There were times when a librarian used to be a permanent in a library, for issuing books, returning or renewing a book. However, today with technological advancement, a lot has changed and even this arena of library management is not untouched with this progression.
Right now, Library Management Systems are trending and for all the good reasons and they make the library management effortless easy for the schools, colleges, public library, other educational institutions as well as for the students. Now everything is managed by a system, hence there is no paperwork or record maintenance is required. With a brilliant Library Management System (LMS), everything can be managed well and easily, sans any stress.
What is a Library Management System?
This mainly is a software that is developed to handle primary housekeeping functionalities of a library. Today more and more libraries are relying on these system in order to easily manage the book collections and relationships with the members. These LMS helps the libraries in keeping track of books and checkouts, along with members’ profiles and subscriptions.
Not just this, but Library Management Systems (LMS) also maintain database that is useful to enter new books & record books borrowed by the members, with the respective submission dates.
Why a Library Management System is required?
Needless to mention, a Library Management System (LMS) is great for a number of reasons. In case, you are someone who is looking to create such a system for your library, then ensure that the system is able to meet the following requirements, such as:
- LMS must be able to read the barcodes from books & members’ library cards.
- Using the LMS, any library member must be able to search the books by their author, publication date, title, and subject category.
- A book may have more than one copy, and library members must be able to checkout as well as reserve any copy.
- The system should be able to find book by a unique identification number that each book has. The other details that can be used to location a book, is the rack number.The LMS should be able to collect fines for books that were returned post due-date.
- LMS must be able to retrieve information such as, who took a specific book or what books have been checked-out by a particular library member.
- The LMS must have a maximum limit on a number of books that can be checked-out by a member.
- Library Members should be able to reserve the books that are not available currently.
- LMS must be able to send out the notifications to the members for the books reserved by them are available and also when a book has not been retuned during the due date.
How to use a Library Management App?
As of now, the LMS are trending in the arena of library management. These systems combine various activities of library into this one integrated system, and this way it enables library staff to execute all of their functions online. Its functionalities may consist of simple housekeeping activities, such as acquisition, inter-library loan activities, and cataloguing to the user services.
Basically, a Library Management System (LMS) consists of three main elements, i.e. software, hardware and users. It is a network is computers using a specific program that facilitates technical functions of library. Like, one of them is electronic cataloguing. LMS allow the library users to electronically trace required books sans having to go through the shelves. It further simplifies lending procedure by maintaining the records of lent items and information of borrowers. The system also supports the other administrative tasks like data processing and inventory.
Essential Features of a Library Management System:
Here the system consists of three main panels, they are:
Librarian: This one is responsible to add & modify books items, books & users. Librarian also issues, returns and reserves the book items.
Member: Here all of the members can search catalogue, and also checkout, renew, reserve & return books.
System: This panel is responsible to send out notifications in regard of overdue books, cancelled reservations, and a lot more.
Now the common features of an LMS, include:
Add/Edit/Remove Books: Here the books or book items can be added, removed or modified as per the requirements.
Search Catalogue: This is for searching the books by their author, title, publication date or subject.
Registration of new accounts & cancel memberships: This is for adding new members or cancel memberships of existing members.
Check-out Books: This feature comes useful for borrowing books from library.
Reserve Books: This feature comes useful for reserving the books that are currently unavailable.
Book Renewal: In order to re-borrow the checked-out books, this features is useful.
Return Books: This is for returning books, which were issues by the members, to library.
Library: This main system has attributes such as ‘Name’ for distinguishing them from the other libraries and an ‘Address’ that describes its location.
Book: It is this basic building block of LMS< where every books has Title, ISBN, Publishers, Subject, etc.
Book Items: The books may have many copies, and in the LMS, all of the copies would be considered a book item.
Account: Here are two account types, first is for general members and other for a librarian.
Library Card: Here each of the library user is issued a library card which is then used for identifying users as they issue of return the books.
Book Reservation: This feature manage the reservations made against a book item.
Book Lending: This functionality is responsible to manage checking-out of the book items.
Catalogue: Here the system supports searching via four catalogues: Author, Subject, Title, & Publishing date catalogues.
Fine: This feature is to calculate & collect fine from the library members in case of late submission of books or any loss of book items.
Author: This part of the app displays the book authors’ names.
Rack: Usually, the books are placed on the racks, so each of the rack is identified by a rack no. and it will be having a location identifier for describing the rack’s physical location in library.
Notification: Here, this class is responsible to send out notifications to the members.
Checking-out a book: This activity can be easily performed by any of the library members or a librarian. It involves a few steps for checking out books.
Return Books: This activity can be performed easily by any of the library member or the librarian. Here the system collects the fines from the members, in case the books are returned post due date.
Book Renewal: As the system re-news a book, it checks for fines and also looks if the same book has not been reserved by any other library members (as in that case the books can’t be re-newed).
Additional Features & Functionalities of a Library Management System:
Barcode Scanner: This functionality comes useful to scan the barcodes of each book, or a magazine.
Circulation Management: Library Circulation or Library lending consist of activities involving the library book lending. The Circulation Management functionality is clear and it provides all of the vital information at just the press of a key.
OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue): This functionality is for connecting & exchanging the information with LMS. It wonderfully connects with a network of libraries. Basically, an OPAC is an online database of all resources within the library. OPAC can be searched for locating books within the library, as it lists number of book items, which are in the library or checked-out ones, and their call numbers.
Reserve Shelf Management: This feature assist librarians to create reserve shelf to add upcoming books to it.
Self check-in/Check-out: Here this feature allow the library members to do the check-in and check-out of books on their own, by making an entry in the system.
Catalogue Management: This functionality is for manage the book catalogues.
Barcoding/RFIB: Integration of this functionality allow to scan the barcodes, thus allowing easy search.
Fee Collection: This functionality is responsible to collect the fee for the checked-out books from the library members.
Search Functionality: This feature allow for easy search for the book or book items by the librarian or library members.
Serials Management: This allows to manage the books by their serial numbers.
Payment gateway: Here the payment gateways are integrated to ease the online payment via Credit/Debit Cards, Braintree, PayPal& Stripe. This is also useful for pay the fine online.
CMS Integration: The Content management System allow to manage the app content.
Calculator: The Calculator API is integrated to automatically calculate the fine when books are submitted back post the due-date.
User-friendly interface: This allow the users to use the system easily and without any hassle.
Fast access to Database: This functionality saves the time with instant access and smooths the entire process of library management.
Quick transaction: With multiple payment gateway integration, users can make easy and instant payments sans any hassle.
Social Networking Integration: By integration the social media networks in the system, user engagement can be enhanced.
Multi-language: Integrating the multi-language feature makes the whole process easier as then users can interact with the system in any of the available languages they are comfortable with.
Planner & Schedule: This functionality allow to manage the processes of LMS pretty easily.
24×7 Online Access: The feature can be accessed pretty easily at any time of the day.
Book Claim/Reservations: The feature allows to manage the book reservations efficiently.
Review: By integrating a review system within the app, users can review the system and library managers can learn about the user experience.
Advantages of a Library Management System:
There are many advantages of a Library Management System and below we have mentioned a few of them:
- The LMS’ main aim is allowing people to easily access their library accounts, whether to check their desires books’ availability in the library or to re-issue a book item.
- The system allow users & library administrators to easily access the system via their smartphones as well, other than the computers.
- Users can suggest their desired books to the librarians, in case it is not presently available in the library.
- The traditional computers present in Library can be easily replaced with smart-devices like mobile phones and tablets as it saves the capital investment.
- The LMS allow for the low-cost easy implementation.
- The system doesn’t require any investment in regard of server, internet speed, or networking.
- It enables easy implementation, without any training needed.
- Enables easy and instant access to the members once they upload the library data in M-OPAC cloud.
- The system can be easily integrated to any type or library size. Like, it works best for the schools, colleges, universities, government, autonomous & private libraries.
- The entire of Library Management System is cloud-based, hence it doesn’t require any maintenance.
- The system is platform independent where it extracts data from the library system and prepare in the Excel and then regularly upload.
Which platforms the system works on?
A Library Management System (LMS) works amazingly on various platforms, be it iOS, Android as well as web. Thus, user of any platform category can use the system and access it easily.
Monetization Model of a Library Management System
There are three ways in which a Library Management System makes money, they are:
- Advertising: In this model, the app makes money by featuring advertisements in the system for the third-parties.
- Paid Listing: This revenue model is used by the Library administration for the LMS system for Paid Inclusion & Paid placement
Push Notifications: Twilio, Push.io
SMS, Voice, & Phone Verification: Nexmo, Twilio
Payments: Braintree & PayPal, Stripe, EWallets
GWT: For Powerful Programming
Datastax: For Data Management
Mandrill: For everything related to emails
Debian: Universal Operating System
Database: MongoDB, HBase, Cassandra, Postgress, Mail Chimp Integration
Cloud Environment: AWS
Cloud Storage: For this, cloud storage server like Google Cloud Storage, Azure & Amazon S3 can be used.
Real-time Analytics: Apache Flink, Spark Streaming, Azure Stream Analytics
Development Team Structure
To create a Library Management System for your library, you would require to hire a good library management app development company that with the help of its skilled and experienced team members will create a great library management system for your library. While hiring a firm for their app development services, you must ensure that its development team consists of great personnel and includes:
Project Manager: S/he is an expert professional who managed the entire development process of an app project.
Android/iOS Developers: They might consists of a set of Android and iOS developers (in case you are keen to develop the app for both the platforms).
UX/UI Designer: These are responsible for the look and feel of this library management system. A nicely-designed library management system enhance the user engagement and user interaction with the system.
Backend Developer: These are responsible for the development of backend system of the app.
Database Experts: The app’s database is managed by these experts.
QA Experts: To ensure the app is bug-free and works smoothly, one requires Quality Analysis experts who check the entire app for any bugs or errors, and only once they are fully satisfied with app’s performance, they allow its delivery to the clients.
Delivery Manager: This person is responsible for delivery of the app to the clients.
How much does it cost to create a Library Management System?
There are several factors that need to be considered to decide on the development cost of a Library Management System. They include:
App Size: The size of an app depends on a number of factors, such as the amount of features added to the app, how advanced features that you add, more devices the app is designed for, number of app platforms you choose to develop the app on, and also the third-party integrations. The more these will be, the more would be the cost of the app.
Development rates as per the regions: Mainly it is the mobile app size on which the mobile app development cost depends on as the app size define the time needed to develop an app, but the rate of developers is also a contributing factor. Like, the development rate per hour for US-Based, UK-Based, and Europe-Based developers are a lot higher when compared to the Indian-based app developers and development companies.
Once, all of the above mentioned factors are considered, we can say the actual cost of development will range between $25000-$35000, while if you choose to integrate advanced features or develop the app for more platforms, then the cost would automatically increase.