As Bibliomation begins our own open source investigation, we are very interested in talking to those libraries who have already decided to migrate to open source.
I had the chance earlier this month to talk with Stephanie Chase, the library director of the Stowe Public Library, in Vermont. Stephanie, along with some of her colleagues, have banded together to form the Green Mountain Library consortium. Originally formed to provide their patrons with OverDrive downloadable audiobooks, they have expanded their mission to moving from individual Follett systems to Koha’s ILS.
Phase One of their plan involves bringing up individual Koha systems for 20 of these interested public libraries. They will be using committees (PAC improvements, circulation, etc.) to focus on the various improvementst they will need to develop in the existing Koha software. They plan to hire a programmer and web designer and share their time among all library participants.
They chose Koha because they viewed the software as more mature than the other open source ILSes available to them. Koha is programmed in Perl and uses MySQL and they had some experience with these programming languages.
They have version 3.0 up on a test server and are currently testing data importing. They plan to bring up Koha on inexpensive Linux servers and roll them out to all libraries by January 1, 2009.
Phase Two will involve blending all of these individual databases together to make one consortial system. They will begin work on phase two in June 2009.
To follow their progress, you can check out their wiki.
Since our paths are running somewhat parallel, we plan to stay in touch with them so that we can exchange information along the way.
On Wednesday, I plan to talk with Amy DeGroff of the Howard County Library System, in Maryland. Howard County is in the middle of their migration to Koha and they plan to bring up their new system this fall. I will post the summary of my phone call with Amy to the blog later this week.