links about some good and bad things in libraryland

First off, I’d like to point out this question from Ask MetaFilter which asks the age old question “I am trying to automate my small school/church/club library. What software should I use?” I gave a few answers, as did a few other people, but the short answer is “There’s no good tool for this” as near as I can tell. Please let me know if I’m wrong.

A few more links people sent me over the last week or so.

6 thoughts on “links about some good and bad things in libraryland

  1. I’m sure it is not a perfect solution, but I’ve been working on setting up a small library for the charter school my sons attend, and we are using It is only $365 a year and seems to have all the basic features that a small library would need (circulation, cataloging with Z39.50, an OPAC, etc. ). Another plus is that it is simple enough for anyone to understand and use. We are still cataloging and have only just begun circulating our collection so we will have to wait and see how it works for us, but so far I am pretty pleased.

  2. What about ResourceMate ( I work in a small college library and we recently purchased this product. You can purchase it for as little as $195 (one time fee). And what’s nice about it is that as your library grows, you can purchase add-ons as needed.

  3. Hi Jessamyn

    There are a couple of open source small library systems out there through


    Also Right On has a library automation program for small libraries though it’s gotten pricey.

    Hope this is helpful

  4. Yes, cut all librarians before any cop. Protection from crime is a more essential task of the state — long, long before providing library services.

    Of course, if we legalized drugs, we wouldn’t need as many cops, but that’s another issue….

  5. I am in the process of setting up OpenBiblio for my church’s library (about 1,600 items). It has many shortcomings, but in general it provides a good platform for those needing cataloging and circulation functions for a small collection. I would guess that a collection of up to 5,000 items would pose no problems; not sure what the upper end would be.

    It can run on a hosted web server, which an organization can obtain for less than $100 per year (and do quite a bit more with it as well – website, blog, wiki, etc.). It is as easy to install as WordPress, and configuring the software is fairly straightforward.

    * MARC record importer
    * Only need web browser and internet connection (no client software to install)
    * Easy to create/edit patron and bibliographic records

    * OPAC needs work (it is fairly limited – I am hoping to customize ours once we finish record clean-up)
    * Report module is too complex for the average user (php/sql scripting required)
    * No serials or acquisitions

    Jessamyn – if you would like to look around the staff areas of our installation to see it for yourself, let me know and I can arrange for temporary access and a brief description of some of the things I’ve noticed while working with it.

  6. I’m so glad you posted these links – it just occurred to me yesterday that LibraryThing might be a better solution than Library World. I am trying to organize the library of my local Friends Meeting, and to be honest we don’t have a budget that can sustain $425 annually for Library World. (Yes, the price is higher for new members). We also don’t have a dedicated server (ha! if only), so this needs to be web-based, cheap, and easy.

    And yes, I know the old joke: you can have 2 of 3 (if it’s cheap, it won’t be easy, etc.).

    Even so, pat yourself on the back for providing yet another service and valuable discussion to librarians like me who are working on the edge. Heartfelt thanks.

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