Whanganui Library was the first public library of New Zealand to quietly leave the Kōtui consortium in 2017. In March they put out an RFP for a new Library Management System, to which we responded proposing Koha. We worked together seamlessly for two months solid, and with the timely delivery of data overnight from Sirsi Dynix in the USA, Koha went live without a hitch in June.
Whanganui do things a bit differently to some other councils, and we have loved working with them. There was no mucking around, and the hard work was mutual. One of the things that made this project a bit different to some others, was that when they hired their Digital Systems Support person, they hired a Software Programmer. Instead of us doing everything for them, the Whanganui Koha budget went a lot further, with their programmer doing a lot of the work - particularly when it came to making visual changes to the front end, and utilising enhanced content from vendors like Syndetics. They have continued with their programme of development since go live, pushing out more changes each month. They develop in test, and we send the changes over to production.
Library Performance Manager, Sonny Tamihana, says "It's all going well, if there'd been a problem you'd have heard from us! Koha is changing our customer interactions for the better. For example right now we have 165 purchase requests from our customers. We're finding some of our previous paper processes have become unnecessary because we keep finding more little things Koha can do for us".
The library have embraced an approach of continual improvement. They're ambitious, and we know we'll see more changes from them soon, including RFID implementation, and possibly some new unstaffed libraries. We look forward to supporting them, and helping get any enhancements they make into the global Koha project.
The Koha community supports free and open source library management software for ~15,000 libraries. Catalyst IT have a dedicated Koha team who implement and support Koha for libraries in Aotearoa, and contribute their expertise to the global Koha community project and development team.
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