VOKAL, The Vermont Koha Project

Hello all,

As many of you know, for the past 18 months, a group of 30 libraries have been working on installing, modifying, and developing our own version of the open source integrated library system Koha. Named vokal (Vermont Organization of Koha Automated Libraries) and administered by the Green Mountain Library Consortium, this project is working to bring the benefits of open source and the Koha ILS to Vermont by bringing libraries together to pool resources and support.

The group is currently entering the end of Phase I, the initial development phase. By the end of the summer, 11 libraries in the group are planning to be running individual installations of the vokal Koha ILS, testing it and creating documentation. It is our plan that, at the end of this phase, we will have a version of Koha easily accessible to libraries in Vermont. We hope this will be the case by the end of 2009.

We also have begun looking ahead to Phase II, where, once Koha version 3.2 is released in the Fall, the group will begin looking at creating a consortium version of the vokal ILS. We plan on developing a robust and reliable “union catalog,” where patrons will first be able to see their home library’s holdings, but then patrons — and staff — will be able to easily see what other participating library has the item. Koha is entirely web-based, as the vast majority of current systems are, and it is our plan that this ILS will be remotely hosted, with support, training, and updates provided by ByWater Solutions, development provided by vokal, and web 2.0 add-ons like LibraryThing for Libraries, AquaBrowser, or similar (these add-ons to be determined by project participants).

Beginning in August, we will be opening enrollment for libraries wishing to participate in Phase II. The cost to participate is currently set at 3 cents per bibliographic record (as opposed to holdings), with a minimum fee of $250. Even Library World costs more! Your fee goes directly to providing support and training, and into the development pool for new features and fixes.

Please let us know at vermontkohaproject@gmail.com if you have questions about Koha or the project, and if you would be interested in more information or beginning to participate in Phase II.
You can also find out more about the project by visiting http://gmlc.wordpress.com/koha-project/, and reading the vokal fact sheet or Koha FAQ.

Stephanie Chase
Stowe Free Library
Post Office Box 1029
90 Pond Street
Stowe, Vermont 05672