aim to make students and methods more advanced than ever. We get that type of online education now, which was a far-sighted point earlier. Here are some points, as we are going to discuss the importance of having such a system in place:
- Having LMS in place makes it easier for the librarians to search for any book, by its name, author’s name, popularity level, publication, category, etc. it also saves the time of the learners as they can quickly get the book and start reading.
- The librarian can take out any important information by reading the barcodes of the book and student library card.
- Librarian can keep a track on the current status to find out whether the book is available or not.
- Also helps to find out the exact location of the book and can guide students as well.
- The institutes can check the analytics linked with the library functions to find out the most preferred book, author or category by the learners.
- LMS sends the notification as well, to the reader when required books are available in the Library. It also reminds about the submission of the books to the students, to avoid any penalty. That’s why receiving the notification can bring a significant amount of ease in the student’s experience.
- It is also useful for the library department as well as for the administrator, to keep an eye on the departments’ day to day activity.
How Does A Library Management System Works?
For the latest, the library management system is trending in the arena of library management.
- The system is running on the networks of computers to support the functions of the Library and this way; it enables the library staff to execute all their tasks online.
- The system also combines the different feature of the Library into one integrated system.
- The Library management system comprises of three main elements, users, hardware and software.
- The system allows the users to trace the books electronically sans having to go through the shelves.
- Through LMS, the lending procedure has been simplified as the librarians can maintain the record of lent items and information of borrowers.
- It can support other administrative tasks like data processing and inventory.
However, the functionalities of the system include simple housekeeping activities, interlibrary loan activities, cataloguing to the user services.
Essential Features Of A Library Management System
The system comprises of three main panels
- Librarian- This panel adds, modify books items. Librarian issues, return and reserves the books as well. Also, he/she can manage the problems and return through the system. Also, there are some added functionalities which make the system worth using like: with the help of advanced search, a particular book can be found out of the pile.
- Member- All the members can search the catalogue, renew, reserve and return the book items.
- System- The system panel is responsible for sending the notifications regarding overdue books, cancelled reservations, availability of the required books, etc.
Standard Features Of A Library Management System
- Add/Edit/Remove Books- Book items can be added, removed or modified according to the requirements of the students.
- Search Catalogue- This function enables the search options of the book items by their author, title, publication date or subject category.
- Registration & Cancellation Of Memberships– You can add new members as well as cancel memberships of existing ones.
- Reserve Books- This feature is useful for a reservation of the books item that is unavailable for the moment.
- Book Renewal- This feature helps to re-borrow the checked-out books.
- Return Books- This feature is useful to return books to the Library, which was previously issued by the students.
- Library- The library system consists of attributes like ‘Name’ that distinguishes them from other libraries and an ‘Address’ to describe the location.
- Book- It is that basic building block of LMS in which every book has Title, ISBN, Publishers names, Subject, etc.
- Book Items- The books can have its copies also, and in the Library Management System, all the copies are considered as a book item.
- Account- Consists of two types of accounts, one is for general members and other for a librarian.
- Library Card- In this feature, each library user is issued a library card which is later used to identify users as they issue or return the books.
- Book Reservation- This feature manages the reservations done on book item.
- Book Lending- This feature is responsible for managing the check-out of books.
- Catalogue- The system supports searching through four catalogues that include Author, Subject, Title, & Publishing date catalogues.
- Fine/Penalty- This particular feature calculates & collect fine from the members of the Library in case of late submission of books or if there’s any loss of book items.
- Author- This part of the app shows the names of the book authors’.
- Rack- In general, it happens that the books are placed on the racks in the Library, so each of the racks are identified by a rack no. And it also has a location identifier for describing the rack’s physical location in any particular library.
- Notification- It is responsible for sending notifications to the members.
- Checking-out a book- Any of the library members can efficiently perform this function. It comprises of a few steps for checking out books.
- Return Books- Just like the Checking out a book function, this activity can be performed by a library member or the librarian seamlessly. Responsible for collecting the fines from the learners, in case the books are returned post due date.
- Book Renewal- The system renews a book, it keeps a track on fines and penalties and also looks the reservation of any required book (because in that case the books can’t be renewed).
Additional Functionalities Of a Library Management System
- Barcode Scanner- This is useful to scan the barcodes of each book or a magazine present in the Library.
- Circulation Management- Library Circulation or Library lending helps the members to lend a book if any required book is available in the library. The function of Circulation Management is clear, and it provides all of the required information and details on single tap functionality.
- OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue)- This functionality connects & exchanges the information with LMS. It combines well with a network of libraries.An OPAC is an online database for the resources in the Library. Basically, an OPAC can be searched for locating book items within the Library.
- Reserve Shelf Management- It assists librarians in creating a reserve shelf to add upcoming books to it.
- Self-check-in/Check-out- This feature allows the library members to do the self-check-in and check-out of books by making an entry into the system.
- Catalogue Management- This function manages the book catalogs.
- Barcoding/RFID- This allows scanning the barcodes, thus enables the natural search.
- Fee Collection- The function is responsible for collecting the fee for the checked-out books from the members of the Library.
- Search Functionality- This feature allows for easy search for the book or book items by the librarian or library members.
- Serials Management- Manage the books according to their serial numbers.
- Payment Gateway- Payment gateways are integrated to ease the online payment transaction via Credit/Debit Cards, Braintree, PayPal& Stripe. This helps to pay fine online as well.
- CMS Integration- The Content Management System helps in managing the app content.
- Calculator- The Calculator API is integrated into the system which calculates the fine when books are submitted back after the due date.
- Fast Access To Database- This functionality saves valuable time with quick access and also smooths the process of library management.
- Social Networking Integration- User engagement can be improved and enhanced by integrating social media networks in the system.
- Multi-language- Integration of the multi-language feature makes the complete process a lot easier as users can interact with the system in any of the languages they are comfortable with.
- Planner & Schedule- This feature helps to manage the processes of LMS easily.
- 24×7 Online Access- This function can be accessed at any time of the day easily.
- Book Claim/Reservations- The functionality enables to manage the book reservations efficiently.
- Review- Integration of a review system in the app, users can review the system and library managers can learn more about the user experience.
Advantages Of A Library Management System
There are several advantages of a library management system:
- LMS aims to allow people to access their library accounts easily, they can keep a track on the desired books availability in the Library and re-use any book item.
- Additionally, the LMS also allows users and library staff and administrators to access their accounts through their smartphones, other than computers.
- Learners can suggest their desired books in the Library, in case there’s unavailability.
- Capital investment can be saved by replacing traditional computers with smart-devices like smartphones, tablets, etc.
- The system can be easily implemented with low-cost, doesn’t need any additional training for implementation, and it doesn’t need any further investments in regards to server, internet speed or networking.
- Allows quick access to the library members, once they upload the data in the M-OPAC cloud.
- The system functions best for schools, colleges, universities, government, private as well as autonomous libraries.
- Moreover, the system is cloud-based, so it doesn’t need time to time maintenance, and it is also platform-independent, as it extracts data from the library system.
Which platforms the system works on? The Library Management System amazingly and seamlessly works on various platforms, like web, Andriod and iOS.Whenever our Mobile app and web development team is approached by the clients, they ask for solutions that run on all the platforms so that no one remains deprived of the facilities and platform gets a grip as well.
Let’s check out the monetization of Library Management System
Advertising- The app generates money by featuring advertisements in the system for third-party integration.
Paid Listing- This revenue model is useful for the Library administration for the LMS system for Paid Inclusion. In case you have done marketing to appear in the google search results, you will understand this concept. These are sponsored listings in which through which an item gains top rankings in any list that is generally visited by the users. With this function, you can release the list of the best books every month available in the Library, and including this you can also suggest the students about the books that they have approached you when they search.
Technology Stack Associated With Library System Management
It requires various technologies and tools to frame a full-fledged Library Management System. The most used models are:
- For the database, you can use MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgress, etc.
- Tools like Twilio, Push.io enables you to send push notifications.
- Tools like Mandrill can be used for email operations,
- Cloud storage servers like Google Cloud Storage, Azure & Amazon S3, can be used.
- Payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe or other Ewallets can be used to enable a secured online payment.
- For real-time analytics, modules like Apache Flink, Azure Stream Analytics, Spark Streaming can be used.
- AWS for cloud environment can be used.
Required Team Structure
To develop a Library Management system for your Library, you need to hire a good Library Management App development company. The skilled and experienced team will develop a great library management system for your Library. But before hiring any firm for app development services, you make sure that the team consists of excellent personnel that includes:
- Project Manager- The Project Manager is an expert who manages the entire development process of any app project.
- Android/iOS Developers- Comprises a set of Android and iOS developers (in case you are interested in developing the app for both the platforms).
- UX/UI Designer- Includes the designers who are responsible for the look and feel of the library management system. Well-designed library management system improves user engagement and user interaction.
- Database Experts- These experts manage the app’s database.
- QA Experts- Herein, the quality analysts make sure that the app is bug-free and works smoothly, also, check the entire app for any bugs or errors. Once they are delighted with the app’s performance, they allow the delivery to the clients.
- Delivery Manager- Delivery Manager is responsible for the delivery of the app to the clients.
Cost To Create A Library Management System
Several factors are considered to decide on the cost and time of the library management system. Like:
App size- The size of the app depends on the factors like the number of features added to the app, advanced features to be added in the app, more devices the app is designed for, the number of platforms you prefer to develop an app for, the third-party integrations, the more the factors, the more would be the cost of the app.
Development rates, according to the regions- The mobile app size is the primary factor on which the mobile app development cost depends. Because the app size defines how much time is required to develop the app accordingly and you see the rate of the developers is also an essential factor, for instance, the development rate per hour for US, UK, and Europe-Based developers are higher as compared to the Indian-based app developers and development enterprises.
As the Library Management System functions under the educational domain, it will never suffer a downfall. Its time to rethink a model so that we can target huge chunks of audience. Feel free to get in touch with us to acknowledge more about the development of a fully-fledged Library Management System.