Open Source Libraries

An article on caught my attention today.  The article focused on developing and using open source solutions in libraries.  Libraries are one of the places where openness and sharing go hand-in-hand.  Why more open source software solutions aren't found there I don't really understand.

Take my library for instance.  There are ten computers there for the public to use.  These computers are running old versions of Microsoft Windows and old versions of Internet Explorer.  The software is so old and antiquated that I've actually had problems using some web applications on these computers.  The library also uses the SirsiDynix software for its ILS solution.  This software offers one of the worst search I've ever experienced.  Even if I know the title of the resource I'm looking for it doesn't generally help in locating the resource in the database.  The system also lacks a history feature so you can obtain a list of items you've checked out.  It would also be nice if their system integrated with the state's electronic library so that a single search would show books (and media) available locally as well as electronic versions available from the state.

I want to take a closer look at Koha and see if their ILS solution is any better.  If it is I may approach my library management people with this solution.  I will propose they use Linux (Fedora?) for their public computers as it will yield a more secure and better web-browsing environment at less cost.  Libraries support sharing and learning and should take advantage of the sharing and learning that comes with open source software.