At the 2013 Ohio Library Council Convention and Expo, the Consortium of Ohio Libraries (COOL) was awarded the Library Innovation Award for the planning and implementation of a statewide consortium using the open source ILS Evergreen.
The consortium was a response to the diminishing state funding. As funds decreased, libraries were forced to find ways to reduce costs while meeting the increased service demands. Joining a consortium was an obvious way to reduce costs by sharing support, hardware, and other administrative fees. A consortium also provides for seamless resource sharing between institutions.
However, COOL took the benefits of a consortium a step further and decided to use Evergreen, an open source ILS, because it provided a feature rich software package at a fraction of the cost of proprietary alternatives. Additionally, using open source software gives the consortium the ability to customize and add functionality based on individual needs.
The project kicked off in early 2012, when the consortium was awarded an LSTA grant from the State Library of Ohio. By March of 2012, Community Library (Sunbury) was migrated into COOL-CAT. Since then eight other libraries have migrated and two more are scheduled to join in the coming months.
COOL would like to thank everyone that has made the project a success. OHIONET has been a solid partner throughout this whole project and COOL would not exist without their support. The State Library of Ohio is to be thanked for awarding the LSTA grant funds to get the project off the ground. The Evergreen community has been very kind and generous with their support as the consortium came together. Finally, COOL is thankful to the staff, trustees, and patrons that have supported us as we took on this project.