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The Power of Library Management System

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A Library management system is a trusted mate for the captain of a magnificent library ship, it will keep track of books, organise, and sail through the check in/ check out process faster. This magical portal will help connect readers to the vast ocean of information. OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) serves as a secret doorway to a world of knowledge, accessible from anywhere.

I had the privilege to set up a new LMS. It was an exciting endeavour, OLIVER, developed by Follett Corporation. It is designed to help libraries efficiently manage their resources, automate various library operations, and provide enhanced services to library patrons.

Some key features of the Oliver Library System include:

  1. The system allows librarians to create and maintain a comprehensive catalogue of library materials.
  2. Oliver enables librarians to manage the circulation of library materials, including checkouts, returns and renewals.
  3. OPAC allows users to browse the catalogue, place holds, view their account information, and renew materials online.
  4. Oliver facilitates resource sharing among participating libraries, allowing patrons to access materials from other libraries within a consortium.
  5. The system generates various reports and statistics to help librarians assess the library’s performance, track circulation trends, and make data-driven decisions.
  6. The system includes administrative features for managing library operations, such as user management, budgeting, acquisitions, and inventory control.

Oliver Library System aims to streamline library operations, improve accessibility to resources, and enhance the overall library experience for both librarians and students.

Before setting up a new library management system, a few factors to be considered – 

  1. Evaluate your library requirements, factors such as the size of your collection, the number of patrons, and the types of resources.
  2. Explore different library management systems available in the market. Look for a system that aligns with your budget and library needs. Reach out to other libraries that use the system that you are interested in and gather feedback and recommendations.
  3. Once you have researched and evaluated different library systems, select the ones that best suit your requirements.
  4. Create an implementation plan outlining the steps and the timeline for setting up the new library system. Determine tasks such as data migration, system configuration, training and testing.

Our LMS journey was smooth, I must say. We designed a layout based on the criteria mentioned above, and my extensive experience with the LMS Oliver from my previous school gave me an advantage in dealing with both the known and unknown aspects. We started the discussion with the Softlink team in January and the overall process including getting the quote, technicalities, migration, the final transition happened in April.  

We first conducted a trial data migration, which helped us identify a few hiccups in the process. For instance, our previous system, Follett, automatically assigned barcode labels such as T24567. However, the new system was unable to recognize the letter ‘T’ when scanning the barcode. Since we discovered this issue during the trial migration, we had sufficient time to come up with a solution, we thought the only option was to change the whole collection with new barcode labels, we have approximately 30000 books in our library across both Lower school & Upper school. 

After a lot of trial & error I figured out the total number of digits for the T label is 7 

Which sparked the idea of changing the existing barcode with extra 0 

From the above example the barcode T24567 will be T0246567.  

Setting up a new library management system requires careful planning, attention to detail, and collaboration with staff members. A successful implementation will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the library’s operations.

By 

Hema

Assistant Librarian 

Harrow International School, Hong Kong 

 


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