With the huge amount of data available online, it becomes a necessity to convert the traditional offline libraries into an online knowledge base. Free and open source library management systems are used to access information online easily. These you maintain information about the availability of books and their details.
The details about any registered book can be found out with the help of LMS. This helps library managers and librarians identify discrepancy in the library. Free library management software further makes the task of managing books in libraries easier.
Premium vs Free & Open Source Library Management Software
Premium Library Management Software
Such software comes equipped with several features such as enhanced maintenance of database,
- The cost of implementation is comparatively higher for medium and small sized libraries to afford.
- It allows the management of different types of documents including books, videos, etc.
- It provides easy access to readers to search a book and makes inventory management more convenient
Open Source Library Management Software
Most educational institutions use free and open source library management software, which helps automate acquisition and inventory management functions.
- Users can make changes to the source code of the software to make it better at catalogue management, generating reports and much more.
- Open source library management systems are free to download, and no single developer can lay a claim to its entire development.
Key Features of Premium, Open Source or Free Library Management Software
- Catalogue management
- Subscription management
- Online access of books with their location & availability
- Online search option for the inventory
- Inventory management
- Periodicals management
- Patron management
- Online access to the catalogue of various public libraries
- Self check-in & check-out
- Acquisition management
- Barcode scanning
Why Librarians Should Use Free Open Source Digital Library Software
Free library Management Systems or LMS is used to work in a smarter way to achieve more in a limited period. Library Management Software caters to the need of technology savvy people and adds value to the research community. LMS embraces digitization, ditching the traditional manual management. Let’s take a look at the benefits of digital library software.
- Records Maintenance
Authorized people can manage every record related to books issued. You can manage return deadlines and see the availability of each book. This software can also record the penalty that is due from the students.
- Time Effective and Cost Efficient
By eliminating the paper-based operations, an open source library management software reduces operational costs as well as saves time. By maintaining records and information online, library management system makes everything hassle-free.
- Reliable and Secure
Manual work often leads to errors. The paper based approach can also cause data loss. But if you use a library management system, you will use a reliable and secure software with no scope of manual errors.
- Increased Employee Efficiency
The efficiency of people managing the library increased by using an open source library management software. The authorized people can keep and maintain correct records and details of books like its edition, no. of copies, return date, author, issue date and late book return penalties.
- Simple and Easy to Use
The interface of an open source library management software is extremely easy to use. The user interface of most LMS software are simple and user-friendly. Hence, there is no requirement of hiring any additional IT help for using the software.
The 10 Best Free Open Source Library Management Software Solution
These are the best web based library management system open source. These open source library management software solutions are available online:
Let’s have a look at the few of the best free library management software you can use to manage your library online:
Koha library software is free library management software which is web based. Hence there is no need to manage a separate server to run Koha library management software effortlessly. From backups to upgrades, backups and system maintenance, everything is managed online.
- It has easy-to-use circulation policies and a robust patron management.
- This free library management software has intuitive navigation.
- It maintains a parent-child relationship for maintain records, and a ‘copy’ feature to add more families.
- You can manage book clubs and reading groups as well.
- Easily updates older records and replaces them with a newer version.
- It includes SIP2 configuration of vendors and of their products like 3M, ITG, EnvisionWare, Onedrive and Talking Tech.
- It has self-checkout interfaces, making it a complete web -based solution.
Koha Pros and Cons
Evergreen library software is a scalable software for all libraries which helps library managers manage inventory effortlessly. Librarians can manage library catalogues and circulate information. It is an open source library management software which is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2.
- It has an open and scalable framework
- This free library management software has circulation module and cataloguing module with indexing, clarifying and collection facilities
- It provides a facility to customize cataloguing.
- The public access catalogue is available online and multiple payment options are also given in this free database management software.
- You can also retain the history of circulation of library resources.
- Library members get an option of self – checkout and self – registration.
- This open source library management software has a powerful search facility.
- Get complete tracking facilities for books, invoices and much more.
- Report generation facilities are also available. Get customized statistical reports with this free library management software.
OPALS is an automated open source library management system that can be used for various kinds of libraries. There are over 2000 libraries from all around the world that are using OPALS to manage their resources. Unlimited number of library members can access OPALS online, at the same time.
- Get multiple options and fields for cataloguing library materials.
- With this free open source digital library software, get features like acquisition management and circular management.
- This software has an advanced indexing feature which helps you search the required library resources easily.
- Since this free library management is cloud-based, you can get real-time reports.
OPALS Pros and Cons
OpenBiblio is also one of most used open source library management system. This free LMS is majorly used in small-scale libraries.
- This open source library management system provides an extensive support for various types of languages.
- It provides excellent circulation for its staff which lets them check different items and enables them to add new patrons as well.
- Their cataloguing feature for staff lets them to create, and delete records, which includes uploading of MARCXML and MARC.
- OPAC or online public access catalog is used in this free library management system. It is a public catalog for patrons to find the relevant books.
- Its administration option includes management and configuration of the software. This involves managing the staff, library, fines, materials and other website settings.
- Retrieve all the required information from your database in the form of reports. This includes getting information like overdue letters and other statistical factors regarding library materials.
- You don’t need to learn any special language to retrieve this data.
OpenBiblio Pros and Cons
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Invenio is an open source library software developed by a multidisciplinary community of institutions. It is an all-in-one platform for research data management, institutional repository management as well as asset management.
- It is a free library management system which falls under the license of MIT.
- This open source library management system is a form of integrated library management system which supports circulation, cataloging, and acquisitions.
- It provides a back-office module that is powerful and has a modern user interface and APIs.
- You can also find a toolbox to create applications like enterprise search, digital repositories, discovery mechanisms and data management systems.
- Get a strong support for your APIs, authentication as well as storage systems.
Invenio Pros and Cons
This open source library management system is yet another LMS that comes with a lot of features. It is developed by the company called OMB services and is continuously updated by them.
- You get a complete library management system with documentary products and editorial content publication.
- It has a fully featured electronic document management systems.
- PMB free library management system provides an integrated portal of web content.
- It is the only open source library management system that is not using a third party content management system for managing the portal.
- You can store up to 500 000 records with this free library management software.
- It is installed in public libraries regularly. This LMS has a network of up to 10 to 15 sites.
PMB Pros and Cons
NewGenLib is an open source integrated library management software which can be used in mobile as well as tablets. You can even interact with the users by sending messages using their twitter integration.
- You get the flexibility of making your own search field in its online public access catalog.
- Get an interactive online catalog with enhanced content like Google preview, availability of book jackets, book review, comments, tags, and favorite reading list.
- With this personal library software open source, you get a Zotero compliant catalog system. RSS feeds are also included in this OPAC.
- Get an advanced report module which can generate reports in .csv format. It also helps do a wide variety of customization.
- This open source library management system, which can be used as a proof of transaction.
- It supports RFID technology.
NewGenLib Pros and Cons
This is an open source library management software used for administration purposes and managing books in your library. With Codeachi, it is extremely easy to enter details of new books and manage circulation of books with its digital catalog.
- You can maintain all your library assets, the members enrolled and its staff in just one platform.
- This free library management system is used to track different user activities and can calculate which user needs to pay how much fine automatically.
- You get an option of generating up to 50 types of reports.
- It is easy to migrate data in this free library management software using a CSV sheet and excel.
- CODEACHI has a user-friendly interface with barcode and QR facility.
- It is supported on Windows 7 and later versions only.
CODEACHI Pros and Cons
Librarian is the best software to be used in schools, colleges, medical and even legal libraries. Librarian open source library management system is used where an efficient and easy library system is demanded all the time. Its user-friendly search interface helps in a smooth acquisition process.
- It has a cataloging system which is based on Anglo-American rules
- You get up to 20 different fields to add to the database.
- Generates member ID cards quickly and easily.
- ID cards of the members can be generated with barcode and photograph.
- This open source library management software gives serial control to manage circulation.
- Provides the facility of multimedia resource management.
- With this LMS, you get a printable barcode as well.
- You also get an email management system which is automatic.
- Librarian free data management software can also let you customize reports according to the fields you want.
- Track your inventory in real-time using this free open source digital library software.
Librarian Pros and Cons
Biblioteq is used by libraries of all types, be it small, medium, or large. It is a professional Library Management System that is compatible with different QT supporting systems. BiblioteQ can research papers, videos, catalog books, and much more.
- This free library management system supports an ARM architecture
- You can drag and drop cover images according to your need
- Get customized display facility with this open source management software
- You can also customize data related to individual items.
- BiblioQ can give you advanced as well as localized search facility
- Export and attach files easily with this free library management software
- Retrieve cover images for every book from Amazon.
- Support for Z39.50 and SRU is also provided.
- Enter queries about your data and send or receive notifications of the unavailable items with this open source library management system
BiblioQ Pros and Cons
How to Choose the Best Free Library Management Software
Choosing the best free library management system is fairly easy. You need to check whether the open source library management software you have chosen is reliable and secure. You have to make sure that the people using the free library management software find it easy to operate. And the free LMS you are choosing should have all the required features that you might need to manage the library.
If you can’t find the features that you need in a free library management software, you can always go for their premium plans. You can get more security as well as advanced features with the library management software subscription.
Checklist for Finding the Best Open Source & Free Library Management Software
Before buying any library management system, you need to ensure that it is suitable to your needs. Here we have compiled a checklist which will help you purchase only the best open source and free library management software:
- Reliable and secure
The library management solution should be reliable and secure from any third-party interventions.
- User friendly interface
The software should be user friendly so that even beginners can use it without hassles.
- Multi device compatibility
It should have a multi device compatibility, as in, it should be accessible from a desktop as well as from a mobile device.
Have a look at these advanced Top 10 Library Management System to Enhance Efficiency.