Own a personal Library? Maintaining an Index? This is my story

When I was small, my parents had bought me some story books. So, there were some books I owned when I moved to the Collage from the Junior school. Seeing the large library at the collage fascinated me and I started reading like a madness. My father was also an employee of the same school in the administration and therefore, I got a chance of borrowing more than 2 books from the library at a single time. (Actually I borrowed like 10-12 books at once) And its only 2 weeks and those books were finished.

I wanted to have my own library those days. I told you before, I had some books, like 50 story books at home. So, what I did was gave numbers to those books, like 001, 002, 003, 004….. and paste a paper on the back side of the cover, like in libraries, to write the lender name, date, etc. Ah, I also made that card system to keep record of the people who borrow the book. But the thing was the only borrowers of the books from my little library was my self and my sister. 😀

Then I started lending books to my friends. Some more books were added to the library during the next 3 years. And yes, also I lost some books which were not received after lending. Then like in grade 8, I closed down my library to my friends as that was not a sustainable service for my self.

I started purchasing books my self after collecting balances of key money I received from my parents since like in grade 09 in school. Then I needed a much robust system to record the books and index them. So, I removed most of those early books from my library (the kids books) (Removed in the sense, removed them from records but the books were still there, and when I was doing A/Ls, I donated all those books to a school at Habarana, Polonnaruwa during the A/Ls group project) and re-started recording the books details on a CR book with a much structured system.

Index Number : 001 Dolagale Billa (දොලගළේ බිල්ල) a teen adventure novel by author Gunasekara Gunasoma was the first book in my new library.

With time, although my reading style was changed, my library grew and now I have like 440 books in my library, consisting of teen novels, educational books, adult novels, religious books, history books, literature books, etc.

However, few years back, I needed to go digital with my library indexing. I needed a “Library Management Software”. Those days, there were no high end android phones, or library management mobile apps. (Actually I hadn’t thought about it either.). So what I did was, I moved to an excel sheet on Google drive. Then I faced issues with unicode, loading problems, hard to read from phone, etc. So then I moved to MS Excel with a cloud synced excel sheet. That thing, I maintained for like 2 years.

I needed a much user friendly, features rich, having a UI, easy to access and on the go available, system.

So, I checked the internet for such apps which are cross platform friendly. Found few apps but they did not took my mind.

So tried with many standalone mobile apps in the market and the below are the top 3 I found for this purpose.

  1. My Library
  2. Handy Library
  3. Liblib

Then I tried online web sites to do the job. And only one was at least little suitable for me.

  1. Liblib

I also checked on freely available php web scripts used for library management. The things I found were not good looking for me although they gave good options.

Finding no good solution, I tried to build my own system on WordPress (a php web script, a CMS if you don’t know) using available plugins. That was not a good solution as getting data in to that was again not an easy task and also getting data in and out was so slow.

Mh. Still I didn’t have what I needed.

Although I checked on PC software, I didn’t go in to them as I wanted my system to be accessed via my mobile phone.

Then suddenly I found a cross platform app called “Memento Database”. When looking for more details, I found an inspiring post of the same app on some Book readers group in FB. But when I checked it out, the cloud space given to the free account was not enough and the ISBN cloud scan function was only limited to Google Books database.

So again I ended up with nothing. As I currently have my books list on an excel I needed to have a system which can import that data in. So moving to a totally new app and entering data from the beginning is a time of waste., which I didn’t wanted to do.

One year passed by and I was still entering my book data to that old MS Excel sheet.

After going to this year’s BMICH International Book Fair, the need arose again.

With all the previous evaluations an the mobile apps, PC apps, Web based apps available in the market, I decided to go for……

Memento

The best thing about Memento was, IT CAN IMPORT MY CURRENT EXCEL SHEET.

With the options available, I disregarded the 2 cons of the app.

  1. It can only scan through “Google Books” database for auto adding book contents after scanning the book’s ISBN bar code.
  2. I cannot add many cover images as the cloud storage was only limited to 50MB.

Inspite of those cons, now I’m using the same app for like one week and, IT IS SO FAR SO GOOD.

I’d like to talk more about this app in another article, and tell you how I managed to utilize the 50MB limited space for storing more than 1000 cover images.

So, HAPPY READING EVERYONE.

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