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ILS on a Shoe-string Budget: Open-source software in a non-profit organization

This poster session was significant to me – it not only represents the first time I’ve presented a poster session, but the first time I’ve ever contributed at a conference. It also allowed me the opportunity to share with others what I’ve been working on for the better part of a year – moving catalogue records to a new ILS for a small library with very little budget. I have been and continue to be fortunate to work with the Head Librarian, Zack Osborne, at the Toronto Botanical Garden Library and fellow volunteer Lee Benson, to create this poster outlining how we managed to migrate records to an open-source software platform for a non-profit organization with no budget, vendor assistance or consultants.DSC00013

By the number of conversations we had at the conference it became apparent that TBG is among many small libraries out there looking for free and open source software solutions to automate their libraries. Indeed a number of sessions at the conference were dedicated to technology solutions for libraries with small or no IT departments and little budget for technology. As a team of volunteers, we learned everything we needed to know about the scope of the project using free online resources and collaborating to share our collective expertise. Without a budget to hire vendors/consultants for this type of project it was perhaps a much longer journey that included many hiccups along the way. However, sometimes the journey is the best part and it certainly was in this case because along the way I gained invaluable professional development and networking opportunities – and had fun while doing it!

http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/uncategorized/ils-on-a-shoe-string-budget-open-source-software-in-a-non-profit-organization/

Zachary Osborne, Head Librarian, Toronto Botanical Garden Library

Volunteer Library System Support Analysts:
Jolene Bennett, Library Technician
Lee Benson, Librarian

Abstract:
Without the budgetary means to purchase proprietary software or hire consultants, the Weston Family Library at the Toronto Botanical Garden embarked upon an ambitious project to migrate its catalogue from InMagic to Koha, an open-source ILS platform. In building a new catalogue, the many challenges were handled through collaborative learning and support from Koha’s online community. This poster describes the win-win process of using volunteer talent in a tight labour market to create an ILS in a non-profit organization. By recruiting library technician and librarian volunteers, the library gained its necessary catalogue upgrade, and volunteers gained incomparable and marketable experience.

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