Equinox Open Library Initiative has been established, carrying forward the work of Equinox Software, Inc., to provide services related to open source library software, including the Evergreen ILS, Koha, and the FulfILLment resource sharing environment. This change in status took effect on January 1, 2017. All personnel, assets, and liabilities of Equinox Software, Inc. have transferred to the new organization. Equinox will continue to operate from its existing business location in Atlanta, GA.
The initial version of the Evergreen software was developed in house by the Georgia Public Library System to replace the Unicorn ILS from Sirsi Corporation, which was implemented in 1999 to support the PINES consortium. Development began in June 2004; Evergreen was placed into production in September 2006.
Equinox Software, Inc. was initially established in February 2007 as a for-profit corporation to provide development and support for Evergreen. The company was founded by members of the team that developed Evergreen for the Georgia Public Library System to serve the PINES consortium of public libraries. At the time, PINES included over 252 public libraries in Georgia and has since expanded to 285. Although PINES was one of the first clients for Equinox, they currently operate their Evergreen implementation without external support. Equinox Open Library Initiative has been incorporated as a domestic non-profit corporation and has applied for, but has not yet received, 501(c) (3) federal tax exempt status. The Board of Directors of the new organization includes the same members as the incumbent company—Mike Rylander, Grace Dunbar, and Jason Etheridge.
Although the organization also works with other software products, support and development of the open source Evergreen ILS has been its core activity. Although supplemented by other organizations and community members, Equinox contributes about 80% of the development of Evergreen. The company employs 17 personnel. Mike Rylander leads the company as President and Grace Dunbar as Vice President. Since Evergreen is open source software, Equinox Open Library Initiative works cooperatively with the broader community of library consortia, developers, and other support firms involved with the software. The Evergreen Project (https://evergreen-ils.org) partners with the Software Freedom Conservancy for governance support and has established a board to provide guidance and leadership.
The change in business model was made to facilitate new opportunities and to be more consistent with the values of the open source community. As a non-profit, the organization may be more able to attract grants and other funding opportunities. According to Equinox Media Coordinator Mike Rylander: “We have always worked to build partnerships throughout our open source communities, both with synergistic service providers and with users of the software. We strongly believe this change will aid us in further building and strengthening those partnerships, partnerships that will make those user and vendor synergies available to a broader crosssection of the library world.”
In February 2014, Equinox launched a new hosting platform, branded as Sequoia, for its clients using Evergreen, Koha, and FulfILLment. Sequoia was designed to provide an efficient, reliable, and secure hosting environment not available from other service providers. (See the February 2014 issue of Smart Libraries Newsletter for more details.) Evergreen was designed primarily for implementation of consortia of public libraries. According to libraries.org, 817 libraries representing 1,559 branches use Evergreen. While the vast majority of these libraries are based in the United States or Canada, Evergreen is also used in Europe and other international regions.
Other non-profit organizations are involved in the support of open source software oriented to libraries and related organization. Lyrasis (lyrasis.org), also based in Atlanta, is the organizational hope for ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace, two open source projects originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. DuraSpace (duraspace.org) is a nonprofit responsible for DSpace, Fedora, and other repository platforms. The Open Library Foundation (openlibraryfoun dation.org) was founded in 2016 as a non-profit to provide a governance environment for open source software projects, initially including FOLIO and the Global Open Knowledgebase. Non-profits are not always tied to open source software. OCLC, also organized as a non-profit, has developed its WorldShare Platform as proprietary software.