LYRASIS, the nation's largest regional non-profit membership organization for libraries, has received a $670,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for initiatives that advance use and support of open source software and systems in libraries and archives.
"Open source software gives libraries local control over development and design, and increased customization to better serve their patrons. Collaborative approaches to open source software and systems, both in development and support, can reduce costs and expand functionality. LYRASIS, as a community-based, membership organization, is committed to harnessing community resources and focusing community energy to benefit all libraries. The generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports our efforts to raise awareness, foster adoption, and improve sustainability of community-based open source library and archival software," stated Kate Nevins, Executive Directors at LYRASIS.
The grant focuses on LYRASIS open source initiatives to advance sustainability in three areas:
- Expansion of decision-support services that enable effective library decision-making and planning before, during, and after adoption. These services address a critical need within the library community and can accelerate adoption of open source systems, which improves sustainability of open source projects.
- Fostering community discussion and planning to support sustainability of the software itself, and the libraries and communities that are developing it. LYRASIS will explore existing and potential sustainability strategies through two conferences for library/archives open source project administrators, host organizations, and support communities. In addition to identifying strategies and collaborative opportunities, the conferences will encourage creation of stronger best-of- breed open source software and support communities as core aspects of sustainability.
- Raise awareness, provide information and education, and foster more rapid creation of best-of-breed open source software as strategies to expand library and archival adoption. These activities also directly engage LYRASIS technical experts providing hosted software-as-a-service in efforts to foster community growth, collaboration, and support.
The grant runs for two years. Improvements in the centerpiece of LYRASIS decision-support service, the FOSS4Lib website (Free/Open Source Software for Libraries at (http://foss4lib.org) have begun, and the first sustainability conference is planned for spring 2013.
The improvements to FOSS4Lib now include two more tools to help libraries make decisions about open source tools. Available on the site now, the Integrated Library System Software Selection Methodology (http://foss4lib.org/decision-support/ils-ssm) and the Discovery Layer Software Selection Methodology (http://foss4lib.org/decision-support/discovery-layer-ssm) focus on the specific needs of these types of systems, and expand on the existing tools available on FOSS4Lib.org. The site also features a registry of software packages to help libraries find information about open source software service providers, events, and releases. Since its launch in January 2012, more than 16,000 people have visited FOSS4Lib looking for information about open source software in libraries.
"Libraries are looking for options for integrated library systems and discovery layers," said Peter Murray, Assistant Director for Technology Services Development. "FOSS4Lib gives libraries the tools needed to consider open source options on par with commercial options."
LYRASIS partners with member libraries to create, access and manage information, while building and sustaining collaboration, enhancing library and technology operations, and increasing buying power. For more information, please visit www.lyrasis.org.