Library Management Information System

by Contributor

A library management information system can also be called a library management system (LMS) or integrated library system (ILS). It is a system that makes use of information technology (IT) to carry out managerial objectives. The main goal of a library management information system is to store, organize, share and retrieve vital information needed to carry out daily operational functions of the library.

Function

A library management system (LMS) involves three basic elements: hardware, software and the users. LMS is a network of computers that uses a certain program to facilitate technical functions of the library. One such function is electronic cataloguing. With LMS, library users can trace desired books electronically without going through shelves. LMS also facilitates the lending process by keeping records of items lent and borrowers' information. LMS supports other administrative tasks such as inventory and data processing.

Benefits

LMS makes everyday library tasks more efficient. This means more work can be done in less time. Consequently, this decreases operational costs. This also minimizes paperwork and manual tasks, thus allowing library personnel to concentrate on other things such as interaction with users. LMS also reinforces users' loyalty and satisfaction as it provides fast and reliable library services.

Disadvantages

Libraries may need to change their LMS every now and then to avoid lagging behind the technology. Although a library management system's end goals include cutting costs, setting up a new system initially requires a substantial amount of money and resources. Libraries not only pay for the software but may also spend for new computers, installations, hosting and maintenance. In addition, libraries must hire or train an IT support team to deal with computer network glitches. As LMS becomes more sophisticated and costly, there may be less need for traditional library staff, leading to a decrease in employment opportunities in the industry.

Characteristics

There are several LMS packages and suppliers in the market. An excellent LMS system should be simple, easy to use and not require in-depth IT knowledge to manipulate. The system should be easy to install and maintain. The new trend involves having a Web-based system where the software does not need to be installed on each computer but is accessed from a single host or source. This centralizes operation and passes the responsibility of maintenance to the suppliers.

Challenge

Today, libraries face the challenge of remaining relevant to the users. The concept of a library staying in one fixed space is slowly evolving. Because of technology, users can get information from alternative sources. Libraries need to be more competitive in terms of extending services. LMS can play an important role in overcoming this challenge. LMS may provide integrated information that can be a basis for evaluating what users want. It can also be a tool for implementing new ideas that will enhance the users' library experience.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera library books image by Daughterson from Fotolia.com