What is a good library cataloguing software for a small school library?
January 9, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for library cataloguing software for a small school library.

I'm looking for software that will enable me to:
-- catalogue a small school library (less than 1,000 titles but growing)
-- print barcode labels and spine labels
-- control circulation and manage student borrowing of titles (preferably with a scanner).

I don't have a large budget, so ideally something under $1,000. Our school is both Mac and PC friendly. Bonus points for something easy to install and operate.
posted by archimago to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest Koha (Developer Wiki, Wikipedia). But, you may also want to look at Evergreen, both are open source.
posted by Craig at 9:37 AM on January 9, 2010

Evergreen is probably overkill for a library of this size, and it's a bit more difficult to understand and install than Koha.
posted by the dief at 10:29 AM on January 9, 2010

How tech savvy are you? I was also going to suggest Koha and Evergreen also, as well as SOPAC 2 but then realized that depending on your tech savviness all of these options might be too difficult for you. To use any of these your school's IT department is going to have to set up an Apache and MySQL server (I think they can use IIS also but I'm not sure). On top of that there is some backend server maintenance stuff that they will need to take care of. Have you talked to your tech department about these issues?

You could possibly use some online solutions (librarything maybe) but they won't allow you print spine labels and call numbers.

Are there any schools nearby that maybe you could share costs with?

I don't know what the cost is but you might want to take a look at Follett Destiny, specifically their hosting service.

A disclaimer and information on my background. I'm a high school librarian at a school of 3500 students. We use Follett Destiny but we host it ourselves and our IT department takes care of maintenance, backup, etc (they're pretty awesome). We're pretty happy with Destiny. I was at a school that was using SirsiDynix but they didn't like it all that much and ended up switching to Destiny also. I have not used Evergreen, Koha and SOPAC 2 in a production setting, but I have installed them on my own computers at home just to play around with. They seemed to work fine but you do have to know what you are doing to get them up and running.

The one thing that annoys me about Destiny is the fact that their barcode scanners cost over $100. You can by a USB barcode scanner for $25 but Destiny only works with a specific kind of barcode scanner. You don't actually need a barcode scanner to use Destiny but it does make checkout/checkin and inventory much easier.
posted by crios at 12:00 PM on January 9, 2010

Archimago, check your MeMail.
posted by Lynsey at 12:02 PM on January 9, 2010

Evergreen's spine label printing is borked right now, I've been asked to fix this for my university library and it's one of those tasks I keep putting off because there's always something more pressing to work on. I don't have much personal experience with Koha but the I haven't heard of any show stopper problems with it for smaller institutions. Definitely see how far you can go with it.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2010

I use Follett for our school library. We don't have the Destiny software, but I still have a barcode scanner and I can use it to catalogue. The nice thing about Follett is that they have a huge database of books that you can access which makes cataloguing super simple. Make sure your school gets a package that includes at least some training from Follett. When we got our system I actually had someone come to our school to do some training with me for 1/2 a day. It wasn't 100 percent essential, but certainly shortened the learning curve.

If you have any other questions feel free to mefimail me.
posted by aetg at 5:41 PM on January 9, 2010

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