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LibraryWorld Launches WikiLibrary: New Integrated Library System for Small Libraries

Smart Libraries Newsletter [April 2021]


LibraryWorld has introduced WikiLibrary, a new web-based product for small libraries. This new product, now available in its first public beta release, is based on a modern cloud-hosted platform and provides a discovery interface and a target set of integrated library system capabilities. WikiLibrary is designed for the needs of smaller libraries of schools, businesses, hospitals, or museums, as well as small public and academic libraries. As a platform based on current web technologies, WikiLibrary offers a modern path forward for its current product line, introduced two decades ago. LibraryWorld expects WikiLibrary to become its flagship product over the next few years as it matures in features and gains acceptance by its current and future library customers.

A Web-based ILS for Small libraries

WikiLibrary provides a targeted set of features for cataloging and circulation along with an online catalog for patron access. Other features include printing of barcodes and labels, circulation notices sent by email, inventory, and display of cover art. As a product designed for small libraries, it offers a select set of features without the complexity of systems designed for large organizations. WikiLibrary also accommodates organizations with multiple libraries, such as school districts, multi-branch public libraries, or consortia. It allows multiple libraries to be included in an instance, with no restrictions on record counts, functioning as a union catalog that can also be limited by branch.

Pricing WikiLibrary's affordable price tiers include a free option for collections with less than 500 bibliographic records and 1,000 items. The standard tier, with a subscription price of $240 per year, supports collections up to 10,000 bibliographic records. WikiLibrary Premium supports libraries with more than 25,000 records at an annual subscription of $360. LibraryWorld remains the company's offering for larger libraries. Though a trial period is available, the annual subscription cost for libraries using it in production is $495. LibraryWorld supports libraries with up to 500,000 records.

Renewed Product Cycle

The launch of WikiLibrary marks the beginning of a new product cycle for LibraryWorld. This new product line is based on new technology underpinnings and brings new, modern interfaces for staff and patron features. WikiLibrary is based on cloud infrastructure instead of the dedicated servers the company maintains for its existing products. This shift to cloud technologies reduces the cost of operations and provides additional layers of redundancy. As a new development initiative, WikiLibrary does not recycle the codebase of its current LibraryWorld ILS, but rather leverages the company's 35 years of experience developing automation products for schools and other small libraries.

As this new product enters the market, the company will continue to fully support its current LibraryWorld ILS. In the longer term, WikiLibrary will become the next generation of LibraryWorld. Libraries using LibraryWorld will be able to shift to the newer product according to their preferred timetables.

Customer Profile

LibraryWorld focuses primarily on small to mid-sized libraries. About two thirds of its 3,000 customers are school libraries, with the other third split among special libraries, small public libraries, and small academic libraries. Initially, WikiLibrary will be marketed to the smaller tier of libraries, though over time it will be offered to those with larger collections.


WikiLibrary leverages the company's long history with library automation to create a new product with new interfaces and technical underpinnings. Its employs current JavaScript frameworks, such as Bootstrap and jQuery, to deploy an interface following the conventions of social networks and other business services. A dashboard presents an overview of the library's use of the system, including activity levels, circulation statistics, collection breakdown, staff user accounts, and other details. A persistent menu on the left part of the page enables quick access to all system functions.

LibraryWorld has deployed WikiLibrary through Google Cloud Services, one of the major providers along with Amazon Web Services of infrastructure-as-a-service. The application itself was developed using popular components for web applications, including PHP and Perl as the programming languages, Oracle MySQL as a relational database, and virtual instances of Linux for hosting. This approach enables LibraryWorld to scale the capacity of the WikiLibrary platform as the number of subscribing libraries expands.

LibraryWorld Company Background

LibraryWorld is privately owned and managed by its founder Norman Kline, who continues to serve as its chief operating officer. The company can support a large customer base with a small workforce through a technology strategy based on efficient web-based SaaS products.

CASPR, later known as LibraryWord, was founded in 1985 by Norman Kline to develop utility programs for mainframe computers. At that time Kline worked for Apple as Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, focusing on communications and networking. In parallel to his work at Apple, Kline created two library applications for CASPR. MacCards, a program for creating catalog cards and book labels, and the Mac Library System (MLS), a full integrated library system. The Apple corporate library and its law library both implemented MLS in 1986. Apple stipulated that CASPR limit its development to products that ran on Macintosh computers and demonstrated MacCards and MLS at trade shows as part of its marketing for the educational and library sectors. CASPR also developed LibraryBrowser, a patron catalog compatible with the Apple II family, to access the library collection managed by MLS.

Kline left Apple in 1991 to focus on CASPR, which by then had a growing number of library customers. Although Macintosh computers were widely used in schools at that time, Microsoft Windows was also gaining widespread use, especially in the business and government sectors. CASPR began development of a cross-platform version of MLS that operated on both Windows and Macintosh computers, branded as LibraryWorks. In 1999 more than 8,000 libraries had implemented LibraryWorks.

Using a cross-platform development environment, the same source code could be compiled for Windows and Macintosh environments and access the same network-based databases. LibraryDisc was released in 1992, taking advantage of the CD-ROM technologies that were increasingly used in libraries for commercial citation database products. LibraryDisc enabled libraries to search their own collection plus their CD-ROM databases.

CASPR acquired the Columbia Library System from the School Systems division of McGraw-Hill in 1997. The Columbia Library System operated on the DOS operating system and was not Y2K compatible. In the spring of 1999, CASPR released a fix to CLS to enable it to address its Y2K bugs, though this was only a stopgap until CASPR was able to migrate these libraries to LibraryWorks on Windows computers. At the time of the acquisition, about 2,700 libraries were using the Columbia Library System.

In 1998 the company developed, a webbased public catalog for libraries using its LibraryWorks ILS. By May 2000, the full ILS was available through web interfaces and was rebranded as LibraryWorld.

In June 2007, CASPR changed its operating name to LibraryWorld, adopting the brand of its flagship product. Since its founding in 1985, LibraryWorld has maintained its position as a company providing automation systems to smaller libraries by redeveloping its products through multiple cycles of technology. Established in the time of microcomputers, the company subsequently adapted its products to local area networks, CD-ROM storage, and eventually to the web. WikiLibrary takes the company into a new generation of technology, employing current cloud infrastructure services and modernized interfaces.

View Citation
Publication Year:2021
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 41 Number 04
Issue:April 2021
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Products: WikiLibrary
Record Number:26221
Last Update:2022-12-05 14:37:38
Date Created:2021-05-04 08:03:07