20 Best Library Management Software in 2022

20 Best Library Management Software in 2022
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

The education sector has been undergoing tumultuous changes in recent years in terms of technology adoption. The COVID-19 pandemic can take credit for much of it, to confirm the adage about necessity and invention, though much of the technology involved has been around for some time.

In the area of library management—that specialized function offered by the best reference management software solutions—venerable institutions are addressing the needs for remote access, improved security measures, and financial and user behavior analysis integration (Mageto, 2021). This is, of course, on top of improving the management of library transactions such as lending and reservations.

Many libraries—from public to corporate—have migrated to ready-made, tested-and-proven platforms for their operations. These platforms allow for advanced library management features like discovery, along with extended capabilities through integrations, providing users with many areas for customization.

In this article, we will list the best library management software tools that institutions should consider using. We include their main features and what makes them unique and how much they will cost users. You will also find payment options for the base software and its support costs.

Library management software solutions have evolved throughout the years. This is not only because of the need for software innovation but also due to the general change in consumer behavior. Our on-demand culture has affected how library management software systems should be deployed. In fact, the recent upward trend of adoption is primarily driven by demands for online subscriptions and SMS alerts (Adroit Market Research, 2021). To keep up with these demands, librarians need more from their platforms. They need to have automation capabilities that can take over more menial tasks such as calculating fines and sending out overdue notices.

To address this, educational institutions and other organizations with library facilities typically commission their custom platforms. This may provide them with solutions tailored to their needs, but sourcing the job to non-specialists—whether in-house or outside talents—entail tremendous costs down the road. Several potential pitfalls include having no access to updates, not getting dedicated support at the right time, and being stuck with a rigid maladaptive platform. Also, as Kishore (2021) noted, the cost of development alone can range from $25,000 to $30,000. This remains a conservative estimate as integration with other platforms will cost extra.

cost of developing a library management software

Many organizations have already realized this strategy to be unsustainable in the long run. This is why many of them have migrated to ready-made products that offer high levels of customizability. In the age of SaaS, we are fortunate to have many quality products of this sort. There are, however, quintessential features that a good library management software solution should have in relation to key performance areas.

Key Library Management Statistics

Library management software has been around for many decades. Since originally deployed as on-premise discovery or search tools, their uses have expanded. Modern electronic library system (ELS) now help organizations manage important tasks such as “appointments, lending, reserving, returning, processing payments, storage of book records, provide information, and processing invoices for orders.” (Mageto, 2021) They, too, have expanded to offer on-demand access to print and electronic materials. Some platforms integrate with learning management systems to round out the provision of personalized learning pathways to students. Now, libraries provide patrons a wide variety of services. Some of which can be considered quite out of bounds of traditional library management practices.

In short, library management today is quite complex. Given this, librarians need to keep track of the complexity in order to make data-driven decisions to optimize their operations and better serve their patrons. But, to do this, they need to have access to key library management statistics in real-time. However, without the right tools,  librarians will not be able to deal with the current toughest barriers to data analysis properly. These are lack of time (61%), lack of expertise (54%), and the lack of personnel (52%).

Source: EBSCO, 2021

It is fortunate that these can altogether be circumvented by having a digital reporting tool inside your library management software. Marshall Breeding (2002), a long-time authority on library management systems and advocate for data-driven practices,  has long implored library professionals to require their electronic library systems to measure key library management statistics to help them make fact-based decisions in real-time. According to Breeding, the ideal reporting module should be able to document shifting usage patterns, measure remote use, and measure access to electronic materials.

Important Library System Usage Statistics to Measure

One very important library system usage statistic to be measured is search data. This provides an institution with the chance to cater to the actual educational and research needs of its stakeholders. Breeding (2002) added that other typical information that should be monitored include the number of web visits, searches attempted, counts of searches by fields specified, search items entered, number of searches with no results, number of searches with unmanageable results (return huge numbers),, and transaction or user behavior on the system. Other specific metrics are (Breeding, 2002):

Online catalog statistics. This metric measures the total amount of searching done within the system to find items.

Searches by category. This metric helps institutions understand how end-users approach their catalogs. Search metrics will help identify whether improvements are needed for cataloging practices and on the search interface.

Online catalog searches. Librarians usually separate in-library and remote searching activities.

Items checked out. With this, librarians could compare desk requests against requests made through book delivery services. This metric measures how users obtain books and other materials such as videos and journals. This helps librarians find ways to provide end-users with materials without requiring physical visits.

Books checked out vs. ebooks read. This allows librarians to determine the level of demand for which type of media (physical vs. electronic) and react proactively to user behavior.

Items renewed. While most libraries require physical checkout, librarians may want to offer the ability to renew items using web-based portals.

Holds placed. This allows librarians to measure the popularity of books and also lets them decide whether holds can be done using remote access.

Payment for fines and fees. This measures the degree to which libraries can conduct financial transactions in-person and electronically.

Interlibrary loan requests. This measures the volume and the specific items available for interlibrary loan requests. In this way, librarians will know whether to provide these resources in-house or continue to do so via interlibrary loans.

ILS collection report. Comparative statistics can help librarians decide on how they can best serve the public and optimize internal management.

Acquisitions reports. Many platforms allow for resource acquisition. This metric enables librarians to monitor in-demand items, the type of media, and expenditures.

As touched on by the above metrics, library management software solutions now have to cater to both print and electronic resources lending needs. Hence, it is good to survey which ones have great features for managing both types of resources in an integrated manner. As you can see from the figures below, the collective effectiveness of platforms in this regard seems to be lacking, especially with electronic resources management. Thus, finding the right fit can be quite difficult.

Breeding, 2020

Why Library Management Software Is Important

As previously pointed out, library management today is a far cry from its early iterations. As noted by Ogunsola (2011), a “great metamorphosis” was witnessed among libraries both “in their collection development and in their service structure.”  Libraries have expanded their roles from being mere repositories of resource materials to active partners in learning and discovery. This is not only to cater to the popular on-demand culture but also to reflect the efforts of librarians “to be more” for their respective communities.

With that, many enjoy a degree of determination when it comes to digital spending. In fact, 80.3% of city libraries have full or some control over their technology expenditures, with around 45% having full control. These efforts are evident in the novel services offered by public libraries in the United States just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable services include (Public Library Association, 2020):

  • 20% of public libraries provide access to 3D printers
  • More than 88% offer a type of formal or informal digital literacy programming
  • A good 36.7% have a dedicated staff for digital literacy, technology programs, and training
  • Only 32.6% offer internet hotspots for check out

U.S. libraries with control over technology expenditures

Thus, in order to satisfy these new demands and goals, librarians need better tools to be greater than they already are. Meeting these needs, many times, require the help of powerful digital tools to help free librarians of their precious time so they can concentrate on mission-critical aspects of the service provision and strategic management. These digital tools can help manage menial processes, store and analyze key data, automate tasks, generate reports, and perform other clerical and critical functions using less manpower and time. This is basically why a good library management software solution is important. But, if we look at historical performance data, having a good software platform may not be enough.

This is because new needs, wants, preferences, knowledge, technology, and culture emerge. A good software solution now can be not-so-good anymore when these changes happen. In Breeding’s (2020) survey, successful products around 15 years ago have been consistently losing favor among their users. It was found that today, a good percentage of users of established platforms—Voyager (82.4%), Millennium (82.1%), and ALEPH (78.3%)—want to switch to other products. Back in 2007, the numbers are not so concerning with only 6.4% for Millennium, 9.% for ALEPH, and 21.6% for Voyager. This shows that software providers can fall into a rut, bringing the quality of their software down.

Source: Breeding, 2020

Thus, it is not only best to find a good software product that fits your current needs. But, it is also crucial to choose a good software provider with a good working ethos that is also future-forward. In this way, you can rest assured that your digital architecture evolves with your vision and with the preferences of your patrons. Fortunately, there are software providers that continuously improve over time on this front. Software providers such as Horizon, Symphony, and WorldShare Management Services have managed to decrease the share of users that want to switch by -10%, -2%, and -4.1% in 2019 from the previous year. Also, these platforms have witnessed their satisfaction scores increasing every year as well. There are many library management software products like them that we have included on our list.

With these, you should also consider these general aspects when choosing the best library management software .

General Considerations for Choosing a Software

These mentioned, of course, are software-specific features. Generally, however, there are key aspects that you need to consider when looking for any type of software. These include:

Features Fit. Libraries typically offer the same kind of services. However, not all libraries are run the same. They have different publics and different usage shares. Hence, for some, certain software features will be more important than others. For others, they can really do away with such features. So, if you are shopping for a platform, choose the one with the right amount of features that fits your needs. As a rule of thumb, excess always costs more.

Ease-of-Use. What good is a software solution when it is very unwieldy? Well, just a little. But that is not enough. Library management today is held to a high standard, especially because of the hybrid ways of interaction (i.e, in-facility and online). To achieve optimum results in managing these two dimensions, users are better off with a platform that is not only easy to use but also enjoyable to use. This is because having a hybrid operation is more record-keeping-heavy.

Deployment. Library management platforms started out as on-premise solutions. Today, however, electronic library systems can come as web-based software tools. There are others that have a hybrid deployment that combines an on-premise platform with a cloud-based portal. Moreover, there are also web-based platforms that have offline functionality. Which type to use is a big consideration when choosing any type of software.

Integrations. Organizations today are right to look for software products that can integrate with each other. This is to provide management with 360-degree visibility, complete with drill-down capabilities. In this way, they will be able to base their decisions on real-time data. Also, this enables them to make adjustments pretty quickly. So, when choosing an ELS, it is best that it has the ability to work seamlessly with your organization’s ERP software or its classroom management solution.

Mobile-Ready. As most people access digital information via their mobile devices, it is best that your front-facing portals are optimized for mobile. You may also choose solutions or additional ones that can help you translate your on-premise search experience into a great mobile experience. There are, of course, software providers that are starting to offer mobile-based online public access catalogs such as MasterSoft. However, to implement such requires another subscription. Plus, it is best to have it integrated with your ELS.

Support. It is important for end-users to receive ample support from software providers. This is especially so in setting up or updating the system. It is also best to choose a software provider that is proactive when it comes to improving features, capabilities, and ease of use. With this, your platform can adapt to software market trends and, of course, to your evolving operational needs. As you can notice from the chart below, it might be possible that not-so-stellar functionality can be made up for by great customer support. Conversely, bad customer support may just undo how great a product is in the mind of users.

Source: Breeding, 2020

Special Library Management Software Consideration: From Discovery to Discoverability

Currently, library management software solutions are about to cross a threshold from mere discovery to discoverability. Hence, library managers should take it as a matter of course to invest in platforms that can make their offerings available on web search. This way, they can increase their libraries’ visibility and widen the reach of their services.

Traditionally, library tools and services only allow patrons to search for available resources within their collections. This, as librarians may call it, is discovery. On the other hand, discoverability, as contrasted to discovery, is a set of “services or methodologies that enabled library materials to be found though [sic] general web search engines without having to make use of library-provided discovery tools (Breeding, 2022).” This varies on different search platforms. Google, the most popular one, implements this using the BorrowAction section.

This section is found just under the Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side of your screen when you search for a book.  Using a user’s IP address and GPS data, it connects them with a local library to directly borrow or request the book. This is a relatively new feature that is different from the ReadAction section that leads users to a local or online bookstore for purchase.

VendorDiscoveryDiscoverability
EBSCOEBSCO Discovery ServiceEBSCO Discovery Service
SirsiDynixEnterpriseBLUEcloud Visibility+
OverDriveLibby, Sora
OverDrive-hosted library-branded digital collections
Delivery of JSON feeds to Google Search
OCLCWorldCat Discovery ; FirstSearchWorldCat library web visibility program
BiblioCommons BiblioCoreOrganic link exposure
Koios Services based on Google Ad Grants
Innovative Vega Discover, Encore
Open source VuFind, Blacklight, Aspen Discovery, Pika
Source: Breeding, 2022

This feature, of course, is most useful to public libraries. We expect that more and more of them will make use of this service. This service, however, can be intractable when done manually and by library staff themselves (see the Google instructions for yourself). But through integrations with key services provided by library management systems, public libraries can enhance their discoverability on search engines. With this, libraries can make their way to the forefront again. With new insights, here is the list of the best library management system you can find in the market today.

List of 20 Best Library Management Software

1. CodeAchi Library Management System: A Go-To System for Public, Academic, and School Libraries

CodeAchi Library Management System dashboard

CodeAchi Library Management System (LMS) is one of the most sought-after platforms on the market today. It is known for packing its comprehensive features in an easy-to-use highly-visual interface. Because of this, it is popular among public libraries, schools, colleges, and universities around the world. Key features range from an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) to an automatic reports generator.

Aside from this, the software provider is also known to provide stellar customer service. Also, it is prized for its automatic fine calculation module with automatic SMS borrower notifications through emails and SMS. Also, the software has a 30-day free trial version for users to try out the features and interface for themselves. Lastly, it has multisystem support. Hence, users can connect it with other library management tools and databases.

Key Features

  • Provides easy-to-use cataloging features with relevant fields and tags
  • Customize categories, tags, and other data saved for library materials
  • CodeAchi LMS offers a powerful search engine for librarians and users using categories and tags.
  • The platform helps streamline issue and return processes for books and other materials.
  • Has a barcode scanner feature for easy issue and returns process
  • Allows for quick importing of data using CSV or excel sheets
  • Provides an automatic fines calculator and automated borrower SMS and notifications
  • It provides acquisition, check-in, and issue books features for procurement management.
  • The platform provides a 360-degree view of circulations and the status of its inventory.

Pricing

  • $199 – $1,999 for one-time setup
  • Annual renewal fees range from $49 – $149 depending on the type of license

2. Libero: A Platform for Every Library Type

Libero Library Management System dashboard

Libero is a popular cloud-based library management system solution known for being highly customizable. It can be deployed tailored to a wide range of library operation types, including public libraries, academic libraries, and corporate libraries. It also has a version for special library management settings, including those for museums, galleries, and cultural heritage libraries. The product also has a mobile version called Libero GO that serves not only as a mobile portal but can also be used as a barcode scanner and manager.

As one of the best tools available, Libero is also touted for its excellent customer support. Moreover, the software provider is very proactive in making improvements. And, thanks to its cloud-based deployment, users get to access new technology and updates immediately when they are available.

Key Features

  • A library services platform (LSP) fully accessible from a web browser
  • Provides features and deployment tailored to academic, public, corporate, and special libraries
  • Management features are accessible via the native mobile application.
  • Libero GO, the mobile application, can be used for barcode management and scanning.
  • Provides notifications for task completions
  • Connects with other third-party solutions through its API
  • Offers users advanced reporting tools for custom reports
  • Users get immediate access to software upgrades.
  • The easy-to-use highly-visual end-user interface provides high out-of-the-box usability.

Pricing

  • Libero is deployed customized to your needs, thus it is available via custom quotes. Also, a free trial is available, so you can try the platform firsthand.

3. Alexandria: The Highly-Customizable ILS

Alexandria dashboard

Alexandria is a cloud-based integrated library system (ILS) known for providing librarians with the ability to customize library experiences. This is thanks to its interface creation tool that allows users to add custom fields, buttons, icons, and images. Hence, users can configure the library experience to be engaging for patrons of all ages and reading levels. The platform also connects users with eBook providers and offers free resources like monthly themed posters.

Key Features

  • The platform is device agnostic. So, librarians and patrons can access it via any device.
  • Provides users with customization tools to build library experiences designed for patrons of all ages and reading levels
  • Offers a powerful search function with customizable filters and categories
  • Allows for distributed catalogs to be managed from one interface
  • Has a maps feature that pinpoints the location of any material searched for in the system
  • Alexandria has a community Bulletin Board feature for promoting events.
  • End-users can create their own virtual spaces for storing resources, creating events, and reading lists.
  • Has a slideshow feature for promoting resources such as seasonal reading, new releases, and school materials
  • Has a user-friendly circulation interface for handling all transactions
  • Provides a custom reporting module that users can generate whenever they need to
  • Has options for additional hardware like scanners, printers, and labels to integrate with the software

Pricing

  • The platform is deployed customized to clients’ needs. Hence, it is only available via quote-based plans. There is a free demo available so prospective users can try out the software themselves.

4. WorldShare Management Services: A Solution for Cooperative Deployment

OCLC Worldshare Management System dashboard

WorldShare Management Services (WMS) is a unique cloud-based library management platform that leverages cooperation between clients and the software provider to create a system that fits their needs perfectly. WMS lets subscribers define their own success such as design and KPIs, then provides them with tailor-made solutions. The company is also known for allowing clients to train in their custom system in a sandbox environment before going live.

Key Features

  • WMS creates a system designed to meet a client’s specific needs.
  • The company continually cooperates with libraries to optimize and adapt their platform as they go.
  • Provides a powerful search function with custom tags
  • It provides access to a vast global interlibrary network.
  • WMS has built-in custom reports to help generate data-driven actionable insights.
  • Provides a sandbox carbon copy environment for training before live deployment
  • The platform is accessible via mobile application, Digby, for library management and inventory control.
  • WMS integrates with other third-party applications.
  • Known for providing excellent support and training

Pricing

  • WMS has custom pricing.

5. Infiniti Management Software: Custom Library Management Platform for Schools

Infiniti Integrated Library Management System dashboard

Inifiniti Library Software is a customizable library management software solution primarily designed for school use. As such, it is fitted with features for developing the love for reading and core independent learning skills. When paired with the LibPaths portal hub, teachers and librarians can create curated content for both parents and students to promote library materials and personalized learning. Also, it makes library resources available to users wherever they are—at home, in the library, and even on the go.

The cloud-based platform also helps librarians with manual tedious tasks through automation. These include sending automatic notifications for overdue items.

Key Features

  • Provides users with intuitive library search capabilities
  • It offers tools for custom cataloging and efficient circulation management.
  • The platform can be set up to automatically send email notifications for overdue materials.
  • It allows for custom detailed reporting of KPIs.
  • Offers full customizability, from workflows to branding
  • The solution is fitted with AWS data encryption.
  • Automatically backups data everyday
  • Infiniti Management Software team performs all migration procedures for easy switching.
  • Integrates with LibPaths, a cloud-native virtual learning hub

Pricing

  • The platform is deployed tailor-made to a library’s needs. Hence, it is available via custom quotes.

6. Evergreen ILS: Highly-Scalable Open Source Library Management Solution

Evergreen ILS dashboard

Evergreen ILS is a unique open-source library management solution with an active development community. It is maintained by passionate volunteers and is used by more than 2,000 libraries across the globe. The platform has an on-premise client that allows web connection to a vast network of users, allowing for the sharing of resources among the group.

Key Features

  • Provides intuitive public catalog interface
  • Offers back-end support for circulation
  • The platform offers features for acquisition and resource sharing.
  • It is open-source and is managed by a passionate community of developers and end-users.
  • Evergreen ILS provides a metadata search engine.
  • It is a transaction processing engine for library workflows.

Pricing

  • Free

7. Mandarin M5: Customizable Library Automation Software with Multilanguage Search

Mandarin M5 dashboard

Mandarin M5 is a customizable web library management software accessible through any device. It is known for providing users with features to configure it according to their needs and preferences. Also, the platform supports Unicode. Hence, it allows patrons and librarians to search for any material using any language, including Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew, among many others.

Key Features

  • Simple and advanced cataloging editors
  • Allows for listing and printing of records
  • Enables transactions, including loans, returns, renewals, reservations, and booking
  • View patron and item status
  • Displays patron and item images
  • Automates fine processing and refunds
  • Automatically sends email notifications for overdue materials and fines
  • Conducts partial and full inventory
  • Generates custom reports with PDF and automatically sends them to relevant email addresses
  • Its Report Tool includes over 900 reports and free custom reports.

Pricing

  • The platform has custom pricing as it is configured to a particular library’s specifications.

8. Libib: Easy Cloud Cataloging for Mixed Media Collections

Libib dashboard

Libib is an intuitive cloud cataloging platform with a highly-visual interface. It allows users to create up to 100 mixed media collections, including books, music, movies, and games. The platform is customizable enough to be used by different library types. It is also popular among corporate users such as Disney and EA games.

Key Features

  • Mixed media collections with up to 100 categories
  • Allows for easy search, thanks to automatic metadata
  • Enables tagging, grouping, and basic editing
  • Provides a kiosk application for self-checkout
  • The kiosk application has a built-in camera scanner.
  • Provides native mobile applications for Android and iOS
  • Auto-generated custom barcodes
  • Custom branding
  • Exportable CSV reports
  • Allows for online reviews

Pricing

  • The basic plan for managing personal collections is free.
  • Libib Pro costs $9 per month or $99 per year.
  • An additional library manager costs $2 per month or $24 per year.

9. Atriuum: Powerful Web-Based Library System with Mobile Applications

Atriuum dashboard

Atriuum is a customizable web-based library system for libraries of all sorts. It has deployments for public/academic, schools, and church/special libraries. The platform provides multiple mobile apps for both patrons and librarians. For library management, these include an Asset Inventory Manager, Mobile Asset Tracker, Book Systems Pay, and the Atriuum Mobile Interface. For patrons, the platform has Librista for search and Librista Checkit for library transactions.

Key Features

  • Being web-based, patrons and library staff can access the system via the web or any device
  • Quick cataloging with built-in Z39.50 client that connects to other users such as the Library of Congress
  • Flexible OPAC templates with more than 100 themes to choose from
  • Supports offline circulation
  • Has Student Information System (SIS) integration
  • Seamless eBook and audiobook integrations
  • Custom reporting features
  • It provides a back-end mobile inventory management application.
  • Atriuum has a mobile asset tracking application.
  • The system has a native mobile application for managing electronic payments.
  • The platform has front-facing applications for search and transactions.

Pricing

  • Atriuum is available via custom quotes.

10. KnowAll Matrix: Browser-Based Fully-Maintained Library System with Free Upgrades

KnowAll Matrix dashboard

KnowAll Matrix is a completely browser-based integrated library management system that is fully maintained for clients, providing them with free upgrades as they become available. The platform also has an AutoCat feature that adds catalogs quickly by automatically downloading bibliographic data, including images from resources such as Google Books, COPAC libraries, and other specialist resources.

The product also features a familiar Google-type search feature with simple and advanced search together with filters and ranking.

Key Features

  • AutoCat function for automatic addition of materials to the catalog
  • Supports different formats, from print and digital resources to government publications and law reports
  • Provides a highly customizable discovery interface with a Google-type search experience
  • Personalizes user experiences in their accounts through saved searches, and alerts; also allows for personal reviews
  • Has nightly data back-ups
  • Applies upgrades and updates whenever they are available for free
  • Flexible enough to be deployed for NHS and healthcare libraries, and also for law libraries

Pricing

  • The platform is available via custom quotes. Clients only pay for the modules they use.

11. Apollo ILS: The Public Library Specialist

Apollo ILS dashboard

Apollo ILS by Biblionix is designed especially for public libraries from the ground up by practicing librarians. As it is widely used in both the United States and Canada, the platform automatically connects clients with state catalogs and ILL systems and maintains these connections at no extra charge. It has a comprehensive set of features, from collection management to online payments.

Key Features

  • Streamlines circulation management
  • Email, text, and phone notifications
  • Communal catalogs and virtual consortium capabilities
  • Auto-notifications for reservations and overdue materials
  • Self-checkout capability
  • Acquisitions support
  • Delete items without losing information on items; also has batch weed/delete capabilities
  • Includes the Gabbie two-way texting tool and gives patrons access to their librarians using a “Ask a Librarian” link
  • The Gabbie two-way texting tool has auto-commands like “renew-due.”
  • The Gabbie two-way texting tool provides librarians with an SMS phone number that patrons can add as a contact.
  • Integrates most e-items automatically to client catalogs

Pricing

  • Apollo ILS is available via custom annual subscription plans with unlimited users and an unlimited number of devices using the platform. Base subscription does not include these four features: Gabbie, Syndetics Unbound, Acquisitions, and Auto-Calling.

12. Evolve Integrated Library Software: Flexible ILS for Any Library

Evolve Library dashboard

Evolve Integrated Library Software (ILS) is a flexible platform that can easily fit any library environment, from public libraries to managing private collections. The platform is web-based and comes with automated reports. It also has automated cataloging capabilities using MARC Imports and the Z39.50 client. The product is intuitive to use and works with a mobile application to improve the patron experience.

Key Features

  • As it is web-based, users can access it via any device.
  • Has automatic SMS and email notifications for patrons and librarians
  • Familiar Google-like search
  • Customizable search interface and functionalities
  • Integrates with third-party software solutions
  • Quick and accurate cataloging using the Z39.50 client and MARC Imports
  • Streamlines bookdrop check-in

Pricing

  • Evolve ILS is available via custom pricing. Contact vendor for more information.

13. SydneyEnterprise: ILS Platforms for Special Libraries

SydneyEnterprise dashboard

SydneyEnterprise is an end-to-end archiving and library management solution for special libraries. The software is designed especially for large, multinational, and multibranch operations. It is built to be flexible and customizable, from features to its look and feel. It provides users with easy reporting tools that can automatically be generated any time they are needed.

Key Features

  • Multi-format collection management
  • View Designer for custom interfaces
  • KM Builder for customized knowledge management
  • Advanced search and discovery using filters, tags, and advanced search options
  • Mobile-ready interface
  • Quick custom reporting
  • Request management
  • Provides users with an analytics dashboard
  • Customizable workflows

Pricing

  • These platforms are made available via custom pricing plans.

14. ResourceMate: Flexible Library Management for All Industries

ResourceMate dashboard

ResourceMate is a robust customizable library resource management and automation solution for all industries. It is not only widely used among public libraries, school libraries, and museums but it is also being utilized by churches, non-profits, civic organizations, and corporate entities. As such, the platform is available via tiered product plans.

Key Features

  • Streamlines cataloging of materials of different formats, including electronic resources
  • Customizable search interface and functions
  • Provides automated reports that can be emailed
  • Patron management features include personalization and fine/overdue management.
  • Powerful OPAC with phonetic and fuzzy search capability
  • Provides barcoding management capabilities
  • Has a powerful inventory management feature, complete with a year-end inventory reporting function
  • Has the ability to set holiday fine exemptions
  • Can create patron groups with circulation rules
  • Create and manage non-check-out items

Pricing:

The ResourceMate Family of Products has six offerings with a one-time license fee. They include:

  • ResourceMate Essential – $495
  • ResourceMate Essential Plus – $695
  • ResourceMate Essential Plus Network – $945
  • ResourceMate Extended – $895
  • ResourceMate Extended Network – $1,145
  • ResourceMate Premium – $1,795

The software provider also charges for annual support, including upgrades. These annual support plans range from $106 to $394 per year.

15. LibraryWorld: Create a Library Site, Access Automation Services

LibraryWorld dashboard

LibraryWorld is a web-based library automation service. It allows you to create a branded library site and provides you access to customizable library automation options. The product offers features for managing library processes from cataloging and circulation to inventory and patron management. Moreover, aside from being mobile-friendly, LibraryWorld is also accessible via native mobile applications for Apple devices.

Key Features

  • Manual record entry for catalogs
  • Use MARC imports for faster catalog building
  • Automatically pull records using Z39.50 client connection to the Library of Congress
  • Streamlines library transactions with its intuitive circulation management module
  • Self-service circulation portal
  • Barcode scanner support for less keyboard time
  • Quick email receipts for checkouts
  • Import or manually enter patron records
  • Serials tracking
  • Inventory dashboard with quick real-time views
  • A wide range of library reports

Pricing

  • An Active Library, including all the modules with up to 500,000 catalog records support costs $495 per year.

16. Surpass: An Affordable Library Management System

Surpass dashboard

Surpass is billed as an affordable management system for all types of libraries. These include both public and school libraries as well as special libraries maintained by churches, museums, and businesses. Surpass has both on-premise and cloud-based deployments. However, the former is quite limited when it comes to features and capabilities. The on-premise platform does not include self-check features. Also, pricing varies depending on the number of workstations that can access the software.

Key Features

  • Streamlines resource cataloging of resources of different types and formats
  • Quick add resources using ISBN
  • Patron management
  • Provides a self-check feature for checking in and checking out resources (optional for on-premise)
  • Lost and found tracking
  • Custom patron reports
  • Customized resource templates
  • Fines for late and lost resources
  • Provides resource damage classifications options

Pricing

The cloud-based platform is offered via five plans with monthly pricing but billed annually. They are:

  • Congregational – $50 per month (exclusively for congregational libraries)
    • 10,000 volumes
    • 1,000 patrons
  • Small – $70 per month
    • 5,000 volumes
    • 1,000 patrons
  • Large – $100 per month (has special K-12 school pricing)
    • 100,000 volumes
    • 5,000 patrons
  • District (Multi-location) – $110 per month per location (has special K-12 school pricing)
    • 100,000 volumes per location
    • 5,000 patrons per location
  • Premier (Multi-location) – $175 per month
    • Unlimited volumes per location
    • Unlimited patrons per location

17. Follett Destiny Library Manager: Learning Enrichment for School Libraries

Follett Destiny Library Manager dashboard

Follett Destiny Library Manager is a library management system for schools. It does not only provide librarians with the usual tools to manage library processes and assets but it also provides opportunities to enhance learning experience through its native integrations with other Destiny tools. It is basically a part of the Follett Destiny Suite that integrates with learning engagement products such as Destiny Discover for discovery and Collections by Destiny for personalized learning.

Key Features

  • Inventory management and inventory reports
  • Streamlined search function
  • Intuitive cataloging capabilities
  • Circulation management
  • Integrates with Follet Destiny Discover Engage to engage students and promote independent learning
  • Provides access through mobile applications that support BYOD and 1:1 initiatives
  • Allows students and teachers to access district resources
  • Enables users to create personalized collections
  • Provides add-ons to enrich library management and learning experiences

Pricing

  • Follett Destiny Library Manager along with the Destiny Suite is only available via custom pricing.

18. Genesis G4

Genesis G4 dashboard

Genesis G4 is a library automation software that has two deployment options: on-premise standalone and cloud. The product’s standalone version is only available for Windows machines while its cloud platform is accessible through any device. It is designed to be scalable enough to support single libraries for up to districts. It is also flexible in terms of functionality. This means that the platform can be used for different types of libraries, including commercial libraries and correctional facility libraries.

Key Features

  • It provides a self-check kiosk for intuitive transactions for both library staff and patrons.
  • Allows for manual entry of records and ISBN cataloging
  • Cataloging is made easier by allowing users to import MARC records online.
  • Provides record enrichment by automatically overwriting incomplete records using full MARC records
  • Has automatic borrower updates
  • Customized collection management, including the cataloging of non-traditional and digital resources

Pricing

  • The platform is only available via custom pricing.

19. Handy Library Manager

Handy Library Manager dashboard

Handy Library Manager by PrimaSoft is a hybrid on-premise and cloud library management system solution with an extra charge on the latter. It offers quick cataloging features, including MARC imports and ISBN cataloging. Unlike other platforms, its deployment supports an unlimited number of items in its catalog. And, users can organize them in multiple libraries such as textbooks, documents, and reference materials among others. It also has printing capabilities for library reports, barcode labels, and spine labels.

Key Features

  • Hybrid on-premise and cloud deployment
  • Quick cataloging using MARC imports
  • Catalog using ISBN numbers
  • Print barcode and spine labels
  • Print ID cards
  • Includes predefined library reports
  • Transactions management (check-in, check-out, renew, or reserve).
  • Create circulation rules
  • Loan and fine management
  • Email notices for overdue materials and fines
  • Intuitive OPAC interface
  • Unlimited number of items in the catalog
  • Auto backup
  • SQL database manager

Pricing

  • Handy Library Manager is offered via a one-time base license fee of $345 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • The cloud add-on costs $180.
  • The software provider also offers technical support for fees.
    • Fees start from $59.95.
    • Lifetime support, including lifetime upgrades is priced at a one-time fee of $995.

20. Koha: The First Free Open Source Library System

Koha dashboard

Koha is a full-featured open-source enterprise-class library system solution. It is being developed by a passionate community of practicing librarians and enjoys corporate support. The product is being used by public, academic, and special libraries around the world. Hence, it is available in a wide range of languages with more being added every year. It is flexible enough to support operations of single-location libraries and consortiums. And, as a free open-source platform, there is no vendor lock-in.

Key Features

  • Intuitive acquisitions module
  • Streamlines cataloging processes with automation tools
  • Online and offline circulation management
  • Label printing
  • Full-text searching using catalogs from Google, Amazon, Open Library, Syndetics, and LibraryThing, among others.
  • It is compliant with library standards such as Z39.50 and MARC 21, thus being interoperable with other systems.
  • Koha is web-based and thus platform agnostic
  • Being developed by an active and passionate community of users across the world

Pricing

  • Free

What is the best library management software solution?

There is really no general answer as to what is the best library management software solution available. Only the stakeholders in your organization can address that. If you are looking for software products, however, you can start with the ones on the list above. All of them are intuitive to use and require no special IT skills to implement. Moreover, if there are technical requirements such as those for migration, many of the software providers above take care of these for clients.

Choosing the right fit could be pretty hard, especially when there are many candidates. And, aside from friendly-priced premium software, there are also many free-to-use open-source platforms that provide great features. Moreover, free open-source solutions oftentimes rival both the functionality and ease of use of premium platforms. This is evidenced by the fact that open source communities have been growing—not only in general but specific among library management solutions.

One last thing that you need to consider as well is that it is better to choose a platform that can integrate with other third-party solutions, especially online learning platforms, and student information system (SIS) solutions. For educational institutions with specialized scientific laboratories and facilities, it could be integration capabilities with scientific data management systems.

This is more important if you work in an academic or school library. This is because, with such integrations, your institution can provide personalized digital learning environments for your stakeholders. In this way, you can leverage other online education trends such as using AI for personalized learning.

 

 References:

  • Adroit Market Research. (2021, September). Global library management software market analysis. Adroit Market Research.
  • Breeding, M. (2002). Integrated library system statistics (3). American Library Association.
  • Breeding, M. (2022, April 30). Discoverability of library collections. Library Technology Guides. https://librarytechnology.org/document/27289/discoverability-of-library-collections
  • EBSCO. (2021, December 13). 2021 trends in library analytics. EBSCO Information Services, Inc.
  • Kishore, K. (2021, August 18). How much does it cost to create a library management system? Octal Blog.
  • Mageto, T. (2021). Design and development of e-library system: COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Journal of Computer Sciences and Applications, 9(1), 1-15. SciEP.
  • Ogunsola, L. A. (2011). The next step in librarianship: Is the traditional library dead. Library Philosophy and Practice, 1, 42. University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
  • Public Library Association. (2020). 2020 public library technology survey. American Library Association.

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