Why open-source library software is a trend

Maryland’s Kent County Public Library (KCPL) has been using Evergreen for almost a year and is fully hosted and supported by Equinox Software.

Andrea Buntz Neiman, head of technical services for the library system, said that while there are always a few bugs to work out in a new product, she and her colleagues are very pleased with the transition.

KCPL made the decision to switch to Evergreen after learning that a server and software upgrade, both needed within 18 months of each other, would cost the small library system roughly $80,000.

“It came out to cost and convenience.  The money we saved was very significant for a small library,” she said.

And while some of the library’s older staff took time to adjust to the switch, younger employees reportedly have enjoyed taking ownership of the system.

“We’re happy with the product and feel that we can positively influence its development, because it’s early in the life cycle,” Buntz Neiman said.

“We saved a ton of money, and we could put that money into books and programs and things that our patrons care about,” she added.

The Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) No. 35, which serves roughly 2,500 students, began using Koha at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year, after Technology Director Scott Bourgoin made the decision to consolidate the district’s library systems.

Before Koha, the district used three different library management systems operating in five schools, with little communication or organized data interchange among them, Bourgoin said.

Installing Koha also allowed the district to push its resources out into the community.

“We wanted to reach out to the community and offer those services in ways that were not previously available,” Bourgoin said.