At their February 23 meeting, members of the Catamount Library Network, which includes the Department of Libraries (DOL), Brooks Memorial Library (Brattleboro), Springfield Town Library, Rutland Free Library, Fletcher Memorial Library (Ludlow), and Waterbury Public Library, made the unanimous decision to proceed with their project using the Evergreen Open Source software system. The DOL is participating in this project with the vision that the new Catamount Evergreen Network will develop into a statewide integrated library system that includes public, school and academic libraries and which will also support the DOL catalog and the statewide interlibrary loan network.
This decision came after months of investigation, meetings and phone calls with members of Koha and Evergreen library projects around the country (including Vermont's VOKAL Koha group) and conversations with Vermont librarians from public, school and academic libraries. The decision was also based on documentation and recommendations from Lori Ayre, a consultant with the Galecia Group. The DOL hired Galecia Group, based in California, in 2011 to create a set of "features" for the Koha system that could be used as a comparison with a similar Evergreen "features" list. Ayre is highly regarded in the library open source world and is knowledgeable about both the Koha and Evergreen systems. Her expertise and evaluation was a critical, objective component of the investigation process. The new Koha and Evergreen features comparison list, which was an essential tool in the Catamount review and selection process, is now being reviewed by the greater Koha and Evergreen communities. A working copy is available here: http://tinyurl.com/CatamountProject
Ayre came to Vermont in January for an all-day meeting with members of the Catamount network and DOL staff to discuss the needs and requirements of Vermont libraries and the Department of Libraries, including statewide interlibrary loan. Based on a comparison of the two features lists and with the information gathered from Vermont, Ayre later supplied Catamount members with a scorecard rating both the Koha and Evergreen systems and detailing strengths and weaknesses of both systems. After discussing Ayre's documentation, the Catamount group arranged for a conference call with Ayre for follow-up questions and final clarifications. Ayre's recommendation of the Evergreen system for this project was clear and was instrumental in Catamount's final selection decision. In particular, Evergreen was favorably rated for its capabilities as a statewide integrated library system and for the flexibility and power it offers for resource sharing, including the forthcoming Evergreen "Fullfillment" product.
The choice of Evergreen is a major milestone in the Catamount Library Network project. Sheila Kearns (DOL) and Jerry Carbone (Brooks Memorial Library) will attend the Evergreen International Conference in Indianapolis in April. The five Catamount libraries are expected to go live with Evergreen by the end of 2013.