Library Management Software (LMS) provides an integrated and easy to use environment for efficient handling of all the functionalities provided by a library. It can be used by the librarians and other staff to keep track of books which are issued, books that are to be bought or acquisition, and so on. It can also be used by readers to keep track of new books entering the library and so on. Regulating and monitoring the fine collection are some of the other primary tasks of a Library Management System.
In today’s digital world, every kind of library needs a Library Management Software, irrespective of its size. Different LMS cater to the demands of various kinds of libraries, i.e.small scale LMS, cloud-based LMS are suitable for small-scale and large-scale libraries respectively.
Each item and user registered on the LMS has a unique ID, which enables the library staff to track all concerned activities, and thus regulate the functioning of the library. Libraries with a large database might incorporate advanced software which accommodates user data as well. Small libraries don’t need to do so, and can function at relatively lower expenses.
All these library management software contain well defined and entirely separate module packages for doing different generic tasks, that are common to all types of libraries. These generic tasks include adding a new element to the library, deleting an element from the library, editing an element’s properties, modifying patron data with parameters such as the number of books issued, due date, issue date etc.
Modern Library Management Software is also capable of automating everything, from sending due date alerts on SMS to creating a user profile to customize library surfing for the particular user. With the number of patrons increasing by the day for all kinds of libraries, the need to minimize human involvement in regular operations propagates, and thus the need for an extensively automated Library Management Software arises.
Library Management Software listed below have been developed for specific as well as general customer segments. Depending upon the platforms the library administration is comfortable with, and the library’s tailored requirements, a wise choice can be made easily based on the assessment that follows.
7 best open source library management software
Polaris Integrated Library System is a versatile and widely-used LMS. Its selling point is that it is scalable and thus suitable for a large variety of libraries. This application can be used even on mobiles and tablets, thus providing ease of usage to library staff as well as users. This software supports cloud storage, which means limited resource expenditure and even faster connection speeds. It also supports a Facebook Plugin,which enables users to search all library items on their facebook account itself. This LMS is customizable as well as highly powerful, and thus is a very widely chosen option
Koha is the world’s first free library automation package software. It is developed using the collaborative efforts of thousands of developers and professionals around the world. Koha includes separate modules for acquisition, circulation, serial management, flexible reporting, labelling, fine collection, offline circulation, and much more. This software is also available in a large amount of languages, and thus is used widely over the world. THis LMS uses enhanced catalogue display, and can also display results from websites such as Amazon and eBay. Koha does not face a vendor lock-in and thus the staff is free to install any libraries as and when required.
OpenBiblio is a easy to use open source Library Management Software. This LMS is fundamentally written using PHP, and thus is characterized by excellent performance and easy usability. It has separate modules for Open Public Access Catalog (OPAC), cataloging, circulation, and staff administration facility. This software is highly popular amongst small-scale and rural libraries due to its friendly and easy to understand interface, and easily readable documentation. It also includes separate modules for generating reports, which provide statistical data regarding the use of library items, and can automatically generate overdue letters and send it to the concerned patrons without any manual intervention. All in all, it is a powerful yet easy LMS, and can be adapted to very quickly.
PhpMyLibrary is a library automation software, which is primarily developed using the PHP and MySQL platforms. This software consists of certain well defined modules such as cataloging ( has functions for adding, deleting, editing and searching library elements), circulation, webpac module (through which any patron can search the library catalog remotely). This LMS works on both Linux and Microsoft operating systems.
Athenaeum Light is a very simple to use yet high performance library management software. It is targeted at school libraries, and small and medium sized businesses such as church groups and other similar organizations. Athenaeum has been in the market for pretty long, and thus in well developed and well documented. The latest version of Athenaeum Light (2014) enables the software to work with FileMaker Pro 12 (and above), and also pretty handy features such as QR Scanners, and open library automation.
Emilda is a widely-defined and well documented Integrated Library System that features a powerful package of automation modules. These modules are namely OPAC, circulation and administration functions. Emilda also exhibits Z39.50 capabilities and 100% MARC compatibility, which definitely puts this software in the wishlist when it comes to libraries with a large database or high speed requirements. MARC compatibility in Emilda is achieved using Zebra and MySQL. Emilda is basically developed on Perl and Python platforms, and uses MySQL for all database management operations, thus enabling quick access of data to and from the database.
FireFly is a completely public library automation software. It is built aiming at excellent performance and minimum complexity for the end users. It is built using several platforms such as Perl and Python. The generated database is stored in XML files. This LMS is specifically aimed at large-scale public libraries, and intends to provide them with a powerful yet free LMS solution.