A library system (LS) is a set of interrelated online and mobile services that allow libraries to provide access and help people make effective use of library information. In the late 20th century, an improved library system was developed to provide electronic services and resources to library users, both staff and patrons. The new development has become known as an Integrated Library System (ILS) and it is a backbone for many public libraries, educations libraries, religious organization libraries, corporate libraries, and many more.
An integrated library system (ILS) is a set of software components that work together to provide library staff and patrons with a single point of access to all of the resources a library has to offer.
An integrated library system is accessed through software, either on-premises or cloud-based. ILS serves as a centralized repository for library content, which may include books, images, maps, music, software and other resources. The primary purpose of an ILS is to save you time and effort by providing one centralized location where staff and patrons can perform any library-related tasks.
Features of an Integrated Library System
An integrated library system is the backbone of a modern library. As the name suggests, an integrated library system combines various functions into one single tool. Here are some of the primary functions:
- A Single System: Integrated library systems (ILS) relieve librarians of the burden of maintaining separate systems for each service and create a more streamlined, user-friendly environment. This makes it easier for the library staff and patrons to find the information they need when they need it.
- Collection Management: Cataloging and collection management is an essential feature of a library system. It is used to add information to the library database and these bits of information are stored in MARC format. A standard catalog of an integrated library system should allow users to easily import MARC records from trusted sources like the Library of Congress. These sources already have their books well arranged so you can spend less time arranging the books in your library system.
- Circulation Module: The circulation module keeps track of when items are checked in or out, their location in the library, and automatically sends notifications to patrons as emails or text messages.
- Patron management: An integrated library system will allow you to add, edit, or remove details of library patrons. These details can also be downloaded or imported in the event that you want to onboard an institution that already has details of their patrons. Integrated library systems can also allow patrons to manage their individual accounts.
- Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC): Integrated library systems have OPACs that allow patrons to access the system’s interface. This way, it is possible to manage accounts, make payments for library fees, leave reviews, and give suggestions.
- Cost Effective: An ILS reduces costs by reducing the number of separate systems required to operate a modern library. It also reduces the workload of staff by simplifying and streamlining operations.
How to Choose an Integrated Library System?
There are many Integrated library systems on the market today. How do you know which one to choose? Here is a tried and true process for choosing an ILS vendor.
Get Product Demos
Get demos of a few different ILS solutions and see which one seems like the bets fit for your specific needs.
Vendor Reputation and Reviews
Once you’ve narrowed down to a couple of ILS vendors, do some research on their reputation and read customer reviews. Pay special attention to library customers that sound similar to your needs.
See Surpass Cloud’s ratings and reviews on Capterra.
Surpass Cloud is the easy-to-use, cloud-based library management system for libraries of all types and sizes. Whether you’re a school, religious organization, museum, business, or any other organization with resources to lend, Surpass is likely a good fit for you. We pride ourselves on being affordable and flexible, with an expert support team ready to help you at a moment’s notice.
Schedule a free demo to see Surpass Cloud in action.