Evergreen Open-Source Integrated Library System
Problem StatementIn order to survive and remain relevant, public libraries must have greater control over their library system software to optimize the work environment for staff and provide state-of-the-art services for patrons. However, the proprietary integrated library system (ILS) software used by most libraries today ensures vendors have control instead of the libraries themselves. Libraries are paying high costs to license software that they have very little influence over. Even minor changes and bug fixes can be unreasonably expensive, if the changes are allowed at all.
In a major multi-year software development effort, KCLS significantly upgraded the Evergreen open-source ILS, originally developed and implemented by the state of Georgia in 2006. KCLS enhanced the ILS effectively to serve a large multi-agency metropolitan or large suburban system. Concurrently, KCLS received a $1M grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (ILMS) to work with seven other public library partners, also committed to going forward with Evergreen. The goals of the grant project are to:
- Promote open-source adoption by articulating the benefits to libraries.
- Increase participation in open-source projects.
- Make open-source conversions a viable option for public libraries by providing infrastructure elements related to planning, implementation, training, development and support.
- Develop a new model of peer-to-peer support for open-source libraries.
In a nutshell, the purpose of both the development and the grant projects are to build a really great ILS that all public libraries can use and change, based upon their own service needs, without being at the mercy of a commercial vendor, and without having to pay expensive ongoing software licensing costs.