The Vermont Organization of Koha Automated Libraries (VOKAL), is a project of the Green Mountain Library Consortium dedicated to creating a shared catalog and Integrated Library System. The project took flight in late 2007 with the installation of 3 stand-alone Koha instances to replace the libraries' legacy Follett systems and another 4 libraries automating into Koha through 2009.
In 2010, VOKAL launched Vermont's first union catalog hosted and supported by ByWater Solutions with the majority of the implementations being undertaken in-house by the talented and forward-thinking VOKAL implementation team made up of:
- Amy Boisvert of the Jerico Town Library,
- Wendy Hysko of the Brownell Library
- Kim Peine, of the Dorothy Alling Library
- Richard Pritsky, of the Carpenter Carse Library and the recipient of the 2010 Sarah Hagar Award for outstanding service and support to Vermont's libraries.
Since that time more than 30 libraries have been migrated to that system.
Despite the announcement of the VT State library going towards an Evergreen ILS sometime in 2013, VOKAL already has roughly 8 additional libraries slated to be migrated into their Koha union catalog by the end of 2012.
Mary Danko, Board President at Green Mountain Library Consortium and Library Director at Hartland Public Library, commented about the ability to accomplish the VOKAL initiative with so few resources:
"I think it is because we have such great volunteers and collaborative libraries. Our Implementation Team is wonderfully bright and they are also tons of fun to work with. By keeping the attitude light and fun any challenge can be met. Every VOKAL meeting I've attended I have left smiling.
Our libraries share their knowledge and expertise so generously with each other. Everyone is happy to have visitors come and see the system in action.
You know I often think of the risk these libraries took in going with such unknowns. Nobody had ever done an open source ILS in Vermont and nobody had every done a multiple town consortium catalog in Vermont. The first libraries were pioneers going into so much unknown territory, but they set out with passion and determination; and the journey still continues."
Brendan Gallagher, CEO of ByWater commented on VOKAL's success and ByWater's long standing relationship with them:
"The VOKAL project was one of our first partnerships as a new company on the ILS scene. The relationships we have formed with members of the VOKAL team are ones that will last a lifetime, and we look forward to every implementation meeting we attend.
The most amazing thing about the VOKAL project from our point of view is that these libraries had a need that was not being fulfilled, and instead of waiting for someone else to take care of that need they formed a bond with each other and did it for themselves. We love seeing this happen, as the ideas behind open source champions these very actions.
What the VOKAL implementation accomplished not only takes a huge amount of time and commitment, as these individuals took on the responsibilities of managing a consortium in addition to their day jobs, but it also takes courage and initiative. We are not at all surprised by the popularity of this group in Vermont, as people are naturally drawn to those who show the qualities demonstrated every day by this group."
About the Vermont Organization of Koha Automated Libraries
In late 2007, the Stowe Free Library, the Carpenter Carse Library, and the Kimball Public Library met to explore a replacement ILS for Follett, the system that was then in use at all three libraries. After exploring many options, the group decided, along with Norwich Public Library, to replace their outdated standalone systems with Koha. Subsequently, Jericho Town Library, Warren Public Library, Joslin Memorial Library and Marlboro Elementary School automated their libraries with Koha, replacing their manual card catalogs. In May of 2008, the group chose VOKAL – the Vermont Organization of Koha Automated Libraries – as the name for the group and the project.
VOKAL has since grown to over 35 libraries, all of whom are contributing funds to the consortium to provide additional design and programming services to create a tailored version of Koha — simple, sleek, easily viewable on dial-up. VOKAL has now implemented a consortium version of the ILS and has been migrating member libraries to the shared system. For more information about VOKAL, please visit: http://gmlc.wordpress.com/koha-project/
Koha is the first open-source Integrated Library System (ILS). In use worldwide, its development is steered by a growing community of libraries collaborating to achieve their technology goals. Koha's impressive feature set continues to evolve and expand to meet the needs of its user base. It includes modules for circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials, reserves, patron management, branch relationships, and more.
About ByWater Solutions
ByWater Solutions is a full service, high quality support and implementation company dedicated to providing libraries with a lower cost, more advanced level of support for their ILS than a traditional proprietary solution can offer. ByWater Solutions has a proven track record in first rate Koha implementation and support with library systems of all sizes. Our highly ranked, comprehensive support is what sets our company apart from any other vendor in the industry. Partnering with ByWater Solutions to support Koha not only lowers the cost of implementing and maintaining an ILS, but more importantly empowers libraries by giving them the flexibility and freedom they deserve. For more information please visit: http://bywatersolutions.com/