Keeping up with Kohacon20 – Episode 1

by Aleisha Amohia, Koha Developer

Kohacon logo

Kohacon is the annual conference of the Koha Software Community. This year we are celebrating 20 years of Koha so the conference is returning to where it all began – right here, in Aotearoa New Zealand! Kohacon is an opportunity for librarians, developers and other contributors to the project from all over the world to gather, listen, learn, and kōrero all things Koha.

The Catalyst Koha team in Wellington have become part-time conference organisers. A huge thank you to Catalyst IT, EBSCO, ByWater Solutions and PTFS Europe for their valuable sponsorship so far, which has allowed us to hire the beautiful Tiakiwai Conference Centre at the National Library of New Zealand for our venue (wonderfully appropriate for a library system conference).

The team have decided that Kohacon20 will be a hybrid online and in-person conference, due to New Zealand’s travel restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re sticking as close to our initial plans as possible for those who can attend in person. We imagine most people from outside New Zealand will attend and present online, and we’ll release more information about what that will look like in the next blog.

Kohacon20 is taking place this October and runs for one full week. The first three days is a single-track conference, so the first job was to pack each day with conference paper presentations and shorter lightning talks. We began sourcing speakers back in October 2019, and the wealth of knowledge and dedication in the global Koha Community and wider open source community meant it wasn’t difficult to fill our available speaker slots.

The fourth day of Kohacon20 is a Cultural Day, which we’ve changed slightly to suit a largely local audience. The agenda is still being planned, but we’re locking in ideas for places and activities around Wellington that will be exciting and interesting for our in-person attendees. We are working on what the Cultural Day will look like for our online attendees. Keep an eye on the Kohacon20 Twitter feed for updates on this as we get closer to the conference!

Day five is a day of workshops. The workshops are an opportunity to do some hands-on learning of skills and tools that are relevant to Koha or libraries. Play with MarcEdit, discover the ins and outs of character encoding in Perl, or learn about web accessibility! There’s something for everyone. We are planning to have both in-person and online workshop options, and will be updating the programme to reflect this.

Finally, days six and seven are our ‘DIY Koha’ weekend, where all attendees can contribute to the Koha project! Everyone will be able to work together on planning and doing things to improve Koha, regardless of skill-level and experience.

It will be a jam-packed seven days, but we’re so excited to meet (or e-meet) fellow Koha enthusiasts, learn cool skills, hear interesting stories, and show newcomers around our city!

In the spirit of open source, Kohacon is completely free to attend. We rely heavily on sponsors and supporters to make this event possible, and as accessible to as many people as possible. If you are willing and able to sponsor, our contact details and information about our available sponsorship packages are on our website.

If you’re keen to attend Koha, are interested in sponsoring, or would simply like to learn more, check out our website: https://2020.kohacon.org/ or contact the Organising Committee at [email protected].