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Library Technology: Move Forward Without Breaking The Bank

137053819As a fully functioning academic library, you’ve got expenses. In a perfect world, libraries would run purely on the abundant educational growth they inspire. Sadly, that is not the case. And libraries, just like any other institutions, have to pay for the services they provide while constantly being challenged by budget cuts.

Library technology is one of the biggest cost drivers within library budgets. The machines themselves (printers, scanners, etc.) are expensive. Add to that the cost of paper, toner and maintenance – and these expenses really add up. As a result of the frequent budget cuts they face, libraries seem to have no choice but to avoid technological upgrades and innovations, scraping by with standard services.

Well, this may have been acceptable five years ago, but standard library technology is no longer “standard.” It’s old school. It’s been there, done that. If you haven’t already noticed, a massive digital movement is underway, and your patrons are every bit a part of it.

  • They want quick. They want easy.
  • They want anywhere, anytime access.
  • They want what they’re accustomed to: digital learning

If the only thing holding you back from technological upgrades is your budget, consider this:

Library Expenditures: The Breakdown

Studies show that 67.2% of current library expenditures are used for printed materials or print technology:

  • Paper
  • Toner
  • Maintenance of outdated technology

And only 12.4% of library expenditures are used for digital materials:

At this rate, it’s no wonder so many libraries struggle with their budgets – they are stuck maintaining out-of-date technology. And no matter how much maintenance you put into out-of-date technology, the fact remains: it is out of date.

To help overcome budget issues, your library must consider undergoing some changes. New, updated library technology doesn’t have to break the bank. It might be a larger-than-average initial investment, but the long-term benefits of modern library technology are invaluable. And your library budget will thank you.

Up To Date, Down On Cost
Here are a few ways that libraries around the world are coping with the digital evolution and implementing new, creative ways to stay afloat in this highly digital era.

  • Refurbished Computer Workstations
    It’s important for your patrons to feel comfortable in their workstations. Providing a digitally dominant area, where they have access to computers and peers, shows that your library cares about its patrons.  
  • Cataloging Software
    By upgrading your library accessibility with cataloging software, you’re able to offer the convenient and technology-based catalog your patrons want.
  • Digital Book Scanners And Scan-To-Mobile Technology
    These affordable scanning options eliminate the need for expensive toner and paper refills, meaning less long-term expenses.
  • Integrated Library System
    Putting a network of organization in place is invaluable. An effective, integrated management system tracks items owned, orders placed, bills paid, and books borrowed (which is especially important for tracking e-books).

Digital Library Services

The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a consolidation of federal programs designed to provide all types of libraries and their patrons with online access to essential resources, including licensed databases, statewide library catalogs, an interlibrary loan system and the electronic and physical delivery of resources.

Legislature For Libraries

  • Workforce Investment
    Libraries are actively helping the public to find work, which makes them essential to today’s workforce. This funding could potentially be put towards affordable, new technology for job seekers:
    • Scanners/copiers to copy resumes
    • Scan-to-mobile technology to make cover letters, resumes and reference documents accessible on the go (whenever a potential job opening comes along)
    • Cloud access to store resumes, cover letters and reference materials for anywhere, anytime access
       
  • Library Service And Technology Act
    Federal resources help target library services to people of diverse geographic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as individuals with disabilities and those with limited literacy skills.

Library budget cuts remain a problem within the education industry, making it extremely difficult to keep up with digital advances. But if you start small and make the investment in upgraded library technology, your library will reap the benefits of a deeper budget and more satisfied patrons over time.

Ready to learn more about updating your library technology? Click on the button below to download your free guide, Book Scanning: A One-Stop Solution To Common Library Challenges, and see how book scanning technology transforms library efficiency and provides your 21st-century patrons with the solutions they seek.

Free Report: Your Eco-Friendly Library Technology And Management Guide

Tags: library technology, Library IT, library technology tools