now that’s how you do a FOSS press release

The Howe Library in Hanover NH has just moved their ILS to Evergreen. They sent out a very cool press release. Here is the first paragraph.

In a technology move designed to cut taxpayer costs, Howe Library is pleased to announce it has moved its entire bibliographic catalog and circulation system to Evergreen, an open-source integrated library system used by hundreds of libraries nationwide and in Canada. Moving to Evergreen will save considerable taxpayer dollars, primarily in annual service fees and upgrades.

Talk about upbeat! Instead of saying “Hey we’re going to have some downtime.” or “Here is all the new stuff you need to know.” they focus on the things that will affect everyone, lower fees and stable trusted software. Nice work team. Here’s the press release, now linked on their site.

10 Responses to “now that’s how you do a FOSS press release”

  1. Scot Colford Says:

    Well, yay for them for going F/OSS, but I’m not sure I agree that the release is wise. Especially that last sentence. You know “free as in kittens” and all. It looks a little short-sighted in regards to the costs — financial or otherwise — associated with rolling-your-own.

  2. Mary H. White Says:

    We don’t say it’s free. We say it’s reducing costs, which it is. There are still costs involved and the full press release makes that clear. —MHW, Howe Library Director

  3. John Says:

    Congrats Howe!

  4. Chris Cormack Says:

    Free as in kittens is a silly phrase that should die, if FOSS is free as in kittens, proprietary software is free as in an inbred purebreed cat. That costs thousands of dollars in vet bills every year and is slightly retarded.

  5. mjgoins Says:

    As amusing as ‘free as in kittens’ is, it unfortunately makes the classic mistake of conflating gratis with libre.

  6. jessamyn Says:

    Where did you guys start with the “free as in kittens” stuff? This move is going to save the taxpayers money which is a calculation they’ve already done. I decided to quote from the press release without including it all, but here it is for future reference…

    Hanover, NH–In a technology move designed to cut taxpayer costs, Howe Library is pleased to announce it has moved its entire bibliographic catalog and circulation system to Evergreen, an open-source integrated library system used by hundreds of libraries nationwide and in Canada. Moving to Evergreen will save considerable taxpayer dollars, primarily in annual service fees and upgrades.

    According to Howe Library Director Mary White, the library has used a proprietary integrated library system since 1995. “While it’s one of the best automated systems available, it’s also very expensive to maintain and upgrade so we decided to look at alternative options.” The result of that comprehensive investigation, headed by Head of Technical Services and Systems Librarian Pamela Smith, was the choice to go with Evergreen.

    Evergreen is a library-specific open-source software program developed by the Georgia Public Library Services that allows users to study, change, and improve the software as it is being used. Open-source software is often developed in a public, collaborative manner, and Evergreen is no exception. “Because Evergreen is created collaboratively,” says Systems Librarian Smith, “new features and upgrades, such as enhancing the catalog, are free to participating libraries” and maintenance is far less expensive. Library Director White estimates that the cost of maintaining the open-source system will save the library–and the town of Hanover taxpayers–almost 70% in annual maintenance costs compared to Howe Library’s old system.

    The library chose Equinox Software for data migration as well as for annual maintenance and hosting. Galen Charlton, Vice-President for Data Services at Equinox states, β€œIt has been a true pleasure working with a group of librarians committed to open-source to implement Evergreen, and I am pleased to see the broad interest in open-source integrated library systems across New England. We at Equinox look forward to continuing to work with Howe Library and know that they will be strong members of the Evergreen community.”

    Howe Library patrons will enjoy some new features with the Evergreen system, such as creating private lists of books they have read or want to read. Patrons will also have more flexibility and control over their bibliographic searches with the new system, including setting account preferences to search their home library only or both Howe and Etna libraries.

    Howe is one of only three libraries in New Hampshire using an open-source option, and is the only library in New Hampshire to use Evergreen. “We hope other libraries in New Hampshire will follow our lead,” says White. “It would be great to have other libraries create a consortium of users. Pooling resources helps all of us, and ultimately offers our patrons far more than any individual library can on its own.”

    For more information about Howe Library, please contact Mary White at 603-640-3251 or mary.h.white@thehowe.org.

  7. Chris Cormack Says:

    I was just responding to the ‘free as in kittens’ comment, mainly because 1/ it’s a false analogy and 2/ as you point out, has nothing to do with this.

  8. Julian Says:

    That is how you make the words work best. That type of press release is exactly how MPOW explains the public computing experience we offer to our customers. The explanation is clear and concise. I feel that no further explanation is necessary for me to understand the choice of Evergreen as the new ILS.

  9. Nate Curulla Says:

    Congrats on the switch! There are actually more libraries in your area moving to open source than you think. There is a collaborative of three NH libraries going live on Koha by the end of September, and another slated to go live mid October. A trend is definitely growing! Here is more information on those libraries:
    http://bywatersolutions.com/?p=509
    http://bywatersolutions.com/?p=517

  10. Stephanie Chase Says:

    I copied this excellent press release for use later myself… Mary, Pam, and the team at Howe did an amazing job researching options, and their move *IS* going to save a significant amount of taxpayer money. Congrats, Howe Library!