Mapping the Library Labyrinth
A librarian’s work obviously involves the caring and feeding of books. What’s possibly even more integral to the library is working with the catalog. Any media that comes into a library institution needs to pass through a series of digital hoops before it ends up on the shelf. Although most libraries have adequate software for this task, very few realize they need software for everything else that they do, too. This is why document management for libraries is essential.
What a patron sees is a fraction of the work that goes into maintaining such a complex institution. Every book bought by, donated to, or transferred into the library needs to be punched into the system. Imagine if you could automate this process, simply scan the pages in and be done with it, freeing up your time to do more librarian-y things, like designing awesome programs and helping patrons find what they need.
The Books Behind the Books
Libraries experience a great deal of pressure to follow Records Retention law, whether local, state, or federal. Not only are they required to keep track of past checkouts, inventory, messages, and patron information, but they are also required to monitor invoices, treasury reports, personnel files, board minutes, and of course audits. Boy is that a tall stack of papers! If a library doesn’t have document management software, this means boxes and boxes of files piling up. Older libraries also might not have room for all the older records they’re keeping. Come audit season, that’s going to be a problem.
Maybe certain patrons enjoy a library that operates at a slower pace, but even folks who take their time finishing the latest bestseller can get bent out of shape when waiting too long for their book transfer. You might try to shrink the wait time, but the process still involves a large amount of data kept in hard-to-find folders. Centralizing shared data and accessing it through barcode scanning can help cut down on time and paper usage.
A New Way to Keep Books Alive
So why would we need document management software? Even if the system you use is already on par for book management, libraries are generating more paper files than almost any other industry in the world. It is essential that these files can be easily accessed. The more smoothly the system runs, the better of an experience users will have with it. This means easier work for employees, more donations and votes for referendums, and more funding to continue improving the way people get the books they need and love.
Libraries maintain a certain order. It’s in their very nature, and any tools that assist them should be a welcome sight. Programs to manage files will make managing books that much easier. Document management for libraries cuts the stress of navigating old, paper-stuffed cabinets and improves the atmosphere, which is the ultimate goal. The less time wasted on old school document management, the more time you’ve got for good old-fashioned reading.