Software to manage a library of books and other reading resources is called a library management system. It hosts various journals, storybooks, documentaries, dissertations, novels, fiction and non-fiction, biographies and autobiographies etc. It automates the traditional way of storing and transacting books right from issuing the books, returning books, collecting fine on overdue books, calculating and managing fine and balances, collecting due instalments from members, creating different reports for record-keeping and review purposes, as per client prerequisites.
What are the features of Library Management Software?
Library Management Systems can be created in form of singular applications, to handle just one library or to manage multiple libraries. These are generally used by the librarians to track the transactions like issuing a book, returning a book, adding new books or adding new borrowers etc.
Books and student maintenance modules can be added as subsidiary modules to the library management system. This comes in handy if any book goes missing or if there is a delay in returning the books.
The open-source library management system is compatible with bar code based management. The utilization of bar codes facilitates assigning a large number of reading resources. But this system is not completely dependent on bar codes. It comes with a built-in highlight of the age of bar code and the printing procedure.
Report module is a subsidiary to the library management system to generate a list of students (borrowers), several students registered with the system, a list of books in a particular category/subject, issue and return of books and likewise. This increases convenience and saves time. A library management system must have:
- Facility to print barcodes
- Web-based OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) system
- Should be scalable to Windows, Linux, MAC OS platforms
- It should contain a full catalogue, acquisitions system and circulation for library stock management
- LMS should have a simple and clear search interface for all users
- Software to manage libraries should have multilingual and multi-user support
- Free library software should be able to import and import records
- It should feature an interactive interface for easy entry of books
- Open-source library software should be used to record complete info of a book like a title, author, publisher name, ISBN etc.
- The administrator and borrower interfaces should function seamlessly for easy check-in and check-out
- Using subtle themes, pop-up, textboxes, multiline textboxes, dropdowns, selection buttons, checkboxes, buttons, thumbnails, book cover images, preview images, ISBN details, book preface – will make the library software user friendly
- This book management tool will help record all different categories
- Library management software also helps classify the books subject wise
- It further helps in easy maintenance of the database
- Open-source library management software should be customizable, scalable and cost-effective (if created for multiple platforms)
- Sign up/ Sign In
- Register New User
- Register New Book
- Search Book
- Issue Book
- Return Book
- Generate Report
Technology Stack for Library Software
What is the scope of the library management system?
The scope of the library management system will remain as such as it is the principal tool behind managing college, school, and university libraries. It comes with essential features like adding and updating members, adding and updating books, managing check-in specifications for the systems based on the client’s statement of need. Eg.: MicroLCS, Emilda, Evergreen, Firefly, GNUTeca, Avanti, OpenBiblio, phpMyLibrary, PMB, PYTHEAS, WEBLIS, Koha.
Knowing the basics of Library Management Software, here is a list of Best Open Source and Free Library Management Software in 2021:
Koha is a full-featured, one of the best-integrated library management systems available currently. It is being used by more than 300 libraries worldwide including academic, public, school and special libraries, in Africa, Australia, France, the USA, India, Canada and New Zealand.
Main Features of Koha
- It is cost-effective – Users need to pay the licensing fee or any additional vendor services. No initial commercial cost is required.
- Its code is open to be circulated.
- It makes use of standard industrial protocol and is library standards-compliant.
- It comes with full catalogue and stock management – it has Full MARC21 and UNIMARC support for professional cataloguing
- It works on a Relational database management system and uses SQL or MYSQL for the database.
- It has the facility to print barcodes and serial management module
- Records can be imported and exported.
It is an open-source software to manage and maintain libraries, help users find the right reading resources, catalogue, and circulate that material.
Main Features of Evergreen
- Evergreen library software makes it easy to circulate the resources
- Adding stock to the existing bookshelves
- Adding book categories
- Issuing books
- Managing return and fines
- Cataloging to add items to the library’s collection and input information
- Creating buckets for grouping and sharing related items and bibliographic records
- Record-merging preview
- Creating batches of volumes and copies
- Printing customized labels
- Creating unlimited notes for annotating items
- Creating an online public access catalogue (OPAC) or discovery interface for the patrons to find and request books, check their account information and save or bookmark the books they like/create a bookbag.
- This app can be integrated with the web browser, search engines and news aggregators through RSS feeds, unAPI, OpenSearch semantics, multiple XML and library formats for exporting data.
- It is based on an open scalable request framework which is a scalable, decentralized service architecture that allows developers to create apps even with minimum knowledge.
- It comes with SIP 2.0 support for interaction with computer management software and self-check machines etc.
This library software is used for professional cataloguing, archiving and managing all the book related transactions.
Main Features of BiblioteQ
- This library software comes with Alpha architecture support
- It comes with display customization, a lot of self-explanatory documentation, customized item data, currency and pricing information, ARM architecture support
- It comes with embedded hyperlinks for localized searches of similar items.
- It allows exporting views to CSV files.
- It is free and open-source and can work well on FreeBSD, Linux, Mac, OS/2, OpenBSD, Windows, etc.
- It has Qt 5.x support, print support, PowerPC support, rich search capabilities, Row-level security policies for PostgreSQL, Sparc64 support, Support for multiple SRU and Z39.50 sites.
- It supports requesting unavailable items, has threaded data retrieval via the standard Z39.50 protocol for books, journals, and magazines.
- It can parse MARC tags. It features listings of overdue items, requested items, and reserved items. It makes use of MARC21 and UNIMARC record syntaxes.
- It comes with a PDF reader
Opals is an open-source automated library system that is easy to implement, easy to use and very cost-effective.
Main Features of Opals
- Online Public Access Catalog
- Equipment and Asset Mgmt.
- Textbook Management
- Union Catalog/Ill
- eBook Management
- Reports and Utilities
- Streaming Video
- Subscription DB Management
- Digital Archive Management
- It offers free trials
- It is deployable on Web, Cloud, SaaS
- Fee collection
- Serials Management
- Circulation Management
- Inventory Management
- Reserve Shelf Management
- Self Check-in/Check-out
OpenBiblio is an easy to use automated library management system integrated with Open Public Access Catalogue, written in PHP, cataloguing, circulation and staff administration functionality.
Main Features of OpenBiblio
- Cataloguing: It helps creating, modifying, or deleting bibliographic records, including uploading of MARC and MARCXML records.
- It has OPAC that helps in locating books easily.
- Fetching reports is easy
- Configuring and management of the system including library, staff, material, website settings and fines are very easy with this tool.
It is an integrated library system/services platform that is solely devoted to public libraries. It features Gabbie, 2-way texting and reserve express for subscribing to favourite authors. This library management system connects customers to public libraries.
Main Features of Apollo ILS/LSP
- Great ILS for small libraries
- It is easy to use
Invenio is a free and open-source software to manage digital libraries or document repository on the web. It is used for data acquisition, indexing, classification, storage, release, distribution and makes use of Apache/WSGI, MySQL and Python. This software is aimed at creating open access for middle-to-large scale (millions of records) of repositories for scholarly documents and published digital content.
Main Features of Invenio
- Invenio fulfils ILS standard (for debt management, statistics etc.) and enables users to self-archive
- It facilitates the users to make use of metadata ensuring standard metadata format (MARC)
- It comes in various export formats: HTML, MARC, XML, OAI and enables customization of user interface with user-defined document baskets and automated email notification alerts, assist in personalization.
- It organizes documents in form of collection trees.
- It comes with navigation for hierarchical collections, virtual collection trees, and customizable portal boxes for each collection.
- It comes with repositories that have powerful and fast internal search engine with specially designed indexes.
- It comes with a simple to advanced search interfaces that are combined with metadata, full text and citation search with clustering by collection.
It is a complete library management system that provides an automated solution that is helpful for information providers, information managers, resource managers, resource in charge of managing and disseminating available information in form of print and non-print material – books, e-journal, article, dissertation, thesis, newspaper, maps, charts, project reports etc.
Main Features of Librarian
- It is based on .NET 2.0 Framework
- User-configurable webOPAC
- This library software is RFID Ready (NCIP 2.0 HTTP Server Available)
- Visual Statistical Representation using Charts/Graphs
- Z39.50 Import enables Libraries to search and Import records from various Z39.50 Libraries
- It implements the MARC21 Import / Export
- It schedules routine tasks like emails, Maintenance of database
- The latest version of LIBRARIAN® XI comes with a Tape Library Module enabling Broadcasters managing record of their CDs, TAPES, DVDs etc. along with content information and preview snippets
- Digital References for Books & Other Items including (PDFs, URLs, PPTs, XLSs, DOCs etc)
- Extensive webOPAC for online search of information
- It comes with Unicode (Multilingual) support, Multi-Users Environment and Multi-Location Web Interface with access to free e-journals and e-books through the software, Multimedia Resource Management (Embedded), Barcode Printer Friendly, MS Office® 2007 Compatible, faster & optimized webOPAC
This software is designed for medium to large-sized libraries and can also manage a network of libraries. It makes use of the UNIMARC cataloguing format.
Main Features of PMB
- It enables management of authority data (by author, publisher or by collection)
- It manages a dictionary of various subject
- It makes use of the Z39. 50 protocol
- This library software automates the DSI
- It controls serial publications
- It manages journal summaries and storage
It is an interactive solution that enables librarians and staff in tracking their inventory and media assets. It features OPAC, cataloguing, circulation inventory, reports.
Main Features of Destiny Library Manager
- One discovery interface
- Collections by Destiny
- Convenient access through any web browser
- Search your library resources through Google with easy-to-use Destiny Discover Chrome Extension
- Easy-to-use circulation, cataloging, inventory, and reporting capabilities
- Integrated data sharing
It is one of the best Integrated Library System with both Enterprises and Open Source Editions.
Main Features of NewGenLib
- It supports Android Mobiles and Tablets
- It supports many standards related to library and information science
- It supports Unicode 4.0
- The interface is designed in a way that even naive users can use it.
- It makes use of the latest and most reliable technologies.
It is one of the best library management software by CodeAchi. It makes issues and returns, cataloguing and circulations very easy.
Main Features of CodeAchi
- It is easy to use library software
- It makes managing books easier with digital cataloguing
- It makes it easy to generate reports, calculate fines, import your data (books, borrower etc.) using excel or .CSV quickly
- This software can be integrated with any barcode scanner and issue and return books quicker than ever
- It is a standalone software for library management
- It comes with 24*7 customer support, lifetime serial key, no hidden charges, trusted globally by renowned universities.
- It can be downloaded and installed in any Windows System and has a free trial for 30 days.
We hope this helps. That was just an illustrative list of the best library management software available in 2020. We have skipped the database management part, but are eager to discuss it in case you share your library management software development query with us. Or if you want us to add something to this list, contact us!