Case Study 1
The National Smallville Library caters to the 1000 odd people that are living in the township. The three-storey library houses more than 200,000 books and caters to almost 1000 users daily. It also has 300 computers for the library users, equipped with a broadband Internet service. The library is open 24-hours and has a cafeteria.
The library is equipped with a state-of-the-art computer system that keeps track of all borrowers and books in the library. Every month, the system updates the Chief Librarian of the status of borrowers (e.g. outstanding borrowers) as well as outdated books.
The library users are normally students of the Smallville High School and working adults from around the town. To use the facilities of the library, an application form must first be filled up and given to the Library Clerk. The Library Clerk will then process the form and record the applicant’s data into the computer, where the data will be stored in a file. A Member Card with the user’s details will then be given to the applicant.
Members can then use the card to borrow books. The card must be passed to any of the available Issue Clerks on duty when a book is borrowed. The Issue Clerk will record the details of the loan into a Loan File, where the date due and member’s data are input. When a member returns the book, the Issue Clerk will retrieve the data from the Loan file, and once processed, will then return the member’s card. Any late returns and late charges will also be recorded into the loan file.
A member can also make enquiries and reservations for book via the telephone to the Issue Clerk. The Issue Clerk will record all enquiries and reservations in a Reservation file in the system. If the book is not available, the reservation will be flagged with a ‘Pending’ status. Once a reserved book is returned by a member, the system will immediately and automatically scan through the Reservation file for pending reservations, and if the book is reserved, the system will immediately send a notification to any of the Issue Clerk’s terminal. The Issue Clerk will then notify the Member, where the member will then be able to borrow the book
Any cancellation of reservation must be done via the Issue Clerk through telephone. The Issue Clerk will then purge the record from the Reservation file if a booking is cancelled.
The system processes approximately 2000 transactions a day, and processes peak at noon when majority of the members return or loan books. Thus, the library requires constant maintenance from the company that designed the system, LaxCorp Computers. Maintenance fee is high, as each session requires a team of 5 engineers from LaxCorp and costs approximately RM1000 per session. Thus, the state government, which funds the library, is currently looking for alternatives to minimize maintenance costs.