Considering Koha

The following post was a part of a fictionalized assignment, imagining that our principal asked us to consider switching from Destiny to Koha .

What is open source?

Open source resources provide free access to resources such as software, web applications, and automation systems. There are many available tools such as SubjectsPlus for managing library websites; GCompris, educational games; and Firefox, a web browser (Baratta, 2014).  

According to Breeding (2017), Koha is presently the most used open source integrated library system (ILS). Library Technology Guides reports that Plano ISD, a neighboring school district, currently uses Koha with support from ByWater Solutions. Koha provides the following functions: circulation, patron record management, cataloging, an online catalog, self-service, and language support among others.

 

Considerations

The benefits of Koha are first and foremost the price, but users also report preferring Koha’s community development and customization options (Breeding, 2017). Security may be an initial concern, but it seems an unlikely risk given the number of library systems successfully using the system.

There are several concerns to consider. At this time, implementing a new ILS would require training teachers in the new system. This may be a frustration for teachers who are already currently implementing new curriculum in four content areas. It is also important to note, that our current automation system, Follet Destiny, is paid for out of the district library budget and is used by every school in the district. If our campus chose to use a different automation system, it would not end up saving local funding and we would lose access to the technical support currently provided and managed by the district.

I recommend that we continue to use Follett Destiny. If we want to consider Koha in the future, I recommend discussing it with our district library leadership and consulting with Plano ISD. For now, I propose that we investigate other free resources that may be able to replace our local subscription-based services.

 

References

Baratta, N. (2014, April 14). Five open source tools libraries need to know about [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://opensource.com/education/14/4/top-5-open-source-tools-libraries

Breeding, M. (2017). Koha: The original open source ILS. Library Technology Reports, 53(6), 9-17.

Breeding, M. (2017). Plano Independent School District Library Media Services. Library

Technology Guides. Retrieved from https://librarytechnology.org/library/41352

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