A library with machine-readable catalogue computerized acquisition, circulation and OPAC are called as automated library. The holding of this type of libraries are some as that of traditional libraries. An Library Automation System refers to use of automatic or semi-automatic data processing machines to mechanize all works and activities of traditional library system as acquisition, processing, circulation or providing access to information. Library automation comes to means the application of computers and networking technologies in the library. Library automation aids to enhance the collection of the library and make library easier to organize and accessible both to the librarian and users.

A brief history of library automation:

Library automation refers to use of computers in library work including services Computers were engaged in library service in USA in 1950s in a very modest way. Dr H P Luhn had organized computerized indexes in 1950s. Computers entered and found some place in American libraries during this decade. However, their use and application was very limited and restricted due to the high cost of hardware and non-availability of application software packages. During 1960s the cost of hardware came down and appreciable attempts were made towards developing library application packages. This led to increased use of computers in libraries and printing industries. In April 1960 the American Chemical Society published its ‘chemical titles’ through computers. In this decade, one of the most significant developments in this direction was seen in MARC I.


Definition of library automation:

There are numerous definition of library automation. Some are given below:

  • According to encyclopedia of library and information science,

“Library automation is the use of automatic and semi-automatic data processing machine to perform such traditional library activities as acquisition, processing, circulation and cataloguing.”

  • According to Webster online dictionary,

“Library automation is the use of automatic machines or processing devices in libraries. The automation may be applied to library administrative activities, office, procedures and delivery of library service to user.”

  • So library automation may be defined as the automatic process use for mechanizing all works and activities involve in library system-acquisition, processing, circulation, reference, with the help of computers and other related modern technologies.

Benefits of library automation:

  • Library automation is beneficial to students, librarians, faculty members, administrators and parents for various reasons.
  • Automated library can expand their horizons more effectively.
  • An automated library helps administrators complete accreditation requirements for the library.
  • Everyone benefits when the library is automated.
  • It works by finding and using materials.
  • It provides the catalog card electronically displayed helps the student know details about it when tested on standardized tests.
  • Automation can make the library an awesome place.
  • Librarians can circulate items with ease and have an accurate account for each user activities.
  • Hosting the library to the Web, for access to easy.
  • Automation of the library is a good investment and benefits the entire for the user.

Special features of library automation:

  • Library automation project is a Relational Data Base Management System (RDBMS).
  • Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) terminals are available at all service points of the main library, administration sections, science library, all departments and institutions.
  • Work stations terminals are put at acquisition departments, cataloguing and serials controls units in library.
  • Management Information System (MIS) is located among designated computers under the network systems.
  • Educational internet connections and providing service facilities for the user of the library.
  • Multimedia inter-active CD-ROM capacity.

Need For Library Automation:

The need for automation is emphasized because of the following factors:

  • Traditional methods for handling the information are inadequate. One is bulk and growth rate of information.
  • Difficult to update the information due to voluminous increase and rise in the degree of specialization involved.
  • Techniques are suggested for applying computers with its advantages of speed, vast storage capacity and accuracy to library works.
  • The need for cooperation and resource sharing and hope of achieving some saving through automation made to switch over to automation.
  • Operational advantages:
    1. Offers flexibility
    2. Speeds up processing
    3. Greater accuracy, efficiency, consistency and improved work control.
    4. Reduces repetitive clerical work.
    5. Permits easy of bibliographic control, checking and updating.
    6. Permits improved budget control.

Objectives of Library Automation:

The main objective of library computerization is basically to integrate all library activities towards ensuring an easy and accurate retrieval of information. Other objectives of computerization are

  • Computer systems alleviate the bottlenecks often encountered in the circulation of library materials. On-line searches, of databases are made possible, bibliographies are easily compiled and accuracy is guaranteed.
  • To facilitate resource-sharing and cooperative agreement among libraries, bibliographic data in machine-readable format are easily exchanged between similar libraries locally and globally.
  • To ensure speedy retrieval of information. A computer system can search through thousands of records in seconds and usually with instantaneous results.
  • To ensure accuracy of information provided. When correct programs are in place, accuracy of information is guaranteed. Computer cannot get bored through repetition, as is the case with manual system.
  • To tap the advantages of online access. If the system is in the form of LAN.                             

Automation System in Central Library, University of Rajshahi:

Uses of software in Central Library, University of Rajshahi

Technology profile Product name Year contracted
Current automation system KOHA  independent November,2013
Discovery interface VU find
Catalogue enhancement VU find
Instructional repository DS pace
Digital asset management Greenstone
Web content management Drupal
Item ID type REID


Some others information of library automation system in University of Rajshahi are given below:

  • Total collection: 3.5 lakh
  • Total data base entry: 73,940
  • Manually entry: 2,76,060
  • Automation circulation start in July, 2015
  • Automation main staff: 1
  • Computer section staff: 2
  • Processing section staff: 4
  • Register member: 29,000(staff, faculty member, teacher, student)
  • Cataloguing Modules follows to MARC 21 standard.
  • The amount of book delivered daily: 200
  • The amount of daily submitted book: 200

From the above discussion we can say that library automation has become a burning issue amongst librarians throughout the world. It is clear that library automation is necessary to achieve E-library concept. Automated library cannot function at their full strength if necessary tools and accessories are not incorporated for appropriate applications. Computerization of library process is the only way of ensuring that the library will be able to perform its task and improve its services to the faculty members and perspective users. Now, library authorizes are realizing that there is no way to escape library automation.