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Vision. Wouldn’t it be great if …. Vision. … all of the networks were on the same ILS platform for both collaborative staff training purposes and patron ease of use ?. Vision.

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Wouldn’t it be great if …



… all of the networks were on the same ILS platform for both collaborative staff training purposes and patron ease of use?



... all the networks were on the same ILS platform so that resource sharing could be more efficient across artificial network boundaries?



… we were able to focus our tremendous combined resources (finances and staff) on creating a superior ILS product for our member libraries and their patrons?



… In light of serious state budget situation we now turn around and provide a clear strategic plan for more efficiently utilizing state and local taxes for library automation and resource sharing?



... instead of sending hundreds of thousands of maintenance dollars to California, Utah and Alabama, with little to show in return, we keep that money here in Massachusetts to support our own staff and development?



... we combined our staff expertise and software development money to support the Evergreen Integrated Library system?

Why now

Why now?

Proven success of open-source as a business model

Progress made on open-source ILS products

Open source advantages

Open-Source Advantages

  • Engaging end-users in design and testing.

  • Adopting transparent development processes.

  • Control over development process

  • Reducing support costs.

  • Establishing our own priorities in development process.

  • Avoiding lock-in.

  • Lower system acquisition costs.

  • Not buying blind – kick the tires

Open source advantages1

Open-Source Advantages

  • Makes it financially possible to develop a common/shared platform while still on our proprietary platforms

Why Evergreen?

Developers asked the right questions:

  • Is the data driving the procedure, or is the procedure driving the data?

  • Do these processes REALLY make any sense, or are we just doing this because it is what we’ve always done? Librarians are great at making up workarounds that then get grandfathered into procedure.

Why Evergreen?

Developers took the right approach:

  • Open-source software, released under the GPL.

    • Designed to “spread beyond Georgia.”

  • Designed from the ground up to support and scale to a state-wide library consortium.

Why Evergreen?

Developers took the right approach:

  • Worked with focus groups, consisting of librarians that work the circ desk, do the cataloging, know the workflow.

  • Maintained a Consortium perspective

How can we do this?

Two possible approaches

How can we do this?

Option #1: Each network migrates to common open-source ILS platform independently

Option #2: Each network migrates to common open-source ILS platform cooperatively

Benefits of Cooperation

  • Sharing Knowledge and Experience

  • Greater Influence Within Open-Source Community

  • Better Grant/Funding Appeal

  • Efficiencies of Scale

    • Shared training, documentation and PR

    • Improved Software Support


Massachusetts Library Networks Cooperative


  • Networks Administrators, with the help of MBLC, form the MassLNC entity

  • MassLNC “hires” coordinator

  • MassLNC establishes partnership with Equinox or another Evergreen support vendor.

  • Networks assign a few of their own staff, based on their initial level of interest, to establish a team headed by coordinator


MassLNC team duties during first year:

  • Get training on Open-Source ILS platform

  • Establish detailed ILS functional requirements for each participating network

  • Track development of ILS software

  • Develop HelpDesk and Intranet support infrastructure and procedures

  • Develop database migration tools and procedures


MassLNC team duties during second year:

  • Help migrate first volunteer network

  • Help migrate second and third volunteer networks

  • Help migrate new volunteer network

  • Provide ILS “vendor” support services to migrated networks


If not now, when?