Thursday, August 12, 2010

We're On Our Way

Good News! We just signed our contract with ByWater Solutions for the migration, installation, training, and maintenance of our new Integrated Library System--Koha. But... Wait! Wait! Perhaps I need to tell you a bit about our Library first.

Arcadia Public Library is a small city library in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. At this time, we have 161,145 bibliographic records, 200,216 item records, and our annual circulation for 2009-10 was 729,000. We have 61, 025 borrowers, and a staff of 27 full-time and 16 part-time employees.

We have had three different ILS systems in the past 20+ years. We started with Inlex, migrated to DRA's Taos in 2000, and then migrated in 2002 to SirsiDynix's Unicorn. Our current version of Unicorn is Symphony 3.3.0. Our needs for an ILS are minimal. We are a one building library, so no branches. We have only the basic modules...cataloging, circulation, reports, OPAC, and collections. We had considered adding more modules (acquisitions and serials) but never could afford them and, in fact, we felt since we were so small we could do without them.

The past two years have been financially tough for public libraries; Arcadia Public Library is no exception. We had been asked by the City to either hold the line in costs or to reduce as much as feasible. We ended up freezing a couple of positions. Costs for our ILS maintenance, hardware, and content enhancement continued to climb, even though we pleaded poverty to SD. In 2008-09 that we started investigating open source software.

Our intention in writing this blog is to document our project, from the decision to go with Koha and every step along the way to our goal of "going live"...and perhaps beyond.

There will be at least two contributors to this blog, Jackie Faust-Moreno, Library Services Manager, and Cathi Wiggins, Information Systems Specialist. There maybe additional bloggers as we go along. Each blogger will give their name at the end of the blog so you know their perspective. Enjoy the story of our journey...

Jackie and Cathi

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