Importance of an Automated Library System in Institute

07 Feb 2023
Library Management System

Research work and analytic reports are crucial to prepare assignments, and libraries have been the primary storehouse of knowledge for the longest time. Hence, students often find themselves in the school or college library browsing through specific books to help them complete the assignments. For instance, public libraries in the Philippines previously executed most of their operations through manually intensive processes.

Gradually, it became quite clear that the traditional library system was incapable of handling an increasing volume of literature. Besides, the library staff have a hard time carrying out multiple responsibilities at the same time; it is an uphill task for them to maintain routine tasks while catering to students’ needs and preferences.

Therefore, institutes and public libraries opt for the automated library system, enabling them to manage and store different formats of content. Furthermore, the system helps facilitate many interrelated activities; it provides a common platform to automate the basic and specialized functions, eliminating the repetition of work and maximizing productivity.

Therefore, let us look at how the automated system helps accelerate major library-related activities:

4 Integrated Housekeeping Operations of a Library

learning Manaegment System

Libraries are similar to any other organizational unit that requires elaborate maintenance; therefore, institutes hire librarians and staff to execute respective activities. However, libraries have different divisions wherein the functions and activities differ from each other. Also, the library housekeeping operations have two subsystems, i.e. operational subsystem and the administrative subsystem and be subdivided into four further subdivisions as follows:

Administrative tasks within a school or college constitute multiple functions without which they cannot operate effectively. And for the longest time, a team of skilled personnel carried out these tasks, but despite their expertise, they cannot help but feel overwhelmed. Besides, managing several responsibilities at the same time hinders productivity.

Meanwhile, student management system helps to significantly reduce the work pressure by automating major administrative procedures such as:

1. Acquisition

The acquisition division relates to the library acquiring reading material, including books, journals, maps, charts, electronic material, etc. The traditional approach would be to go through a manual approach of requesting permission from the institutional authority to acquire specific books. In contrast, the library management system has an acquisition module, easily streamlining the procurement of materials.

In fact, it has features for receiving requests for reading material from the users and for identifying the users with the help of the user database. Moreover, it has a database of book vendors available as a master file, enabling the library to place orders. Also, the system sends automated reminders to the vendors during the non-receipt of material.

2. Processing

Processing is a significant procedure that helps transform a library collection into serviceable resources; one may find that institutes in the Philippines strive to accelerate this particular method as smoothly as possible. Besides, vital procedures under this process include cataloging, classification, labeling and shelving. The software enables the librarians to catalog reading materials in a standard format, making it easier to exchange records with other libraries as a part of the library network.

Moreover, the system facilitates computerized cataloging and the hybrid model, wherein one can use a computer to generate printed catalog cards and manual filing.

3. Circulation Control

Whether it's a high school library in Manila or a University located abroad, library staff have a hard time keeping track of books that have been issued and not yet returned. A simple paper-based register system is no longer an appropriate method; automation in circulation is the perfect solution because it integrates the library catalog and user database.

As a result, it allows the staff to keep track of the issued document or redating material; the software easily syncs with barcode technology, making it easy to record the issuance and return of the book.

4. Management

Running a library is a time-consuming process, and contrary to popular misconception, a librarian’s job is not boring. They are responsible for handling the day-to-day activities and must ensure the safekeeping of resources. In addition, they need to cater to the readers’ need for the books they want and account for the reading materials that went missing.

One of the significant features of the automated library system is the management module that helps essentially to organize and administer key operations. Hence, the institute can streamline the back-end operations; for instance, librarians no longer need to catalog books or keep track of circulation activities manually.

Likewise, they can automate the front-end user activities, enabling students to access the materials easily and not face any procedural lags. On the other hand, sometimes forgetting to return books within a stipulated time can cause issues; the software sends notifications to the users reminding them of the return date or overdue dates.

Automated Reporting and Monitoring

How many books have been issued in a week or a month? What kinds of journals are in demand? Which are the most commonly contacted vendors? These are some of the questions that institutes and libraries both take into consideration while collecting data and conducting mandatory surveys and analyses.

However, even with multiple staff, the work at times becomes tedious and time-consuming; they must maintain daily activities on top of that, they require to carry out data collection. Meanwhile, the digital library generates detailed MIS reports, which helps the staff get clarity on several things. For example, the status of the movement of books and collecting essential data related to book issuing and submission.

Easy Book Issuing

Schools/colleges and public libraries in the Philippines and other countries previously depended on the traditional approach. Students were required to borrow books after spending a considerable time searching for the one they needed. However, thanks to the automation in the library, they no longer have to follow the same approach.

Besides the integration of OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog), a digital catalog helps users search for books, journals and other assorted reading materials. Simultaneously, M-OPAC (Mobile - Online Public Access Catalog) allows readers to do the same by typing the author’s name and title.

Secure Data Maintenance

Is institutional data safe if stored online? What if there is a virus attack? What about hacking activities intended to corrupt libraries’ systems? Security is a major concern whenever someone raises the topic of online data collection and storage. But it is noteworthy that software runs system updates on a regular basis; hence the user database is free from any type of cyber attacks.

In addition, the software is scalable and built to incorporate an increasing number of source materials and user information as time goes by.

In Conclusion

The digital revolution has not eliminated the importance of libraries; instead, it has helped to expand the possibilities with the help of the automated library system. Besides, the tool is instrumental in optimizing major administrative activities, allowing the library staff to operate efficiently.

Poonam Nathani Author :

Poonam Nathani,

Academic Consultant

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