Monday, December 13, 2010

Why a New Library Catalog?

Cost savings!
The Arcadia Public Library is very excited about the new implementation of the open source integrated library system (ILS) called Koha. Through a grant from the California State Library, the Arcadia Public Library was able to cover some of the initial costs to change over to this new system. The Library contracted with ByWater Solutions who so diligently worked with the Library over these past several months to make this migration happen.

Koha is the name of the open source software that we have moved to. It was originally developed in New Zealand by Katipo Communications Ltd. for Horowhenua Library Trust. It first went live in January 2000. Koha is currently maintained by a team of software providers and library technology staff from around the world. There are over 1,000 libraries running on Koha internationally.

Why Koha and why now? The past two years have been financially tough for public libraries and Arcadia Public Library has been no exception. The Library was asked to hold the line on costs and/or reduce costs as much as feasible. Costs for the old ILS continued to climb every year and the Library was unsuccessful in getting the vendor to keep costs the same or to reduce them. The Library has been interested in an open source library system for a couple of years and when staff compared costs, it was very impressive with what was "free" with an open source package. This included the initial purchase, additional modules that were unattainable due to high costs before, upgrades, licensing and more. It's not completely free but it is a big savings from what was being paid. The Arcadia Public Library is the first Library in Southern California and second in the State of California to move to an open source Library Catalog.

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