Biblionix has developed its Apollo ILS specifically for small public libraries. The company has seen steady growth in terms of the numbers of libraries subscribing Apollo and in ever broader geographic areas beyond its home turf of Texas. The customer base of Apollo remains a bit more concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States, with increasing penetration in other states, including Washington, Oregon, Alabama, Florida. While still in the small-library niche, some of the recent sales of Apollo have been to multi-branch libraries or small consortia. Biblionix has not ventured to offer its products outside the United States or to other types of libraries.
Biblionix began the marketing of Apollo to other libraries in October 2006. To date, Apollo has been installed in 446 libraries. The majority of these libraries hold collections of less than 50,000 volumes.
Some of the libraries moving to Apollo represent first-time automation projects. Others are moving from outdated PC-based systems such as Winnebago Spectrum, Circulation Plus, InfoCentre, or Athena. Others have moved from school-oriented systems such as Follett Destiny or Alexandria. A few have moved from full-featured systems such as Symphony, and others have previously used open source ILS products such as Evergreen or Koha.
The company began its involvement with public libraries around 2003, developing various computer-related tools for the Westbank Community Library in Austin Texas, with Xan Charbonnet as the main developer. In 2006, Charbonnet began the creation of Web-based integrated library system, which was placed into production use for this library on May 6, 2006 (for more details, see Fox, Beth Wheeler. “The birth of a community Library Automation System.” Texas Library Journal. Spring 2008, p. 22-23).
Apollo, as a fully Web-based system, requires no hardware or software to be installed in the library. Both the staff modules and the public online catalog operate through interfaces presented through Web browsers. Designed specifically for smaller libraries, Apollo provides a targeted set of features, without some of the complexity seen in the top-tier products. These small libraries, for example, would not necessarily need entire modules such as serials control, authorities, or acquisitions. Many receive the majority of their bibliographic records with their material shipments, such as through shelf-ready programs, and thus do not perform a great deal of original cataloging. Biblionix has recently developed an optional acquisitions module.
The technology platform upon which Apollo is delivered follows a modern multi-tenant software-as-as-service architecture. A single codebase, implemented over a distributed hardware and network infrastructure supports all of the libraries using the system. This multi-tenant approach makes it possible for a small company to serve a large number of libraries, with only a small increment of capacity needed for each new site. Libraries seem to be well pleased with Apollo and the support that they receive from Biblionix. The company has performed exceptionally well on the annual Perceptions Surveys that I conduct annually to measure customer satisfaction and trends by libraries relative to their technology products (http:// librarytechnology.org/web/Breeding/perceptions/).