Afterword – Practical Open Source Software for Libraries


As with many other books on library technology, I know that all of this information can make one’s head spin. There are so many things to learn about open source software, from its history to its software uses, but it is important to keep at least these few things in mind when deciding to adopt open source software.

Open source is about more than the software; it is about the community around the software. If you decide to use open source software in your library, make an effort to participate in the community to show your support and to further the application.

As with all open source software, you want to keep in mind that just because a feature you need is not available at this time, it can easily be added by you or someone hired by you. Do not let the lack of a feature scare you out of using an open source library system; simply contact the development community and see if maybe there is a new feature in the works, or if you can submit some code to add the feature yourself.

Remember, ‘free as in freedom.’ With open source software you have the freedom to participate in, collaborate with, share with, develop for, move forward, change and improve the software you are using. Don’t forget those basic freedoms when using open source in your library.

The library world is full of accounts of successes and failures of open source adoption; learn from them all. Use this guide as a jumping off point; always remember to talk to your colleagues and see what they’ve done, are doing and what they’ve experienced. Also be aware that there is much more out there that was not included in this book. If you don’t like a suggestion that I have given, there are probably other alternatives that will meet your library’s specific needs.

Finally, remember to help educate our fellow librarians about the true nature of open source. We cannot move forward and succeed if our colleagues are out there spreading the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) that they have learned from those around them.