I wanted to give a breakdown on my experience using https://www.libib.com for the past year.
I see a lot of discussion about other tools, but very little about Libib and feel that my experience may help others make an informed decision.
1. How I made my choice of software
There were 3 very important things for me that I required for my decision.
1. The software should be in the cloud.
I did not want to be responsible for updating software and troubleshooting issues.
2. There should be some way for patrons to self checkout.
Our church is unable to staff the library all the time, and we wanted patrons to be able to pick up a book and check it out.
3. As a manager I wanted to be able to check items in and out using my phone.
Ideally I could just scan a book to check it out from my phone, or scan it to check it back in.
After much research I narrowed it down to Libib.
Libib met all 3 of my requirements.
Additionally, I was impressed that for the price ($5/mo) I was allowed to catalog up to 100,000 books.
Other services that I tested were either very difficult to setup, very expensive, or visually unappealing.
2. Cataloging the books
We were actually starting from scratch, so we had nothing to import or work from. For books that had ISBN barcodes, it was super simple. I simply scanned in the items using their app. For books that were older, it was a bit more labor intensive. First I searched by title on the website, but if it wasn't found I had to manually enter it. Luckily our library didn't have a whole lot of those, maybe 30%.
That being said, it was pretty straightforward manually adding, and once I got into the rhythm it went pretty quickly.
We are using Dewey to catalog, and Libib includes that for a lot of the books we scanned in. I would say about 80% of the books we added by scanning came with Dewey and LCC info. The others we had to edit in that information.
One other thing that we've just started using is Lexiles for our children's section. Very cool feature.
3. Visual design
I really love Libib's design and the way the published library looks. Here's one of the test account libraries that one of their employees shared with us when we were testing out: https://countscotula.libib.com
We took the feed off ours (it's an option in the settings somewhere) as we don't use it and it took up too much screen real estate.
The search is super fast and pretty accurate. Since Libib didn't auto-provide subjects, we use the tagging feature as a replacement for subjects.
4. Company support
I did end up running into some issues while building out our catalog. I was quite confused about patron passwords and how they were setup (patrons apparently don't automatically get passwords but instead must request it from the system once they visit your published library). The reps that I emailed responded pretty quickly (within the day on the weekend!) and were very helpful, which was also a really big factor in choosing them.
5. Comparing to a true ILS
Libib is a simplified ILS and doesn't have many features that enterprise library software might. There are things that it doesn't do, such as tracking or collecting fees - not an issue for us. It does notify patrons of due dates and holds, which is really beneficial. Ultimately for the price, it does a whole heck of a lot and they seem to be actively adding new features based on user requests.
The website has a lending section where you can lookup the books and patrons to check them out.
We simply type in a title, or you can apparently also scan in the ISBN or their custom barcodes.
Patrons can receive due date notifications as well as past due notifications. There are limits to this though. The system will only send out a max of 3 notifications for each, and only within a 10 day time frame. When I asked their support about this they stated it was tested and notifications past 10 days have a very low response rate so they were forcing a best practice. I don't know if I agree with that, but there you go.
For a patron to self checkout, they go to the website and place their items in a queue, and then check them out using their email and password. Alternatively Libib offers an online kiosk mode, which requires their custom barcodes and an actual barcode scanner. We haven't tested this out so I can't comment on it's efficacy.
One thing we've noticed is that Libib's custom barcodes (which the generate automatically) are EAN13, and not the typical codabar or code 39. Not sure the reason for this but not an issue for us anyway.
The app also lets you lend items too, however it requires that you use their custom barcodes (which we have just started using).
Overall I've been very happy with the service.
I hope that helps someone trying to make a decision!
This sounds too good to be true. For only $60 it would be worth a try. Thank you for sharing.