How to manage your school library:

Despite all of the advances in technology over the past years, nothing can really compare to children learning reading skills from a physical book. ​Studies have actually found that the tactile and visual proof of reading with paper can help children with their comprehension skills​.
That being said, while traditional forms of reading are still beneficial, the same cannot be said for the way that libraries have been managed in the past. Within the chaotic walls of a school it simply is not practical to keep library records with pen and paper anymore. Therefore library management systems (LMS) have become a school must-have.

So how do you get the most out of your library management system and what should you look for when getting one? We will briefly go through what you should know about how to better manage your library.

Cloud-Based System or Installed System?

One of the first things that a LMS company will usually mention in their product is whether they are a cloud/web based or a programme that is downloaded onto individual computers. In more recent years most systems have started to move away from individually installed systems. Although it may feel safer to have it just accessible in your school, it makes it more difficult to troubleshoot problems because there is no way of knowing what you may be seeing without physically booking appointments to have someone look at the issue. Cloud-based systems give the advantage of easy access to all users and the additional comfort of knowing that information is backed-up so that if a computer fails, you won’t lose all of your data.

Libresoft makes sure to use one of the safest, most secure data centres based in the UK and ensure that everything is fully GDPR compliant so that your data is protected.

What should your LMS do?

The purpose of your library management system should be to make life within a school library easier. Most systems will include a searchable catalogue of what is in your library at any given moment, with the ability to be able to track who has borrowed an item, and when it is due or overdue.

With a system keeping track of things, reports can be easily generated. Whether they be for OFSTED or for general interest to know, for example, what books are most popular amongst
students.

It is also not uncommon to have several mini libraries in individual classrooms throughout a school, and keeping track of hundreds or thousands of books scattered everywhere can seem daunting, but with some systems like Libresoft, you can create multiple locations within a school to track where books are being kept within a school.

Cost:

One of the biggest deterrents to schools using a LMS is the pricing of some systems on the market. There are some library management systems that are upwards of £2000 a year, depending on what different companies use to determine pricing. Some companies’ prices may depend on the size of the school, the number or resources, system add-ons, and system training costs.

It is uncommon for a system to be paid for all at once, and is much more likely to be a subscription paid yearly. Schools that are still on the handwritten library system have admitted to losing hundreds of pounds over several years due to the inability to keep track of all the books in the library.

Setting Up:

Depending on what your library management system looks like at the moment will likely affect how you are set up. The setup process for a school that has had a library for many years and has barcodes already in their system will need a different setup compared to the school who has a brand-new library with new books.

Another major part of setup will include getting the children’s names into the system so that they can all have an account to borrow books. This will likely be done using the school’s Management Information System (MIS) to transfer the relevant data across so that the person overlooking the library can know who has what book and what class they will be in.

How can we help?

Your job as a librarian may not be the same as the next, but overall everyone wants to provide children with the opportunity to expand their minds through reading. We at Libresoft strive to take away the stress of dealing with overly complicated systems so that the focus can remain on the children.

Your LMS should enable you to use your time more efficiently by providing the necessary tools at the ready. Not all schools can necessarily employ a full time librarian, and therefore the system should be accessible and user-friendly.

As a part of the way to keep costs down for schools we do not require any formal training to use the system and instead it has been designed as such to be intuitive to the users needs. And if there ever is something that you do not understand we will provide you with unparalleled customer support.
If you would like to hear more about Libresoft Librarian please be sure to visit our ​website​.

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