The Whatsamotta University Library currently has over one hundred thousand titles available to be checked out by patron with a valid library card. It also currently serves over two thousand patrons. Because of this enormous number of titles and large number of customers, an efficient and accurate circulation system is a necessity if the library is to accurately keep track of which books have been checked out as well as who currently has the book in their possession. In addition to this, the system must also be able to determine which books are currently showing a status of overdue and be able to calculate a fine based on this overdue date in order to update the patrons account balance. The system must also be able to produce overdue reminders that will inform the patron that he has an overdue book that needs to be returned. All of these are vital functions that the circulation system must be able to accomplish if the library is going to be able to operate with a minimal loss of resources and maximum employee efficiency.
The system that is currently in place is entirely manual in nature. The books are checked out by hand, the files are sorted and arranged by hand, and overdue reminders are prepared and sent out by hand. The fines are calculated manually as well. This system was sufficient when the library was very young, but the organization has grown to the point where the personnel can no longer efficiently track who has their resources in their possession, let alone how long he or she has had them. There are simply too few people tracking too many resources.
The proposed system will solve this problem. The entire circulation system will become automated if the proposed system is implemented. Patron records will no longer be looked up manually and checkout cards will longer be filled out by hand. The patron will be issued library cards that have a magnetic strip that refers to that patrons personal information. The books too will have magnetic strips placed on them that will be scanned. When this is done, the information contained on that strip will be used to update the checkout detail for that particular book. This is far more efficient than doing this by hand. The use of computers in these processes also allows the library to keep track of its patrons, books on hand, and the status of the books it has available to be checked out. Overdue books can be much more easily identified through the use of computers. Overdue reminders and reports can be generated and printed out automatically as opposed to writing them by hand as the current system does. The proposed system was designed to accommodate a large volume of business and we believe it more than adequately accomplishes this.