Managing a Library involves a plethora of tasks and it is never an easy job on the part of a Librarian. This person has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. S/he has to maintain a log of a lot of activities, like book search, book issues, late fine, and a lot more, within a library. Often this leaves a scope for numerous errors which certainly results in losses on the part of library administration and owners.
Owing to these and many more reasons, today the concept of a Library Management System is highly in trend. In fact, most library owners are looking to integrate this software into their libraries.
A Library Management System enables the librarian to manage the library resources in a much more effective manner. This saves a lot of time and effort on their part. It doesn’t only benefit the librarians, but also the library members, making the whole process of issuing books and making payments a lot more convenient for them.
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Importance of a Library Management System
In order to understand the crucial role played by the Library Management System, one needs to understand its potential in planning and implementing library automation projects. A Library Management System, often known as LMS, is efficient at managing the entire library via the easy interface of the software.
This way, it removes the involvement of manual process and offers a simplified way to issue books. It saves efforts and time, on part of both the members as well as the librarians. The librarian can manage the library very easily and avoid any kind of human error.
Also, it allows the library members to easily process a lot of tasks, such as issue books, calculate the late fines, and check book-resubmission dates. It also allows them to check the availability status of a book that they are willing to issue but is currently issued by the other member/user. Members simply need to generate their login credentials in order to access books and find shelves, as per their requirements.
The LMS centralizes the entire distribution process of book orderings, issuing, and replacement. It generates real-time reports which makes the process of library handling tremendously easy for the administration.
These systems can also be accessed from anywhere and at any time by library users and are easy to navigate.
Who can use a Library Management System?
Today a number of schools, colleges, private libraries, and several other organizations are using a Library Management System for the purpose of issuing and returning books. Besides, it is also for several other purposes, like collecting fine and maintaining a log of due payments from students and other members of the library.
Commonly, a Library Management System proves to be useful in:
- Private Libraries
- National Libraries
- Modern Public Libraries
- Academic Libraries
- Children Libraries (K-12)
- Public Lending Libraries
- Reference Libraries
- Research Libraries
- Libraries in Schools & Colleges
So, these are the places, where a Library Management System plays a critical role and it is best to equip the libraries with these systems to make the functioning way more effective and hassle-free.
Benefits of a Robust Library Management System
An LMS can be a great system in a number of ways and below we have mentioned a few benefits of this system.
An LMS enhances efficiency:
A Library Management System enhances the efficiency of Librarians as well as Library members. On the part of Librarian, it allows them to easily maintain a log of books, and also a proper record of books issued, re-issued, and not returned. For the Library members (users), it allows them to easily check the availability of a book they are looking for.
Reduces the cost to manage a Library:
A Library Management System significantly reduces the cost to manage a Library. It eliminates the requirement for too many employees to manage a library, as it requires lesser human involvement. Most things are managed by the system itself.
This way, one library can easily do with a librarian and few members to ensure that things are being managed well. Also, the system stores all the data, hence no need to maintain those files. This way the paperwork reduces too, which ultimately leads to reduced costs, again.
Time is the key for everyone today, and so is for librarians and library users/members. It is easy for a librarian to record and go through the past record of the individual library users. Whereas the users can easily know the location and availability of any particular book. This way, an LMS allows both Librarian and the users to accomplish more in little time.
Increased productivity of Library workers:
A LMS allows to automate day-to-day processes of the members and this results in increased productivity. A Library Management System allows the library workers to devote their time in most important activities in a library. After all, the meager tasks will now be managed by the system.
Improves Library Presentation:
It is vital that a Library looks well managed and presentation at all times. And a Library Management System allows doing the same really easily.
It allows the libraries to arrange the available books in the right order (as per the log maintained in the system, where a shelf is devoted to each book or a category of the book). This way, students are also able to locate the books easily as per the shelf number.
Next, it is time to focus on the feature list for a Library Management System.
Key Features of a Library Management System
Mainly, in a Library Management System, there are two main users, they are:
- Library Member
Features of Librarian Panel
Features of Library Members Panel
Refine Search System for both the Librarian & the Members
The system should offer a refined search system for both Librarian and members, thus making the search easy and effective for them. Like, they should be able to:
One of the most useful aspects of a Library Management System is that it is efficient at creating comprehensive and real-time reports regarding the processes of a Library, such as for:
Advanced Features of a Library Management System
Above we mentioned the key features and functionalities of a Library Management System. However, an LMS is not limited to this.
Today there are a number of LMS present out there, and in order to develop a unique Library Management app, there are other advanced features that can be chosen to integrate into the LMS system. Below, we have discussed the advanced features that can be integrated into this system in order to make it stand out from the rest.
Communication: It can be wonderful if the system allows library users to communicate easily via email, system chat, and calling.
Thus, the library users or members won’t have to visit the library in order to know about a book, as they can easily check whether the book is available in the library at that time. And if it is, then they can book instantly and make a visit soon to collect the book.
Catalogue Management: This feature can prove useful to keep a digital track of what is available in the library collection. Or to know the availability of a significant book that is currently issued by the other library member.
Bar Code & QR Code Scanner: This functionality allows the users to scan the barcodes or QR code of a book or a magazine.
CMS Integration: CMS is useful to manage the content of an LMS or an LMS mobile app. In a Library Management System, this functionality can be immensely useful to make the app more useful and effective for the users.
OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue): An OPAC is basically an online database of all of the available resources with a Library. It is useful to locate books within library, as this functionality lists the number of books or book items that are in a library or even the checked-out books and book items, along with their call numbers.
This feature when integrated proves to be useful to connect and exchange information with the LMS. This easily connects with a network of Libraries.
Multiple Payment Gateway: This functionality makes it easy for the LMS users to make easy payments for the books issued by them, or to pay for the late book submission fine. The payments can be made easily via multiple payment gateways, like Braintree, Stripe, PayPal, Debit/Credit cards, or others.
Analytics: This functionality is responsible to generate real-time reports. This way, the administration can have the entire knowledge of proceedings in their library.
Circulation Management: This functionality is useful in regard to Library Book Lending. Circulation Management functionality provides all of the information regarding the library books rented by the users, at just the press of a button.
Role-Based Dashboards: These role-based dashboards are immensely helpful in achieving business goals. They demonstrate the performance of the LMS system.
This way, in case the system is not performing up to the expectations in any of the segments, then a role-based dashboard helps in realizing that. So that necessary actions can be taken to improve the performance. Ultimately, this will help in getting more users on board and generating more revenue via the LMS.
Database Backup and Restore facility: For an LMS, it is crucial to ensure the safety of data. For this purpose, it can be great to integrate this functionality of Database Backup & Restore facility. This keeps the data secure and in case of any loss of data, it can be easily restored.
Chat with a librarian: This functionality allows the library users to ask the librarian in the system-chat about book availability or get in touch for any other related help.
Monetization Model for a Library Management System
A Library Management System is great to make the work easier for Librarians and also offers convenience to Library users. But apart from that, an LMS is also a good means to make money. Usually, the system goes by these two monetization models, they can be:
This revenue model allows to earn revenue by the mean of paid inclusion and paid placements by the book publishers and book authors. LMS can be a great platform for publishers and authors to promote their books. And this way it opens a source of income for the system owners.
This is one obvious and time-tested way to make money. Offer membership plans to the library members/users. As they subscribe to these plans, it opens a way for income. The library owners of LMS offers can choose the monetization plan that best suits their needs and system.
Technology Stack for Library Management System
Push Notifications – Twilio, Push.io
App Platform – Android, IOS
Front-End – XML, React Native OR Angular JS
Backend – NodeJS/ASP.Net/PHP
SMS, Voice, and Phone Verification -Nexmo, Twilio
Payments – Braintree & PayPal, Stripe, EWallets
Database – MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgress, Mail Chimp Integration
Cloud Environment – AWS, Firebase, CloudFirestore, Azure
Real-Time Dashboards – PubNub, Custom-Development
Navigation – Google Map
Required Team Structure
Once the above-mentioned aspects have been taken care of, next it is time to initiate a search for a good Library Management App development company. Keep in mind that to create a unique and feature-rich system, an experienced app development firm needs to be on board.
This company must also have a good reputation in the market and a sincere past record in the domain of Library Management System Development.
Another crucial aspect that matters a lot to select a good development firm is to ensure that the firm is backed by a best development team. After all, without a knowledgeable and experienced set of development personnel, it is impossible to craft a sophisticated system.
Hence, ensure that the team consists of expert and experienced professionals, like:
- Project Manager
- iOS/Android App Developers
- Backend Developers
- UX/UI Designers
- Database Experts
- QA Experts
- Delivery Manager
Cost to Create a Library Management System
In order to determine the cost to develop a Library Management System, a few crucial aspects are needed to be considered. They are:
- Size of the App: It depends on the number of features that are integrated into an app. More the features, the more the cost.
- Number of Platforms: In case the system is being developed for only a single platform, say Android or iOS, then the cost of lesser. However, it will be expensive to develop the system for both platforms or for more.
- Development Region: Apart from the above-mentioned factors, another crucial factor that can affect the development cost to create a Library Management System is the region chosen to create a mobile app. The Development cost per hour is way higher in the countries of UK, USA, and Eastern-Western Europe, whereas the development cost per hour is way lesser in India.
Hence, if an Indian App development firm is chosen to create a Library Management System then the development cost can range between $25000-$35000 (please alter the numbers, accordingly).
This estimate is when the system is being developed with basic features and for a single platform. In case, more features are integrated into the system and more platforms, then the cost may go up to $45000-$50000.