WHY WE NEED OF LIBRARY AUTOMATION?
Computerization of libraries and information centres have become essential for efficiently managing the acquisition of the increasing number of information resources (print and electronic), as well as the increasing number of users who are making a variety of demands for information. In essence, the capacity to store a large volume of information in a cost-effective manner coupled with accuracy and consistency in processing and efficiency in retrieval of desired information, have made the computer an essential tool for library and information management today. These are major reason, when we need library automation-
· Information explosion
· Availability of information in various formats (Print, non -Availability of information in various formats (Print, non-print, graphical, audioprint, graphical, audio--visualetc.)Visualetc.)
· Different approaches and needs of user
· Limitation of library (time, space & human power)Limitation of library(time, space & human power)
· Duplication in housekeeping operation
· To well management and retrieval of information
· To search national and international database
· Impact of communication technology
· Increasing numbers of users
· To improve the management of their physical and financial resources
· To facilitate wider dissemination of their information products and services.
· Enable their participation in resource--sharing library sharing library
· To improve the quality, speed and effectiveness of services
· To improve access the resources on other networks and systems, including the Web
· To obtain increased operational efficiencies.
Preparation: Needs Assessment
A needs assessment is the process of collecting data about an existing system (or systems) and then determining what we already have versus what we need. It is difficult to isolate library automation from the overall mission and goals of our library. Therefore, it is beneficial to review our library's goals to determine how automation can support them.
- As we consider library automation, keep the following questions in mind:
- How does automating our library help educate and inform the users?
- How does library automation fit into our overall technology plan?
- How does library automation fit into our technology budget?
What types of things do we need to assess?
- Demographic statistics
- Environmental constraints
- Collection Assessment
- Budget Assessment
- Equipment Assessment
- School population size
- library service area
- collection size
- circulation statistics
- Do we have up to date wiring in your building?
- Is our building large enough to accommodate additional computers?
- How are the phone lines in the area in which we live?
· Physically examine collection.
· What areas could use more titles?
· What items should be withdrawn?
This is a perfect time to begin that long overdue weeding project. Automation is an expensive process; the more titles we have to create records for the more pricey our project is going to be. Weed, weed, weed! We may want to refer to our collection development policy in determining items to weed. A couple of sample policies can give you a start in creating our own if the library doesn't have one. See http://www.dlapr.lib.az.us/text/cdt/colldev.htm for guidance on writing collection development policies.
Specific Data to Collect:
- Number and types of items in our collection:
- Adult and Children's
- Special collections
- Videos and audio
- Government documents
- Number of patrons
- Special categories of patrons (primary, junior, secondary & senior secondary etc.)
- The number of patrons in each category
- Number of new items we purchase each year
- Vendors we use for purchasing
- Can we purchase any library software
- Usage Statistics
- Number of patrons, number of staffs that use the library
- during average and peak hours (Once we automate, these numbers may change
Throughout the process of automation, budget concerns will always be an issue. Whether we are looking at different types of software or trying to figure out how to purchase new computers, our budget will affect the entire process of automation. Budget is not the only factor to consider in automating because there are creative ways to fund our automation project such as grants, but we definitely have to think about sustaining the costs.
Major Areas of Cost Consideration:
· System Purchase
· hardware, software--modules we choose to purchase. Purchase the automation system before the hardware. Hardware purchases can be based on the software we choose.
· Site Preparation--updating power supply, updating electrical wiring, cable for networking, furniture, remodelling that may need to be done, adequate HVAC system
· Telecommunications dedicate at least one standard (analog) phone line that the vendor can use to dial up to your system. Internet accessibility is become more common for vendor troubleshooting, but we may still need that extra phone line.
· Conversion Costs--This includes the costs of converting the catalogue and patron records. However, also consider the cost of staff time dedicated to the project. Bar-coding costs also fall into this category.
· Operating Costs--This category is often forgotten in automating a library. Typical costs in this category include on-going utility and telecommunications costs, software license renewals, software updates, system maintenance fees, and miscellaneous supplies.
For the successful implementation of an integrated library system all key factors must be in place: support from administration, staff competence, consideration of user requirements, presence of the infrastructure(hardware, software, network), available data, excellent managerial skill from the coordinator of the project