John’s ALA Talk

Koha The ILS that keeps on giving
By John Brice

Executive Director Meadville Public Library, System Administrator, Crawford County Federated Library System

Slide 1. My talk today is about the open source Koha Integrated Library System. How it came into being, what in the heck does Koha mean, how it works and of course how it works in the Crawford County Federated Library System.

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Slide 2. The word Koha means the gift that keeps on giving in the New Zealnd indigenous language of Maori. But within the meaning of the word koha is also an unspoken understanding of responsibility that this gift is to be savored and enjoyed many times over.

Slide 3. We had two basic reasons why the Crawford County Federated Library System decided to use and invest our funds into the Koha ILS project. In short I was upset, as an administrator, of throwing away good serviceable hardware because some new piece of software needed a faster cpu or more RAM. Secondly, I was sick and tired of having to work around software. Current closed ILS’s make you alter your policies to fit the program. I wanted to be able to change the ILS program to fit our policies.

Slide 4. The Crawford County Federated Library System has a long history of using open source software in our operations. So it did not scare us when we were investigating purchasing a new ILS to seriously consider an open source ILS. I know using open source in libraries is considered risky however, we have found that it works, is reliable, and is in the long run a very low cost solution.

Slide 5. When we first began to investigate replacing our old DOS based circ system, we actually preferred another proposed open source ILS called OpenBook. Unfortunately OpenBook never released its code. We originally did not consider Koha a viable option because it lacked critical features such as MARC support.

Slide 6. In order to understand our apprehension in the beginning, I need to take a moment and describe how Koha came into being.

The Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand found out in 1999 that its old circulation program would not run in the new millennium and that commercial software was way to expensive for its budget. So Rosalie Blake, Head of Libraries approached a local firm called Katipo and they proposed to create a new open source system. After a lot of discussion and some trepidation, HLT agreed to commit to the project.

Slide 7. The original requirements for Koha were rather basic, that it run at a reasonable speed, be easy for staff and patrons to use, have a graphic interface, be used through a web browser, require little upgrading of hardware, and provide decent financial reporting. Sticking to the idea of open source Koha was written using Linux, MySQL database, and PERL programming.

Slide 8. When we first downloaded and installed Koha in 2001 this is the version we first saw. As mentioned above the major problem in running it in a US library was the lack of MARC support. In 2002 Nelsonville Public Library solved that problem by funding a project that added MARC to Koha. Shortly after Nelsonville got Koha up and running CCFLS visited them to see how it worked. The trip brought up one big issue with Koha, speed. We noticed that the response time from the clients to the servers was just barely acceptable. Koha, at that time had what is commonly referred to as a scalability problem. What worked fine for a library with less than 50,000 items would not work well for a library system with 400,000 items.

So, CCFLS hired a third party company, Liblime to create a new version of Koha that used the Zebra Index engine. This modification significantly increased the speed of the program for large libraries and library systems and allowed libraries with collections of up to 4 million plus items to use Koha. This new version called Koha Zoom became operational in early 2007 when it was implemented in a public library in Western Proveance, France in January of 2007.

Slide 9. While Koha’s index engine was being rewritten CCFLS designed a new user interface for the program. After a series of meeting with system librarians we rewrote the Nelsonville templates to create our own look and feel to the program.

We began using Koha at Meadville Public Library in May of 2007. We shut the old circulation system down at closing on a Saturday and had Koha up and running, with all of the bibliographic, patron and transaction data reinstalled on Monday morning. Not only did we change the software but we also reconfigured the computers from running Windows to a thin client architecture using Ubuntu as the open source operating system. We then converted the other eight member libraries of CCFLS over to Koha by the end of 2008. We are still running the “devWeek version” of Koha, though we plan to switch over to Koha
3.0 in early October.

Slide 10. The staff as a whole has accepted Koha well. There are a number of things that the staff did not like about the program. In most cases we could fix the problem ourselves, usually within a day or two, or write a new script which added capability to the program. For example, we discovered you could not use the word “not” in the OPAC. That problem took two days to fix. Another example, some staff did not like the results page for title searches. So we added a new script which gave the added ability to list books in the same manner as our circulation system. In fact the biggest problem now, is that the staff knows we can alter the program so they are regularly proposing new things to add. We have also rewritten the fines module, and tied in our Web Kiosk program, LibKi, to authenticate users.

Slide 11. As for costs we did spend almost exactly the same amount for Koha as we would have implementing a commercial vendor. The cost of the upgrade to the Koha software was over $35,000. We also spent slightly over $15,000 on new computer servers and barcode scanners. So the overall total cost was slightly over $50,000, which ironically was within a few thousand dollars of what it would have cost to purchase a closed source ILS.

Slide 12. A major criticism of open source software is that there are no guarantees that a particular program will survive into the future. The key to successfully installing open source software is an active community of users and developers. Koha has a worldwide base of both users and developers in France, United States, Africa, New Zealand and even Nepal.

In our experiences we have found OS software to be more reliable and we receive faster support than closed source firms. However, if you wish to support Koha internally you need access to someone, staff member or consultant, who understands Linux and is comfortable using a command line. Fortunately these skills can be learned. Our Head of IT Cindy Murdock, has an undergraduate degree in Art History and a MLIS. All of her Linux skills have been learned on the job. Two and half years ago we hired a full time programmer, Kyle Hall to help support and modify our open source software programs. Kyle has a Masters Degree in programming which he earned at a Edinboro University.

Another option is to hire a commercial service to help install, manage, support your OSS ILS. CCFLS has in the past purchased support from a commercial Koha service, Liblime. We hired Liblime because we thought we might need help as we migrated. However, we discovered that we could handle 99 percent of the task of migration on our own. We did rely on Liblime for a couple of issues and to help us figure out why things did not work right.

Slide 13. At this moment I would like to just discuss the philosophy we librarians have been following concerning the acquisition of ILS software. From the perspective of the 1980′s using a circulation system from a third party closed source vendor was a smart solution. Programming computers was difficult, computer hardware was very expensive, support for hardware in a third tier city was next to impossible and there really was only one computer to support and manage.

Slide 14. From todays perspective using third party closed source vendors to provide libraries with ILS software is no longer the only solution it once was. Software can be easily written in modern computer scripts, running on hardware that is cheap and easily supported by individuals who can be trained at local community colleges. This means that libraries can have individuals on staff that can write and or alter open source software to fit their unique needs.

Slide 15. In conclusion, I would like to leave you with this thought. I believe Koha unequivocally fulfills the need for an open source alterable program that can be utilized by any library of any size. Koha may not be the solution for everyone, however, every library should have a viable open source solution ILS option available to them. If, for no other reason, than to help negotiate the best possible price from a vendor.

Meville Dewey once said “The librarian must be the librarian militant before he can be the librarian triumphant.” So in the spirit of the militant tux shown here on the screen and of Melville Dewey I challenge all of you to arm up and look into using open source technology in your libraries.

KUDOS Meeting ALA Midwinter

KUDOS (Koha Users and Developers of Open Source)

We will be meeting at ALA Midwinter

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crown Plaza Hotel

1:30 to 3:30 PM

I will not be able to attend (budget cuts). However, John Houser of Palinet will be hosting the meeting in my stead.

The preliminary agenda is rather sparse. We will be updating everyone on our status of getting a charter and recognized by the IRS.

If anyone is interested in putting anything on the agenda please let me know. We could have a discussion on what features we would like to see in the future, for example.

If you plan to attend please send me an e-mail at jbrice@ccfls.org so we have an idea of who is attending.

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John’s article on Open Source Software in Libraries

Modus Operandi for 21st Century Library Technology:
Using open source software to become the library triumphant

By John Brice
Executive Director, Meadville Public Library
System Administrator, Crawford County Federated Library System

“Open source” allows independently developed modules to work together in a large system due to mutually agreed principles. It insures integration and interoperability because: the system as a whole provides a framework -an architecture- that allows for both independence of structure and integration of function.
MIT Open Source Building Alliance White Paper

Introduction

Open Source Software (OSS) is any program whose source code is made available for use or modification by whomever wants to modify it. Historically, the makers of proprietary software have generally not made source code available. Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and then distributed freely.

OSS can be an operating system, like Linux or a application program like Firefox. The Firefox browser is an excellent example of open source software (OSS). It is a browser that supports all operating systems, it has easily added components, called plug ins, and continues to develop without the ownership of a company.

OSS is based on the principle of the scientific method. Since Renaissance times science has improved because all significant scientific principles can be tested and retested. The scientific method requires that everyone involved have free and open access to all principles, methods and written instructions. The open source process allows software to evolve as developers rewrite and improve previous programmers efforts. With OSS programmers can focus on writing the most efficient software.

Companies have recently discovered the power and sophistication of OSS . For examples Google uses an OSS operating system called FreeBSd on all of its servers. What Google has discovered is that standard PC equipment and OSS software can be integrated into a system that exploits the best capabilities of both.

Approximately eight years ago the library I work for the Crawford County Federated library System (CCFLS) stumbled upon OSS. Once we completed our first project and discovered that the software worked, could be installed on any type of equipment, was easily supported, didn’t crash and was essentially free we were hooked. Since then every time we have added technology to our library system we have evaluated OSS. In most cases OSS wins out and we begin developing our next project.

Below is an article that describes the journey we have followed using OSS and were we plan to take it into the future. Part one describes the difference between proprietary (closed source) and free (OSS) software. The second part describes how the CCFLS used OSS to implement our technology infrastructure including how we installed our new state of the art ILS system. The final part lays out a future in which libraries do not have to follow predetermined paths of outside parties such as vendors but can develop our own technology infrastructure by embracing the OSS methodology.

Part 1 Open vs. closed source technology

…high-tech companies—stop messing with us on your treadmill of upgrades while making the old stuff obsolete. It may be that any software company that didn’t routinely upgrade its product would go out of business. But what if the rest of the world worked this way? Oh, I lost a sock. I need to get a whole new wardrobe because the replacement sock is version 2.0.1, and the stores now only sell version 2.0.3.
Jamie Hynamenn – Mythbusters

In 1981 I started working as a per-diem clerical worker at the Erie County Library System. One of my duties was backing up the CLSI computer before we began operating. The computer was the size of a large desk with the hard drives housed in draws large enough to fit the paperwork for a LSTA Project. Everything was prepackaged and worked out of the box, so to speak. Had a problem call Boston, need more speed call Boston, need a catalog module, wait for Boston to write a module and then send a check.

Of course as the years progressed circulation systems added OPAC’s, Acquisition, Periodical modules, etc. The original vendors went out of business or merged with other vendors. As more libraries became customers it was impossible to tailor the product for your own policies or circumstances. Libraries learned to change policies to fit the requirements of the program. Libraries also learned that if a system went obsolete it had to be changed when the vendor said now, often at a significant price. And Library Directors learned that they had to budget an ever increasing sum every year for “support”. Vendors learned that patron information did not have a standard so it was fair game to organize it into proprietary formats. The more proprietary the system the harder it is for a library to migrate. Wall Street hedge funds learned that if you merge two ILS companies together you can fire half the staff and move all of the customers onto one platform.

While all the above was happening to circulation systems libraries discovered that they needed personal computers, patron kiosks, administrative software, e-mail, web servers, etc. Of course when confronted with these needs libraries relied on strategies from past IT projects. We purchased canned software from a vendor and then figured out a way to integrate it into our operations or more likely, rearrange operations to fit how the software works. One mainframe circulation computer morphed into Local Area Networks then Wide Area Networks and then Virtual Private Networks. All the time more software was being purchased and of course licenses had to be purchased and of course there was the support costs. In fact many libraries had to purchase software just to manage all of the digital rights of all the software they had purchased.

The Crawford County Federated Library System (CCFLS) did all of the steps described above. By 1998 we had multiple vendors supplying us with software to do all of the tasks required to run a 21st century library. I was not happy though for two reasons. First, the vendors controlled the architecture and purchasing decisions for my network. I was constantly throwing away good serviceable hardware because some new piece of software needed a faster cpu or more RAM. Secondly, I was sick and tired of having to work around the software. In 1999 we decided to start using open source in our operations.

Part II Implementing Open Source

Talk is cheap. Show me the code.
Torvalds, Linus (2000-08-25).

The CCFLS is now very comfortable in implementing Open Source Solutions in our nine member libraries. We learned to build upon success. We view our open source projects as building infrastructure. We started implementing small projects that were not necessarily mission critical. As we became more comfortable rolling our own systems we developed the confidence to tackle more difficult tasks.

It all started rather innocently enough. In 1999 we needed a router/firewall for our seven rural libraries. One of my rural Directors was married to a retired meteorology professor, Ben Bullock. Ben had been using Linux for five years to run his home brewed weather station. Ben suggested we could do the whole project for the cost of one new computer. We purchased 10 old Compaq 486′s for $20.00 each ripped out the harddrives, installed some network cards and had the whole thing boot up off the floppy using a Linux OS called LTSP. The computers worked great. As an administrator I learned that with OSS capability does not necessarily correspond with high cost. The old routers were gradually replaced with newer higher performance equipment when the libraries switched over to broad band. Of course all of the new routers ran an open source operating system.

System wide (nine libraries) we use open source tools for our web site (Apache, WordPress, the Scout Portal Toolkit), e-mail (qmail, squirrelmail, Spam Assassin), Internet firewalling, proxying, and filtering (OpenBSD’s pf, squid, squidGuard, and Dans Guradian). We also use a thin client based Kiosk system based of the LTSP for public Internet access. Of course we have stand alone Linux workstations for both staff and the public. Even with Windows computers we still use OSS tools such as Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice.

We finally converted our old circulation system to the open source Koha ILS in May 2007. Koha has worked well for CCFLS. It provides us with superior quality software that does not crash, that is tailorable, and is very well supported by an international community of developers who are deeply passionate about the product.

The common underlying theme of successfully installing open source software is an active community of users and developers. With an active community of developers and a large number of users open source projects become self sustaining. With a large group of users there is incentive for the developers to improve and support the program. With a large group of programmers the users can expect to receive continual upgrades and can easily find support.

Getting Koha installed in Crawford County took over four years and cost over $50,000. So much for the idea of open source software being free. When we first began to investigate replacing our old DOS based system, we actually looked at another proposed open source ILS called OpenBook. Unfortunately OpenBook became vapor ware. We originally did not consider Koha a viable option because it lacked support for MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging).

In 2002 Nelsonville Public Library funded the project that added MARC to Koha. When we visited Nelsonville we were concerned about Koha’s response time. Nelsonville was about 80% of our size and their response time was just barely acceptable. Koha had what is commonly called a scalability problem. What worked fine for a library with less than 50,000 items would not work for a library system with more than 300,000 items.

After CCFLS evaluated commercial software in 2005 we decided to go to the OSS route and selected the Koha ILS program. However, before implementing Koha we hired Liblime to create a version of the program that used the Zebra Indexing engine. This modification significantly increased the speed of the program for large library’s and library systems. The new version of Koha called Koha Zoom became operational in early 2007 and was in fact implemented in a public library in western Proveance, France in January of 2007.

While Koha’s index engine was being rewritten CCFLS designed a new user interface for the program. After a series of meetings with system librarians we rewrote the Nelsonville templates to create our own look and feel to the program. Since Koha is completely web based the client computers can be any type as long as it can open a web page. We used what some describe as a riot of colors on our pages. This was done due to help support our many small libraries which use volunteers and part time staff to man the libraries. It is very easy to tell someone to click on the big red button.

We began using Koha at our largest Library, Meadville Public Library, in May of 2007. We shut the old circulation system down at closing on a Saturday and had the new system and all of the data up and running on Monday morning when the staff came in. Not only did we change the software but we also reconfigured the computers from running Windows locally to a thin client architecture using Ubuntu as the operating system.

The staff, as a whole, has accepted Koha well. There are a number of things that the staff did not like about the program. In most cases we could fix the problems our selves or write a new script which added capability to the program. For example, some of the staff did not like the search function for titles. Se we added a new script which gave the added ability to list books in the same manner as our old circulation system. In fact the biggest problem now, is that the staff knows we can alter the program so they are regularly proposing new things to add.

As for costs we did spend almost exactly the same amount for Koha as we would have implementing a commercial vendor. The cost of the upgrade to the Koha software was over $35,000. We also spent slightly over $15,000 on new computer servers and barcode scanners. We did reuse our old Windows machines by converting them over to thin clients. The savings in using an OSS solution was what we paid for the upgrade benefited all current and future libraries using Koha. In a way it is a version of paying it forward. Libraries such as Howard County Library System in Maryland are planning to use Koha, that library could not have used Koha without the work of the Nelsonville Public Library and the Crawford County Federated Library System paid to have done to the program.

The CCFLS Network Administrator, Cindy Murdock has written a pretty good analogy concerning open source software and cost. Cindy explains it this way:

...it’s like renting a house vs. buying one… If you’re renting, you usually can’t do much to the house; your landlord isn’t likely to let you tear walls down or build addition. However, if the plumbing breaks…he’ll send someone to fix it. If you own your own house, you can do whatever you want to it, but you’re responsible for either doing the work yourself or paying someone else to do it. So OSS’s is like owning the house…

Two common complaints about OSS is that there is no support available and commercial support is much superior. We have found both complaints to be false.

Usually a commercial software company has a department called customer support which answers customer problems. Customer support bases their answers on a database of questions that was developed by the programmers and on previous answered questions. If a customer has a previous unreported problem or bug then that problem will have to go from the customer support department to the programming department. The programming department may not have the time to fix the problem so they will get to it when they can.

With OSS we make sure that the program has an active community with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list that is updated on a regular basis. Most problems can be answered through the FAQ lists. If you have an uncommon problem or discover a bug, you usually can contact the person who wrote the program or who is currently writing code for the next upgrade. In most cases the problem can be fixed through e-mails. If the program doesn’t have time to do it right know you can always ask a local programmer to help with the problem. We have done this technique using our in staff programmer, Kyle Hall.

In our experiences we have found OS software to be more reliable and we receive faster support than commercial software firms. However, you have to realize that you need access to someone, staff member or consultant, who understands Linux and is comfortable using a command line. Fortunately these skills can be learned.

Another option is to hire a commercial service to help install, manage, support your OSS. For example Red Hat supports its own version of the Linux Operating System. CCFLS has purchased a year of support from a commercial Koha service, Liblime. We hired Liblime because we will be needing help as we migrate. However, once the migrations end we may decide that we have enough in house skill to manage the program without a commercial support contract.

From the perspective of the 1980′s using a circulation system from a third party closed source vendor was a smart solution. Programming computers was difficult, computer hardware was very expensive, support for hardware in a third tier city was next to impossible and there really was only one computer to support and manage.

From todays perspective using third party closed source vendors to provide libraries with ILS software is no longer the simple solution it once was. Software can be easily written in modern computer scripts, running on hardware that is cheap and easily supported by individuals who can be trained at local community colleges. A big difference between the eighties and now is that the ILS is the primary point of entry for the public to access library resources. This makes the relationship between library and the ILS vendor extremely important in fact critical for the successful operation of the library.

As Meadville Public Library has shown any library , no matter what the size, can be a significant player in developing OSS solutions. Any library, no matter what the size, could fund developers to write installation packages, user manuals and provide help to participating libraries.

OSS may not be the solution for everyone, however, every library should have a viable open source solution option available to them. If, for no other reason, than to help negotiate the best possible price from an IT vendor.

Part 3 Open Source and the 21st century library

“The librarian must be the library militant before he can be the librarian triumphant.”
Melvil Dewey

Melvil Dewey was a library militant. His classification scheme was extremely controversial. When Dewey implemented his scheme at Columbia University the professors were so outraged, books were no longer organized by size, they forced him out as University Librarian.

Dewey understood that the industrial revolution created large quantities of book titles. The result of the new book technology was large libraries. Large libraries acted differently than small libraries. One person could no longer remember what was in a large library. Dewey was daring enough to publish his classification scheme so that it became the standard. Dewey’s genius was not just classification and cataloging but also realizing that libraries needed to follow the same standards. His work was so successful that today the public knows how libraries are organized, no matter what the size or type.

Or, I should say, they did know how libraries are organized. In the past ten years technology has usurped the card catalogs, Dewey/LC classification schemes, the Periodical Guide, encyclopedias, etc. This transition has happened swiftly and right under our collective noses. We can thank one law for all of this, Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law is named after its author Gordon E. Moore co-founder of Intel. Moore’s Law was first published in Electronic Magazine April 19, 1965. The law states that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially, approximately doubling every two years. This law is the reason computer power continually decreases year after year after year. Moore’s law explains how we all can purchase a $500 laptop that is more powerful than a 1998 super computer which cost millions of dollar.

In my opinion, the most important influence on librarian ship for the past thirty years has been Moore’s Law. Why is Moore’s Law so important? Because society as a whole and librarians in particular failed to properly plan for the wholesale unleashing of ever cheaper digital technology on our society. Society and libraries have done nothing but react to the latest technology.

Instead of anticipating Moore’s Law we have adapted to it. As technology has spread over the past generation we have incorporated it into our operations. Libraries have been very good at stretching adapting and incorporating the latest digital wonder to fit into the standards and practices that past generations developed. Of course libraries have been clever enough to add and expand the old standards to make it work a little easier with digital technology however, the bottom line is we have grafted twenty first technology onto nineteenth century standards.

The results have been startling to see. While libraries cling to old standards and practices companies not tied to library school thinking have begun to access information through databases not catalogs. When the price of storing a full book digitally costs mere cents why not access information through a large electronic concordance index instead of catalog? Dewey couldn’t catalog every word in every book manually, but we can digitally.

Due to libraries failing not to anticipate the consequences of Moore’s Law libraries have lost the monopoly on information. In the past, no matter what the type of library: academic, public, special, school, libraries had the largest concentration of information. Patrons, customers, students, had to come to the library to get the information they needed. Now society has changed and so has the the perception of accessing information.

A large portion of society feels that when they need information they can get it first off the web, they only come to the library if they cannot find what they need off the internet first. As any librarian well knows the perception is not the reality. The web may be an ocean of information but it is only four inches deep. However, the public in general, believes that the web can answer any and all questions. Why travel to a physical space when cyber space has all the answers?

Of course within that last thought there is a germ of truth to it. Cyber space can provide useful and easily accessible information. The quote from Melvil Dewey above did not come from a print resource but was the result of a Google search. It wasn’t because I did not know how to look up a quote in print it was because I was to lazy to go the the reference department to look it up. Same result less effort.

Libraries need to develop new thinking in acquiring, spreading and disseminating information. Instead of of thinking how to incorporate the latest technology into the library we should be thinking how technology can be incorporated into the idea of the library. In other words we should have the standards, practices, and services in place to be able to distribute reliable and accurate information no matter how it is provided. On top of that we have to provide the information just as easily as commercial providers.

Libraries cannot move forward by saying that we will educate the public on the importance of using libraries to do research. Frankly, we are not as convenient, flexible, and as nondescript as a Google search. Google just provides a web page where the answer may of may not be. And as hard as it may be for librarians to to accept we do not have the influence or marketing power to change that convenience.

As a profession librarians need to look at our standards, policies and services and to develop new ones that meet the reality of todays cheap information technology and widespread distribution methods. We need to think 5, 10, 20 years out about what will happen when internet access is available in the air and computers are the size of a piece of paper and can be folded into your pocket.

CCFLS is looking at these options right now and trying to investigate solutions to these questions. Within the next few months CCFLS will be opening a research and development lab in some unoccupied space at one of our libraries. The idea will be to see what can be done now, practically and what is still pie in the sky. And even if it is pie in the sky today we can reliably guess when it will be practicable by using Moore’s Law.

Some of the services we are investigating include: a universal electronic user interface that answers questions, not just points users to information resources. The need to provide electronic databases of our complete non-fiction collections that can be accessed and searched by our patrons through the universal interface. The need to provide access to all materials in whatever the format throughout our facility.

Of course any one of these ideas is a huge challenge and considering the size of CCFLS be considered quite grandiose. However, by using modern development and communication tool we can reach out and develop a community of like minded libraries that can break huge tasks into many small steps. Many libraries have the time to do a little project now and again. By using the open source idea libraries of all sizes can come together and build the 21st century library. CCFLS asks all libraries, software developers, and anyone else interested to help incorporate the idea of the library into the latest technology.

My KOHA talk at ALA

Koha The ILS that keeps on giving

By John Brice
Presented at American Library Association Annual Convention
Saturday June 26, 2008

My talk today is about the open source Koha Integrated Library System. How it came into being, what in the heck does Koha mean, how it works and of course how it works in the Crawford County Federated Library System.

Before I go into my prepared notes on Koha I would just like to share with you my thoughts and philosophies concerning open source software.

I wish to begin by quoting one of the hosts from the tv show Myth Busters, Jamie Hynamenn:

…high tech companies-stop messing with us on your treadmill of upgrades while making the old stuff obsolete. It may be that any software company that didn’t routinely upgrade its product would go out of business. But what if the rest of the world worked this way? Oh, I lost a sock. I need to get a whole new wardrobe because the replacement sock is version 2.0.1, and the stores now only sell version 2.0.3

Or we could analyze what the founder of Linux operating system Linus Torvalds has said:

Talk is cheap show me the code.

These two quotes basically follow my thinking on why the Crawford County Federated Library System decided to use and invest our funds into the Koha ILS project. In short I was tired as an administrator of throwing away good serviceable hardware because some new piece of software needed a faster cpu or more RAM. Secondly I was sick and tired of having to work around software. Current closed ILS’s make you alter your policies to fit the program. I want to be able to change the ILS program to fit our policies.

As will be demonstrated by our next speaker Cindy Murdock the Crawford County Federated Library System has a long history of using open source software in our operations. So it did not scare us when we were investigating purchasing a new ILS to seriously consider an open source ILS. I know using open source in libraries is considered risky however, we have found that it works, is reliable, and is in the long run a very low cost solution.

Actually everyone in this room has experience using open source software. How many people here use Google? How about Amazon.com? Both of these corporations use open source software to run their primary business units. When you are on their web pages those pages are being served up by open source operating systems running commodity computer servers. If extremely successful commercial companies can benefit from open source why hot libraries?

CCFLS is very comfortable in implementing Open Source solutions in our nine member libraries. We have learned to build upon success. We view open source projects as building infrastructure.

Getting Koha installed in Crawford County took over four years and cost over $50,000. So much for the idea of open source software being free. When we first began to investigate replacing our old DOS based circ system, we actually preferred another proposed open source ILS called OpenBook. Unfortunately OpenBook never released its code. We originally did not consider Koha a viable option because it lacked critical features such as MARC support.

In order to understand our apprehension in the beginning, I need to take a moment and describe how Koha came into being.

…..Once upon a time in country where there are 40 sheep for every human there was a little library system that had a really big y2k problem..

Can you tell that I once did story times?

OK, back to the narrative the Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand found out in 1999 that its old circulation program would not run in the new millennium and that commercial software was way to expensive for its budget. So Rosalie Blake, Head of Libraries approached a local firm called Katipo and they proposed to create a new open source system. After a lot of discussion and some trepidation, HLT agreed to commit to the project.

The original requirements for Koha were rather basic, that it run at a reasonable speed, be easy for staff and patrons to use, have a graphic interface, be used through a web browser, require little upgrading of hardware, and provide decent financial reporting. Sticking to the idea of open source Koha was written using Linux, MySQL database, and PERL programming.

When we first downloaded and installed Koha in 2001 this is the version we first saw. As mentioned above the major problem in running it in a US library was the lack of MARC support. In 2002 Nelsonville Public Library solved that problem by funding a project that added MARC to Koha. Shortly after Nelsonville got Koha up and running CCFLS visited them to see how it worked. The trip brought up one big issue with Koha, speed. Nelsonville was about 80% of our size and we noticed that the response time on the servers was just barely acceptable. Koha, at that time had what is commonly referred to as a scalability problem. What worked fine for a library with less than 50,000 items would not work well for a library system with 480,000 items.

So, CCFLS hired a third party company, Liblime to create a new version of Koha that used the Zebra Index engine. This modification significantly increased the speed of the program for large libraries and library systems and allowed libraries with collections of up to 4 million plus items to use Koha. This new version called Koha Zoom became operational in early 2007 when it was implemented in a public library in Western Proveance, France in January of 2007.

While Koha’s index engine was being rewritten CCFLS designed a new user interface for the program. After a series of meeting with system librarians we rewrote the Nelsonville templates to create our own look and feel to the program.

We began using Koha at Meadville Public Library in May of 2007. We shut the old circulation system down at closing on a Saturday and had Koha up and running, with all of the bibliographic, patron and transaction data reinstalled on Monday morning. Not only did we change the software but we also reconfigured the computers from running Windows to a thin client architecture using Ubuntu as the operating system.

One key item about Koha is that only the server needs to run on an open source server. Since Koha is completely web based the client computers can be any type, including Windows, Macs, Linux,the only requirement is that it can open a web page.

The staff as a whole has accepted Koha well. There are a number of things that the staff did not like about the program. In most cases we could fix the problem ourselves, usually within a day or two, or write a new script which added capability to the program. For example, we discovered you could not use the word “not” in the OPAC. That problem took two days to fix. Another example, some staff did not like the search for titles. So we added a new script which gave the added ability to list books in the same manner as our circulation system. In fact the biggest problem now, is that the staff knows we can alter the program so they are regularly proposing new things to add.

As for costs we did spend almost exactly the same amount for Koha as we would have implementing a commercial vendor. The cost of the upgrade to the Koha software was over $35,000. We also spent slightly over $15,000 on new computer servers and barcode scanners. We did reuse our old Windows machines by converting them over to thin clients.

The word Koha means the gift that keeps on giving in the New Zealnd indigenous language of Maori. But within the meaning of the word koha is also an unspoken understanding of responsibility that this gift is to be savored and enjoyed many times over.

I believe that what CCFLS has enhanced and improved the program Koha so that future libraries can benefit from it. In a way it is a version of paying it forward. Libraries such as Howard County Library System in Maryland are planning to use Koha, that library could not have used Koha without the investment made by the Horowhenua Library Trust, Nelsonville Public Library and the Crawford County Federated Library System.

A major criticism of open source software is that there are no guarantees that a particular program will survive into the future. The key to successfully installing open source software is an active community of users and developers. With an active community of developers and large number of users open source projects become self sustaining. With a large group of users there is an incentive for the developers to improve and support the program. With a large group of programmers the users can expect to receive continual upgrades and can easily find support. Koha has a worldwide base of both users and developers with France, United States, and New Zealand having large numbers of libraries using the software.

Two other common complaints about OSS is that there is no support available and commercial support is much superior. We have found both complaints to be false.

Usually a closed source software company has a department called customer support which answers customer problems. Customer support bases their answers on a database of questions that was developed by the programmers and on previous answered questions. If a customer has a previous unreported problem or bug then that problem will have to go from the customer support department to the programming department. The programming department may not have the time to fix the problem so they will get to it when they can.

With OSS we make sure that the program has an active community with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list that is updated on a regular basis. Most problems can be answered through the FAQ lists. If you have an uncommon problem or discover a bug, you usually can contact the person who wrote the program or who is currently writing code for the next upgrade. In most cases the problem can be fixed through e-mails. If the program doesn’t have time to do it right know you can always ask a local programmer to help with the problem. We have done this technique using our in staff programmer, Kyle Hall.

In our experiences we have found OS software to be more reliable and we receive faster support than closed source firms. However, you have to realize that you need access to someone, staff member or consultant, who understands Linux and is comfortable using a command line. Fortunately these skills can be learned. Two and half years ago we hired a full time programmer, Kyle Hall to help support and modify our open source software programs. Kyle has a Masters Degree in programming which he earned at a Edinboro University.

Another option is to hire a commercial service to help install, manage, support your OSS ILS. CCFLS has purchased a year of support from a commercial Koha service, Liblime. We hired Liblime because we will be needing help as we migrate. However, once the migration ends we may decide that we have enough in house skill to manage the program without a commercial support contract.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with this thought. From the perspective of the 1980′s using a circulation system from a third party closed source vendor was a smart solution. Programming computers was difficult, computer hardware was very expensive, support for hardware in a third tier city was next to impossible and there really was only one computer to support and manage.

From todays perspective using third party closed source vendors to provide libraries with ILS software is no longer the only solution it once was. Software can be easily written in modern computer scripts, running on hardware that is cheap and easily supported by individuals who can be trained at local community colleges.

Another big difference between the eighties and now is that the ILS is the primary point of entry for the public to access library resources. The Crawford County Federated Libraries System has concluded that it is in our own best interest to have complete and utter control over this vital piece of technology.

Koha may not be the solution for everyone, however, every library should have a viable open source solution ILS option available to them. If, for no other reason, than to help negotiate the best possible price from a vendor.

Now, I will take a few minutes here and show you a few screen shot slides of the Koha program in action.

KUDOS Draft By-laws

BYLAWS
of the
KUDOS
(Draft for Discussion Purposes Only)
A Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation

ARTICLE 1 – DEFINITIONS
SECTION 1.1 Definitions.
The following terms used in these Bylaws shall have the meanings set forth below.
A.”Act” means the Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1988, as amended.
B.”Board” means the Board of the Corporation.
C.”Member” means an organization that is in good standing with the corporation.
D.”Commonwealth” means the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
E.”Corporation” means KUDOS.
F.”Director” means an individual serving on the Board.
SECTION 1.2 Statutory Definitions.
Other capitalized terms used in these Bylaws shall have the applicable meanings set forth in Part II of Title 15 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

ARTICLE 2 – PURPOSES
SECTION 2.1 Purposes.
The purposes of the Corporation are educational, literary, and scientific, specifically: to promote the study and improve the Koha Circulation System

ARTICLE 3 – OFFICES
SECTION 3.1 Offices.
The registered office of the Corporation shall be located in the Commonwealth. The Corporation may have any number of offices at such places as the Board may determine.

ARTICLE 4 – SEAL
SECTION 4.1 Seal. The Seal of the Corporation shall be in such form as the Board may determine.
SECTION 4.2 Seal Not Required.
Except as otherwise required by statute, the affixation of the Seal shall not be necessary to the valid execution, assignment, or endorsement by the Corporation of any instrument in writing.

ARTICLE 5 – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 5.1 Membership. The Corporation shall have one class of membership.
SECTION 5.2 Qualifications. Any library currently using the Koha on-line circulation system as its primary circulation program and or catalog.
SECTION 5.3 Application for membership. Applications for membership can be requested from the Secretary of the Corporation. Completed applications are to be submitted to the Secretary.
SECTION 5.4 Admission to membership. The Secretary will present the application to the Board for consideration at it is next scheduled meeting. The decision of the Board shall be final ad conclusive.
SECTION 5.5 Fees and dues. All fees and or dues are to determined by the Board of Directors.
SECTION 5.6 Membership in good standing. A member in good standing, within the meaning of these by-laws, is one who is not in default in the payment of dues.
SECTION 5.7 Membership voting power. Each member library is entitled to one vote.
SECTION 5.8 Nonpayment of membership dues. Membership of any member whose dues for the calendar year remain unpaid after the end of May in the following year shall have its membership terminated.
SECTION 5.9 Transfer of membership. Membership in the club shall not be transfered or assigned.

ARTICLE 6 – BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SECTION 6.1 Board of Directors.
The business and affairs of the Corporation shall be managed under the direction of the Board. The powers of the Corporation shall be exercised by, or under the authority of, the Board, except as otherwise provided by statute, these Bylaws, or a resolution of the Board.
SECTION 6.2 Qualification of Directors.
Each Director shall be a natural person of full age who need not be a resident of the Commonwealth.
SECTION 6.3 Number and Election of Directors.
The Board shall consist of not fewer than one and not more than four Directors. The Directors shall be determined by the Board at the annual meeting of the Board. Each Director shall be elected for a perpetual term or for such other term as the Board may determine by resolution.
SECTION 6.4 Term of Office.
Each Director shall hold office until the expiration of the term for which he or she was elected and until his or her successor has been elected and qualified or his or her earlier death, resignation, or removal.
SECTION 6.5 Procedure for Nomination of Candidates for Directors.
a. No person shall be eligible for election as a Director at a meeting of the Board unless he or she has been duly nominated in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (b) of this Section.
b. The President shall announce at the meeting of the Board the number of Directors to be elected at the meeting, shall declare the nominations of candidates for election as Director are open and shall call for nominations from the floor. Nominations may be made by any Member who is entitled to vote at the meeting. Nominations need not be seconded. After nominations have been made, the President shall, on motion, declare the nominations closed, and thereafter no further nominations may be made.
SECTION 6.6 Vacancies.
Vacancies in the Board, including vacancies resulting from an increase in the number of Directors, shall be filled by a majority of the remaining Directors though less than a quorum. Each person so elected shall be a Director to serve for the balance of the unexpired term.
SECTION 6.7 Removal of Directors.
Any Director may be removed from office without assigning any cause by the vote of a majority of the Board at any meeting of the Board.
SECTION 6.8 Resignations.
Any Director may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Corporation. The resignation shall be effective upon receipt by the Corporation or at such subsequent time as may be specified in the notice of resignation.
SECTION 6.9 Compensation of Directors.
No Board member shall receive any pay or restitution for serving on the board. The Board does have the authority to authorize the reimbursement of travel expenses, of Directors.
SECTION 6.10 Voting Rights.
Every Director shall be entitled to one vote in person or by proxy.
SECTION 6.11 Voting by Proxy.
Any absent Director entitled to vote at any meeting of the Board may be represented and may vote at such meeting by a proxy authorized in writing. Such written authorization must specify the matter with respect to which the proxy is granted, must be signed and dated by the Director granting the proxy, and must be filed with the Secretary of the Corporation

ARTICLE 7 – COMMITTEES
SECTION 7.1 Establishment and Powers.
The Board may, by resolution adopted by a majority of the Directors, establish one or more committees to consist of one or more Directors of the Corporation. Any such committee, to the extent provided in the resolution of the Board, shall have and may exercise all of the powers and authority of the Board, except that no committee shall have any power or authority as to the following.
a. The filling of vacancies in the Board.
b. The adoption, amendment, or repeal of the Bylaws.
c. The amendment or repeal of any resolution of the Board
d. Action on matters committed by the Bylaws or by resolution of the Board to another committee of the Board.
SECTION 7.2 Term.
Each committee of the Board shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.
SECTION 7.3 Committee Organization.
Each committee shall keep regular minutes of its proceedings and report the same to the Board at each regular meeting. Each committee shall determine its own organization and times and places of meetings unless the Board otherwise directs.

ARTICLE 8 – MEETINGS
SECTION 8.1 Place of Meetings.
Meetings of the corporation may be held at such place within or without the Commonwealth as the Board may appoint or as may be designated in the notice of the meeting.
SECTION 8.2 Annual Meeting.
Unless the Board provides by resolution for a different time and date, the annual meeting of the corporation, for the election of Directors, the election of officers, or the transaction of any other business which may be brought before the meeting, shall be held at the annual American Library Association Convention. The actual date of the meeting will be determined and advertised to the membership at least sixty calendar days before the meeting.
Immediately after each election of Directors, the newly constituted Board shall meet without prior notice at the place where such election of Directors was held, or at any other place and time designated in a notice given as provided in section 11.1, for the purposes of the election of officers or the transaction of any other business.
SECTION 8.3 Regular Meetings.
Regular meetings of the Corporation may be held at such place and time as shall be designated by standing resolution of the Board. If the date fixed for any such meeting is a legal holiday under the laws of the Commonwealth, the annual meeting shall be held on the next succeeding business day which is not a legal holiday under the laws of the Commonwealth or at such other time as may be determined by resolution of the Board. At such meetings, the Directors shall transact such business as may properly be brought before the meeting. Notice of the regular meetings need not be given.
SECTION 8.4 Special Meetings of the Corporation.
Special meetings of the Corporation may be called by the President or by any Director and shall be held at such time and place as shall be designated in the call for the meeting. Five days’ notice of any special meeting shall be given to each Director pursuant to Section 11.1 or by telephone. Such notice shall state the time and place of such special meeting but need not state the purpose of the special meeting.
SECTION 8.5 Quorum.
A majority of the Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The acts of a majority of the Directors present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the acts of the Board.
SECTION 8.6 Participation in Meetings.
One or more Directors may participate in a meeting of the Board or a committee thereof by means of conference telephone, interactive computer network, or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can communicated with each other.
SECTION 8.7 Organization.
Every meeting of the Board shall be presided over by the President or, in the absence of the President, a chairman chosen by the President. The Secretary or, in the absence of the Secretary, a person appointed by the President, shall act as Secretary. The Treasurer or, in the absence of the Treasurer, a person appointed by the President, shall act as Treasurer.
SECTION 8.8 Consent of Directors in Lieu of Meeting.
Any action which may be taken at a meeting of the Directors may be taken without a meeting, if a consent or consents in writing, setting forth the action so taken, shall be signed by all Directors and filed with the Secretary of the Corporation.
ARTICLE 9 – OFFICERS
SECTION 9.1 Number.
The officers of the Corporation shall include a President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer; and such other officers as the Board may determine by resolution. Any number of offices may be held by the same person.
SECTION 9.2 Qualification of Officers.
The officers shall be natural persons, except that the Treasurer may be a corporation. The officers may be, but are not required to be, Directors of the Corporation.
SECTION 9.3 Election and Term of Office.
The officers of the Corporation shall be elected by the Board at any meeting of the Board and each shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.
SECTION 9.4 Removal of Officers.
Any officer may be removed from office without assigning any cause, by a majority of the Board at any meeting of the Board.
SECTION 9.5 Resignations.
Any officer may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Corporation. The resignation shall be effective upon receipt by the Corporation or at such subsequent time as may be specified in the notice of resignation.
SECTION 9.6 The President.
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Corporation and shall have general supervision over the business and operations of the Corporation, subject to the control of the Board. The President shall execute, in the name of the Corporation, deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, and other instruments authorized by the Board, except in cases where the execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board to some other officer or agent of the Corporation. In general, the President shall perform all duties incident to the office of President and such other duties as may be assigned by the Board.
SECTION 9.7 The Secretary.
The Secretary shall attend all meetings of the Board. The Secretary shall record all votes of the Board and the minutes of the meetings of the Board in a book or books to be kept for that purpose. The Secretary shall see that the required notices of meetings of the Board are given and that all records and reports are properly kept and filed by the Corporation. The Secretary shall be the custodian of the Seal of the Corporation and shall see that it is affixed to all documents to be executed on behalf of the Corporation under its Seal. In general, the Secretary shall perform all duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as may be assigned by the Board or the President.
SECTION 9.8 The Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall have custody of corporate funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements in books belonging to the Corporation. The Treasurer shall have full authority to receive and give receipts for all money due and payable to the Corporation, and to endorse checks, drafts, and warrants in its name and on its behalf and to give full discharge for the same. The Treasurer shall deposit all funds of the Corporation, except such as may be required for the current use, in such banks or other places of deposit as the Board may designate. In general, the Treasurer shall perform all duties incident to the office of Treasurer and such other duties as may be assigned by the Board or the President.

ARTICLE 10 – NOTICE
SECTION 10.1 Written Notice.
Whenever written notice is required to be given to any person, it may be given to such person, either personally or by sending a copy thereof by first class or express mail, postage prepaid, or by, Telex, or TWX (with answer back received), or courier service, charges prepaid, or by facsimile transmission, to his or her address (or to his or her Telex, TWX, or facsimile number) appearing on the book of the Corporation or, in the case of Directors, supplied to him or the Corporation for the purpose of notice. If the notice sent by mail, or courier service, it shall be deemed to have been given to the person entitled thereto when deposited in the United States mail, or with a courier service for delivery to that person or, in the case of Telex or TWX, when dispatched. A notice of meeting shall specify the place, day, and hour of meeting and any other information required by the Act. Except as otherwise provided by the Act or these Bylaws, when a meeting is adjourned, it shall not be necessary to give any notice of the adjourned meeting, or of the business to be transacted at an adjourned meeting, other than by announcement at the meeting at which such adjournment is taken.
SECTION 10.2 Waiver by Writing.
Whenever any written notice is required to be given, a waiver thereof in writing, signed by the person or persons entitled to the notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed equivalent to the giving of notice. Neither the business to be transacted at, nor the purpose of, a meeting need be specified in the waiver of notice of the meeting.
SECTION 10.3 Waiver by Attendance.
Attendance of a person at any meeting shall constitute a waiver of notice of the meeting, except where a person attends a meeting for the express purpose of objecting, at the beginning of the meeting, to the transaction of any business because the meeting was not lawfully called or convened.

ARTICLE 11 – CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
SECTION 11.1 Interested Directors and Officers.
A contract or transaction between the Corporation and one or more of its Directors of officers or between the Corporation and any other corporation, partnership, association, or other organization in which one or more of its Directors or officers are directors or officers, or have a financial interest, shall not be void or voidable solely for such reason, or solely because the Director or officer is present at or participates in the meeting of the Board which authorizes the contract or transaction is authorized, or solely because his, her, or their votes are counted for that purpose, if:
a. the material facts as to the relationship or interest and as as to the contract or transaction are disclosed or are known to the Board and the Board in good faith authorizes the contract or transaction by the affirmative votes of a majority of the disinterested Directors even though the disinterested directors are less than a quorum; or
b. the contract or transaction is fair as to the Corporation as of the time that it is authorized, approved, or ratified by the Board.
Common or interested Directors may be counted in determining the presence of a quorum at a meeting of the Board which authorizes the contract or transaction

ARTICLE 12 – INDEMNIFICATION
SECTION 12.1 Indemnification.
The Corporation shall indemnify any Director or office of the Corporation and who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any proceeding (which shall include for the purposes of this Article any threatened, pending, or completed action, or other proceeding whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of the Corporation)) by reason of the fact that such person was or is an authorized representative of the Corporation against expenses (which shall include for purposes of this Article attorney’s fees), judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with such action or proceeding if such person acted in good faith and in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the Corporation and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe such person’s conduct was unlawful.
SECTION 12.2 Advancement of Expenses.
The Corporation shall pay the expenses (including attorneys’ fees and disbursements) actually and reasonably incurred in defending a proceeding on behalf of any person entitled to indemnification under Section 12.1 in advance of the final disposition of such proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of such person to repay such amount if it shall ultimately be determined that such person is not entitled to be indemnified by the Corporation as authorized in this Article. The financial ability to make such repayment shall not be prerequisite to the making of an advance.
SECTION 12.3 Security for Indemnification Obligations.
To further effect, satisfy, or secure the indemnification obligations provided herein or otherwise, the Corporation may maintain insurance, obtain a letter of credit, act as self-insurer, create a reserve, trust, escrow, cash collateral, or other fund or account, enter into indemnification agreements, pledge or grant a security interest in any assets or properties of the Corporation, or use any other mechanism or arrangement whatsoever in such amounts, at such costs, and upon other terms and conditions as the Board shall deem appropriate.
SECTION 12.4 Reliance Upon Provisions.
Each person who shall act as a Director or officer of the Corporation shall be deemed to be doing so in reliance upon the rights of indemnification provided by this Article.
SECTION 12.5 Amendment or Repeal.
All rights of indemnification under this Article shall be deemed a contract between the Corporation and the person entitled to indemnification under this Article pursuant to which the Corporation and each such person intend to be legally bound. Any repeal, amendment, or modification hereof shall be prospective only and shall not limit, but may expand, any rights or obligations in respect of any proceeding whether commenced prior to or after such change to the extent such proceeding pertains to actions or failures to act occurring prior to such change.
SECTION 12.6 Scope of Article.
The indemnification, as authorized by this Article, shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification or advancement of expenses may be entitled under any statue, agreement, vote of shareholders or disinterested Directors or otherwise, both as to action in an official capacity and as to action in any other capacity while holding such office. The indemnification and advancement of expenses provided by, or granted pursuant to, this Article shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a Director or an officer of the Corporation in respect of the proceedings pertaining to actions or failures to act occurring prior to such time, and shall inure to the benefits of the heirs, executors, and administrators of such person.
ARTICLE 13 – ANNUAL REPORT
SECTION 14.1 Annual Report.
The President and Treasurer shall present the Board at its annual meeting a report, verified by the President and Treasurer or by a majority of the Board, showing in appropriate detail the following:
a. The assets and liabilities, including trust funds, of the Corporation as of the end of the fiscal year immediately preceding the date of the report.
b. The principal changes in assets and liabilities, including trust funds, during the year immediately preceding the date of the report.
c. The revenue or receipts of the Corporation, both unrestricted and restricted to particular purposes, for the year immediately preceding the date of the report, including separate data with respect to each trust fund held by or for the Corporation.
d. The expenses or disbursements of the Corporation, for both general and restricted purposes, during the year immediately preceding the date of the report, including separate data with respect to each trust fund held by or for the Corporation.
The annual report of the Board shall be filed with the minutes of the annual meetings of the Board.

ARTICLE 14 – TRANSACTION OF BUSINESS
SECTION 14.1 Real Property.
The Corporation shall make no purchase of real property nor sell, mortgage, lease away, or otherwise dispose of its real property, unless authorized by the vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Board. If the real property is subject to a trust, the conveyance away shall be free of trust and the trust shall be impinged upon the proceeds of such conveyance.
SECTION 14.2 Negotiable Instruments.
All checks or demands for money and notes of the Corporation shall be signed by such officer or officers as the Board may designate.

ARTICLE 15 – CORPORATE RECORDS
SECTION 15.1 Corporate Records.
The Corporation shall keep at its registered office or at its principal place of business (a) an original or duplicate record of the proceedings of the Board, (b) the original or a copy of its Bylaws, including all amendments thereto to date, and (c) appropriate, complete, and accurate books or records of account.

ARTICLE 16 – AMENDMENTS
SECTION 16.1 Amendments.
The Bylaws of the Corporation may be amended by a majority vote of the Board at any meeting after written notice of such purpose has been given.

ARTICLE 17 DISSOLUTION
SECTION 17.1 Dissolution of Corporation
A two-thirds vote of the membership shall be required to sell or mortgage assets of the corporation not in the regular course of business or to dissolve the corporation.
SECTION 17.2 Disposition of assets
Upon dissolution of the corporation, any assets remaining after payment of or provision for its debts and liabilities shall, consistent with the purposes of the organization, be paid over to either the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or charitable organizations exempt under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or corresponding provisions of subsequently enacted federal law. No part of the net assets or net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of or be paid or distributed to an officer, director, member, employee, or donor of the organization.

ARTICLE 18 – MISCELLANEOUS
SECTION 18.1 Fiscal Year.
The fiscal year of the Corporation shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December.
SECTION 18.2 Number.
The singular when used in these Bylaws shall also refer to the plural, and vice versa, as appropriate.
SECTION 18.3 Headings.
In interpreting these Bylaws, the headings of articles shall not be controlling.

The Ecstasy of Influence

Ran across this great essay by Jonathan Letham. His basic premise is that copyright has strangled creativity and the pursuit of learning. He talks a great deal about the creative commons and the pursuit of the gift economy. It is worth the investment of time to read this.

Posted in Uncategorized

Koha User Group

PRESS Release

DATE: 5/14/07

FROM: Crawford County Federated Library System

TO: Members of the media

CONTACT:John Brice System Administrator jbrice@ccfls.org

SUBJECT:Koha User Group Organizational Meeting

An organizational meeting of users of the Koha Integrated Library System (ILS) will be held during the American Library Association Convention in Washington D.C. The meeting will be held June 24, 2007 at 1:00 pm at the Best Western Georgetown Hotel and Suites (see below for address).

Koha is an Integrated Library System written using the open source model. Libraries from around the world have contributed to develop an ILS that can be distributed freely throughout the world. Libraries across the US are now starting to implement the Koha ILS. To gage whether there is sufficient interest in forming a Koha User Group CCFLS has developed an on-line interest survey.

The survey is located here

Please feel free to fill the survey out, if you do not plan to attend the Organizational Meeting.

The purpose of the organizational meeting will be to introduce other users of the Koha ILS and review of the Koha ILS Interest Survey. If sufficient interest in forming a formal group is expressed then the meeting may develop an action plan for future tasks and actions.

The Meeting is being sponsored by a new user of the Koha ILS the Crawford County Federated Library System located in rural northwest Pennsylvania. Anyone needing additional information should contact John Brice at the Meadville Public Library 814-336-1773.

Location of the meeting:

Best Western Georgetown Hotel and Suites
1121 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington D.C.
(Located two blocks from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station)

Posted in Uncategorized

Finding the price of a book

Have you ever purchased a book and wondered if you could find it cheaper somewhere else? I know I have. Well thanks to the “bots” on the Internet you can now price shop for both new and used books at a site called Booksprice.com. Both new and used books can be looked up. Not only is the price of the book shown but also the shipping price so you can see the total price of acquiring the book.

Future Tech Trends

Ran across this slide presentation entitled Future Tech Trends for Public Libraries by Sarah Houghton. Covers some very interesting ground concerning the future of library provided computers and OPACS.

Sarah Houghton is the e-Services Librarian for Marin County Free Library, President of the California Library Association’s Information Technology Section, serves on LITA’s Top Technology Trends Committee, and is a consultant instructor for the Infopeople Project. If you know what’s good for you, read her blog about libraries and technology, Librarian In Black.