Library Management Overview & Tips
MANAGING A LIBRARY
Quite obviously, managing a library is an enormous occupation, one that is so complex and involved that it requires people to earn advanced degrees in the collection, organization, and dissemination of information. We call those people librarians.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to organize a small library on your own, and you have not had extensive training in this area, here is a quick checklist of steps to take, as based upon the guidelines inspired by the Follett Library Management System.
To first start organizing a library, a librarian must know what he or she needs. To do this, there are two essential steps.
- Identify collection needs – Are there areas in which your library is lacking or incomplete?
- Conduct an annual inventory – Have you lost items or texts since your last inventory that must be replaced?
Once a librarian has assessed the needs of his or her collection, the next step is to begin acquiring those items. In this step, it is imperative that a librarian knows the best ways in which to acquire necessary items.
- Select and order materials for purchase based on criteria – Most librarians must work within a budget. What items are of the most importance? Which ones can wait until next year?
- Follow established ordering procedures – Are there resources for used texts that you can take advantage of, before spending money on new books?
- Process new materials – Stamp, record, and log in all new texts on a regular schedule. Reserve a day every week to accomplish processing goals.
Having a large library is useless if people cannot easily and readily access the information it contains. As such, this step is taken to ensure that resources and people are brought together.
- Maximize search capabilities for users – Is there a card catalog? An online database of resources? Reference texts?
- Publicize diverse resources – Make sure people know what is available to them.
- Minimize physical, intellectual and time barriers – Are books physically accessible in all areas? Is the process of looking up a text to finding it streamlined, so people may access information quickly?
Of course, a library must be maintained if it is to stay effective and relevant to the changing world. As such, librarians must maintain a strict regiment of maintenance in order to keep the collection current and functional
- Care for library resources – Are computers, elevators, xerox machines working properly? Are there broken shelves, tables, chairs to be repaired? Do you need a new microfiche machine or more terminals?
- Produce records of collection maintenance and development – Keeping track of what you have done in the past is an excellent way to get grant money for the future. Showing that you care about your library and in making it the best it can be is extremely important!
- Properly handle lost and damaged materials – Learn to repair damaged books or send them to a bookbinder if necessary. Keep a record of lost or stolen materials for future reference and to pinpoint areas of concern.
- Perform occasional housekeeping chores on the collection – Books get dusty! Keep all materials up-to-date and in good working order. Make sure any publicized websites are still working and are providing the information your patrons or employers require.