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Describe a Library: Descriptive Essay

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The Traverse Area District Library (TADL), a network of community libraries, is a district library funded by a dedicated countywide millage. TADL was established by an agreement between the City of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County and then ratified by a vote of residents throughout Grand Traverse County. Within the district, there are six public library facilities supported by the district millage. They are the Main Library (Traverse City), East Bay Branch Library, Kingsley Branch Library, and member libraries Fife Lake Public Library, Interlochen Public Library, and Peninsula Community Library. (‘About traverse area district library,’ n.d.)

Three of these facilities (Fife Lake, Interlochen, Peninsula) are Member Libraries that receive most of their support from the districtwide millage. Although Member libraries have independently elected boards, hire their own library directors and operate autonomously, they are full partners with TADL in that their collections are shared throughout the district and they participate in the online public catalog as well as the TADL-provided public computing and wireless access systems. (‘About traverse area district library,’ n.d.) Its mission is to provide dynamic resources and innovative services to stimulate intellectual curiosity, facilitate lifelong learning, promote literacy, and nurture personal enrichment. The location of Traverse Area District Library (TADL) consists of a network of libraries serving Grand Traverse County through the following locations. The main libraries are at Traverse City, East Bay, and Kingsley branch libraries, the Fife Lake Public Library, Interlochen Public Library, and Peninsula Community Library.

TADL provides a wide variety of services, including the loan and inter-library loan of a broad collection of book titles (both hard copy and audiobooks), periodicals, DVDs, CDs, downloadable ebooks, subscription database, publicly accessible computers, free WiFi service, a variety of meeting spaces, blind and physically handicapped services, and free programming for all ages. (‘About traverse area district library,’ n.d.).


In the 1930s, the efforts of library automation system were started by Herman Hollerith of the US Census Bureau who invented punched card technology, with the help of Dr. Jolul Shaw Buildings, the then Director of Surgeon-General’s Library (now the National Library of Medicine). In 1935, Dr. Ralph H. Parker Created a circulation control system at the University of Texas at Austin using the Hollerith Punched Card or IBM Punched card types of equipment. however, due to slow progress in the development of computer systems efforts were put into the experimental project of the library automation system. In the 1960s the first trend of library automation was developed in the US, using computers for creating bibliographic databases as library catalogs. Library of Congress developed a machine-readable catalog of its holdings records using the MARC input format. In 1967, the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), was started as the first computer-based library network (Admin, 2014).

Library Automation Officially is Underway: 1960-1980 The advancement of technology lead to increases in the use of computers in libraries. In 1961, a significant invention by both Robert Noyce of Intel and Jack Kirby of Texas Instruments, working independently, was the integrated circuit. All the components of an electronic circuit were placed onto a single ‘chip’ of silicon. This invention of the integrated circuit and newly developed disk and tape storage devices gave computers the speed, storage, and ability needed for online interactive processing and telecommunications. The new potential for computer use guided one librarian to develop a new indexing technique. HP. Luhn, in 1961, used a computer to produce the ‘keyword in context’ or KWIC index for articles appearing in Chemical Abstracts. Although keyword indexing was not new, it was found to be very suitable for the computer as it was inexpensive and it presented multiple access points. Through the use of Luhn’s keyword indexing, it was found that librarians had the ability to put controlled language index terms on the computer. (‘Free coursework,’ n.d.)

The Evergreen Project develops an open source ILS (integrated library system) used by more than 2,000 libraries around the world. The software, also called Evergreen, is used by libraries to provide their public catalog interface as well as to manage back-of-house operations such as circulation (checkouts and check-ins), acquisition of library materials, and (particularly in the case of Evergreen) sharing resources among groups of libraries. The Evergreen Project was initiated by the Georgia Public Library System in 2006 to serve their need for a scalable catalog shared by (as of now) more than 275 public libraries in the state of Georgia. After Evergreen was released, it has since been adopted by a number of library consortia in the US and Canada as well as various individual libraries and has started being adopted by libraries outside of North America. (‘About us,’ 2017)

The Evergreen development community is still growing, with about eleven active committers and roughly 80 individuals who have contributed patches (as of April 2016). However, the Evergreen community is also marked by a high degree of participation by the librarians who use the software and contribute documentation, bug reports, and organizational energy. As such, Evergreen is very much about both the developers and the users. Because of the nature of ILSs, Evergreen has an interesting mixture of functionality. For example, Evergreen is a metadata search engine and Evergreen is a transaction processing engine. Evergreen is just another web application and Evergreen is based on a robust, scalable, message-passing framework (‘About us,’ 2017).

Evergreen runs on Linux servers and uses PostgreSQL for its backend database. The staff client used in day-to-day operations by library staff runs on Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computers and is built on XULRunner, a Mozilla-based runtime that uses the same technology stack as Firefox and allows for a browser-independent offline mode. The online public access catalog (OPAC) used by library patrons is accessed in a web browser. The catalog interface is primarily constructed using Template Toolkit with some JavaScript. The staff client user interface is written in Mozilla’s XUL (XML + JavaScript) before 3.0 and is a web-based staff client built using AngularJS and related technologies as of 3.0. Python is used for the internationalization build infrastructure. EDI functionality for the acquisitions system prior to 3.0 depended upon Ruby but no longer does. AngularJS interfaces are now being transitioned to Angular and all-new interface work is being done in Angular. (Systems, n.d.)

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Challenges and opportunities

The challenge in the library automation process is the lack of proper planning. Planning of library automation will involve a proper feasibility study of the project to avoid waste of time, money, and energy and to ensure the success of the project. In spite of its inherent benefits, library automation is a capital-intensive venture. This is because of the high cost associated with computer hardware and software. No project can succeed without a prior feasibility study. The adoption of any automation system in the library should be based on a wide range of feasibility studies, which will determine the adequacy of the program. In light of the fact that there are now new hardware and software used for library automation, it becomes imperative for institutions to determine whether they have adequate sources of resources to operate library automation. Unless this is done, there are bound to be problems here and there. (‘(PDF) Library automation: Issues, challenges, and remedies author,’ 2015)

Next, the challenge in the library automation process is the lack of funds/economical resources. The most crucial hurdle for a library in pursuit of automation is to obtain the necessary funds. The major obstacle to any innovations in developing countries is the lack of resources. The initial cost of establishing a computer system is beyond the reach of most organizations and institutions. Generally, any successful and running operation required sound financial aid for purchasing hardware, software, and other associate peripherals of ICT. The library automation committee must keep in mind expenditure for library automation and also for further maintenance and development costs for a successful automation process. A year-wise development plan for library automation and service must add to the library automation plan. (‘(PDF) Library automation: Issues, challenges, and remedies author,’ 2015)

Then, lack of resources and technology. Most of the libraries encountered that the library automation work affected due to problem of insufficient awareness of current technology like hardware, and software issues. The library defined clearly the goal and objective of library automation and computerization which is to provide wide access to digitized library collections, using computer-based skills to dispense library services to the end-users. Library management decides on application software that could support an integrated library management system. The application software to select must be assessed to determine its scope and capacity that will be suitable to achieve the library goal. There are long lists of application software packages in the market. A few of this software are UNESCO micro CDS/ISIS, TINLIB, Konlib pro-library manager, X-lib, Alice for window, Integrated Library Software Koha, Greenstone, and Glass. Using well-drawn parameters as given by Adekanye (2011) the software packages were assessed. According to Adekanye (2011), the suitability of a package could be assessed by producer/vendor reputation and reliability based on the performance of the previous installation, also software functional flexibility, and expandability. (‘(PDF) Library automation: Issues, challenges, and remedies author,’ 2015).

The opportunities in the library automation process are librarians can improve their Customer Service Automation of the library helps take some of the workloads off of librarians and other staff members in the areas of acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation, which in turn allows them to better serve their patrons. This extra time can lead to more programs being facilitated in the library and make library staff available to answer reference questions and help people who having trouble researching or finding the right information. (‘Library automation:: Advantages of library automation,’ n.d.).

Then, the opportunity in the library automation process is librarians can reduce human labor. Automation is also a way of preparing the collection to become sustainable with the ever-increasing shift to a technology-based society, in terms of information dissemination, paired with the ever-decreasing amount of funding for libraries. Automation will help libraries that begin to struggle and are forced to lay off staff (‘Need, steps and challenges of library automation,’ 2016). Switching to an automated system allows libraries to add on features when they become available in the future, instead of having to do a complete overhaul of their collections and cataloging methods.

Current technologies

The present innovation utilized by the library is digital maker labs. Digital maker labs offer users the opportunity to learn and utilize the absolute most front-line innovation around. From 3D printers, Computer controlled CNC switches, too hot presses for T-shirts, Laser shapers etchers, Maker Labs are springing up in libraries everywhere throughout the UK. While any reasonable person would agree you won’t see one in each library, odds are your closest Maker lab won’t be excessively far away. (‘Current technology trends in libraries,’ 2019)

Next, libraries have consistently had an affection illicit relationship with the composed word, regardless of whether on paper, microfilm, CD-ROM, or site page. Presently libraries are working with authors and coders to make new intelligent stories where the peruser can become drenched and endeavor to control the story stream. Guildford Libraries in Surrey ran a Gothic Story Jam, to urge individuals to make craftsmanship and intuitive fiction and praise the 200th Anniversary of the distribution of Frankenstein and the introduction of Emily Bronte. You can see every one of the 46 Gothic Story Jam passages. Furthermore, the British Library is facilitating the Narrative Games Convention in November to unite designers and gamers with an enthusiasm for intuitive storytelling. (‘Guides: Digital storytelling: What is digital storytelling?’ 2020)

Virtual reality

Allowing people to immerse themselves in a new universe is one of the main reasons why people enjoy reading books and visiting the library. This is where virtual reality comes into play! Many libraries have started offering their users the chance to play, learn and explore other places just by sitting in the comfort of their local library. At the same time, virtual reality can be used to bring the library closer to the users by creating virtual tours of the library or even virtual workshops and training. In the Wonder Lab at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut, and California State Library, users are getting to play with virtual reality, and even learn how to code entire VR games from scratch! (Kowalczyk, 2018)

Open Libraries

The more open library concept is relatively new and controversial, especially outside Scandinavia. Even so, this combination of staffed and unmanned library services is beneficial to the community and it ensures the need for libraries is fulfilled, especially in smaller communities. Thus, open libraries are being used to extend opening hours and not to reduce staffed hours. In response to financial challenges, while wanting to improve services to the public, Peterborough Libraries were among the first libraries in the UK to roll out the UK’s first open model of libraries. In our chat with Lisa Roberts, Head of Culture and Leisure at Peterborough City Council, she emphasized that the way in which patrons use the library is changing: “the public consultation revealed that the most valued aspects of libraries are the ability to borrow books, access to information and the possibility to access the library outside of normal opening hours“.(Bibliotheca smart-libraries D, 2017)


  1. (PDF) Library automation: Issues, challenges and remedies author. (2015, January 1). ResearchGate.
  2. About traverse area district library. (n.d.). Traverse Area District Library.
  3. About us. (2017, September 7). Evergreen ILS.
  4. Admin. (2014, February 21). History of library automation. Library & Information Science Network.
  5. Bibliotheca smart libraries. (2017, May 19). Peterborough City Council – open+ – Open Libraries Case Study UK [Video]. Retrieved from
  6. Current technology trends in libraries. (2019, March 6). Retrieved from
  7. Free coursework. (n.d.). Essay UK – essay and dissertation examples.
  8. Guides: Digital storytelling: What is digital storytelling? (2020, April 7). Retrieved from
  9. Kowalczyk, P. (2018, March 18). Library of the future: 8 technologies we would love to see. Retrieved from
  10. Library automation:: Advantages of library automation. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  11. Need, steps, and challenges of library automation. (2016, September 7). Retrieved from
  12. According to Adekanye (2011), the suitability of a package could be assessed based on the following: Producer/vendor reputation and reliability based on the performance of previous installations

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