Last Friday Greg and I had a meeting with Ali and Joey at the Audubon Center to discuss possible Integrated Library Systems and Security Gates. The meeting went really well and concerns Greg and I were put to rest.
One big concern we had from the beginning was the security gates. From all my previous experience they had been incredibly expensive. Additionally there is a yearly subscription fee for maintenance. When we first discussed Integrated Library Systems and Security Gates we didn’t have any idea how much the center would be interested or able to spend on this endeavor. Being as the security gate, instillation (a guy flies in from Texas to install the gate), and maintenance fee would probably cost more than all of the material in the library. Fortunately I was able to, the day of the meeting, find a gate that was a very reasonable $2000.
The ILSs were many and varied and our research really paid off when explaining the pros and cons of each system. I have used, professionally, about five different systems ranging from Millennium, which I used in the University of Washington Libraries, to Winnebago which I used in a prison library. I have enjoyed each system in its own way. Winnebago, for example, was the little system that could. It was run off if improper cables for something like 20 years because the DOC had zero foresight when they wired the building and purchased the cheapest data cables imaginable. As a result there were constantly errors and I would have to shut down the system and run multiple maintenance programs. After all the programs had been run a handful of times it would just fix it’s little self and we’d open just fine the next day. I could probably have spilled coffee inside the server and it would work just fine once it dried off.
It was a real pleasure playing around with the different ILSs. Even the demos from the proprietary companies, in their own sales pitch-y way, were fun to attend. Without knowing a hard and fast number for what the Audubon was looking for we cast a bit of a wide (but low end) net. In the end Greg and I both cast our votes for the low cost Library World for proprietary and the no cost (thanks to the generosity Media Flex) OPALS, see adorable search engine above. We did this for many reasons, primary of which was that both the systems are very easy to learn so if the Ann Lennartz Memorial Library one day does not have a staff or volunteer with library experience it will be very easy learning curve. We expect to hear back from Ali and Joey soon, until then we’ll be doing the academic thing and reading articles and going to special libraries (including a Folklore Library!!).