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What Are the Benefits of Library Automation?
As the use of computers and other technologies continue to be used to enhance services provided by a variety of industries, information providers, like libraries, are also automating in-house collections and resources. There are many benefits to automating the information available in libraries, both for the staff and users alike.
Improved Customer Service
Automation of the library helps take some of the workload off of librarians and other staff members in the areas of acquisitions, cataloging and circulation, which in turn allows them to better serve their patrons. This extra time can lead to more programs being facilitated in the library and make library staff available to answer reference questions and help people who having trouble researching or finding the right information.
Automated cataloging standards, such as MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging), allow for quicker cataloging of library items. Not only does this allow the librarian more time to dedicate to improving customer service, but it also makes the sharing of materials from location to location much easier and much more affordable.
Not only does automation of library materials make it easier to find books, buy it also makes it easier to access journals and some books online from a home computer or elsewhere. The automation of library collections also allows the library to be more flexible when it comes to any increases in demand.
Automation of the library allows for an improvement in the variety, amount and quality of materials that are available in the library’s collection. It can also help make weeding out old, outdated and irrelevant books and materials from the collection, which helps keep the library’s collection more streamlined and easier to find the right item.
Automation is also a way of preparing the collection to become sustainable with the ever-increasing shift to a technology-based society, in terms of information dissemination, paired with the ever-decreasing amount of funding for libraries. Automation will help libraries who begin to struggle and are forced to lay off staff. Switching to an automated system allows libraries to add on features when they become available in the future, in stead of having to do a complete overhaul of their collections and cataloging methods.
Jaclyn Castek is a freelance writer from Tampa, Fla. She has been a news writer for several newspapers and has written articles for a number of regional magazines. Castek received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing a master's degree in library and information science.