Written by John R. Clark - GREENVILLE - The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation awarded $23,000 to the Tri-County Librarians to implement Koha open-source library software in eight member libraries. Interest in Koha, which was developed by the Horohenua Library Trust, a small library system in New Zealand, stemmed from Hartland Public Library's successful adoption in 2007. It is currently being used by more than 300 libraries around the world.
Koha, a Linux-based software, offers many of the options large, expensive circulation and cataloging software packages do, but as open-source is freely available to anyone skilled in its use. The grant will purchase a server to run the shared catalogues, training for member library participants, new barcodes, support for the institution maintaining the server and funds to cover expenses of Tri-County Library members involved in the setup and loading of the eight library catalogs. Grant funding covers a three-year period beginning in late summer 2008 and concluding in mid-2011.
The grant, jointly written by Liz Breault director of the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter, John Clark Hartland librarian and Helen Fogler director of the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft will be administered for the Tri-County Librarians by the Shaw Public Library in Greenville.
The King grant funds will allow implementation of Koha in the following libraries: Penquis Valley High School in Milo, Canaan Public Library, Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter, Newport Public Library, Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft, Shaw Public Library in Greenville, Stewart Free Library in Corinna and Simpson Memorial Library in Carmel.
Once a member library is up and running, patrons will be able to see library holdings from home as well as renew, place reserves and see recently checked-out items. The Tri-County Librarians, a group of public and school libraries in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset Counties plans to share expertise gained during the grant process with other Maine libraries following completion.
For more information about the grant and Koha, contact Karen Chandler, Shaw Library Director at 695-3579
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