[Michlib-l] Free or low priced ILS for very small school library

Maren Kroening mkroening at cityofwarren.org
Sat Dec 16 09:35:37 EST 2017


First of all, thank you to all those who responded! I got a far greater response than I expected, I really appreciate it.

Quite a few people expressed interest in this, so I'm sending the complied info on free or low cost library systems to the whole list. I've attached it as a doc for easier reading, but also dropped it all in the body of this email for those getting the digest.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or if you have trouble opening the attachment.

Thank you again,

Maren Kroening
Branch Librarian - Arthur Miller Branch
Warren Public Library
5460 Arden, Suite 303
Warren, MI 48092
mkroening at cityofwarren.org

Cataloging Software for Small Libraries
Compiled 12/14/17. Please feel free to forward any questions to mkroening at cityofwarren.org<mailto:mkroening at gmail.com>

I use LibraryThing's TinyCat at North Star Academy, a public charter school, and am pretty happy with it. It's designed for small libraries. Here's the link: https://www.librarycat.org/
If you want to see a live example, here's North Star's catalog: https://www.librarycat.org/lib/NorthStarAcademyMQT

Librarika may be a option for you. You can place up to 2,000 records for free before paying, but you can have unlimited patron accounts.
Plus it is all accessed online. We have used it for our cooperative for a small maker space collection and it has worked well.


I used to work for a small parachioal School but not one that small.   I would suggest that they contact the Michigan Catholic Library Association, I used to be president /member long time ago when I was at De La Salle.  There are many great school librarians in the association who would be willing to give their expertise and help them out.   I don't know of any free open source but I do have a less expensive catalog now at Royal Oak Twp  we use Verso.

Our library is quite small. When I arrived almost 6 years ago, we only had state aid, penal fines, and municipal contributions (different now). Basically, no budget. The board wanted to automate. We went with VERSO from Auto-Graphics. The system is on their server - we always have the most recent version of the software and they are responsible for the server and backups. Initial costs were about $4000 (fundraisers and a grant and donations). Annual fee is $750.
Good luck to them

When I worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections, we used EOS.Web as our ILS.  Here's the link:


I liked it because it was very user friendly and the support was great.  We were able to use it to track our patrons, their checkouts and holds, and it also sent overdue notices.  I wasn't involved in the pricing but it never hurts to ask. :-)  Let me know if you have further questions.


I would recommend Tinycat from Librarything.  It is free to small libraries, and the folks there are great to work with.


Have you considered Library Thing? https://www.librarything.com/

Hi Maren, in a different lifetime when I was a media specialist, Alexandria used to give away one copy of their software to small libraries.  She might try there: http://www.goalexandria.com/.

I'm involved with a small K-8 parochial school library that my kids attend. They use LibrarySoft for this http://www.librarysoft.com/ It does allow checkouts but my school doesn't use that functionality. Mostly they use it to catalog/inventory their collection and print labels and barcodes for it.

This may be helpful:

We are on an open source software called KOHA.  For us, it is hosted by ByWater Solutions and we pay $7800 a year for that.
However, I believe, you can just download KOHA and not have a vendor host it.
I am going to try this for my personal catalog as well as to catalog my brother's books, as soon as I retire.

Evergreen <https://evergreen-ils.org> is open source, and if they have someone in-house that can set up a server and provide tech support, they'll be set. There's also a Michigan Evergreen group that has about eight public libraries, and it may be worth seeing if the expenses (covers tech support mainly) would be low enough to make it worth joining. I used it at my last library and would be happy to dig up group contact information if that's the route they'd like to go.

That being said, right now I'm using the free version of Libib <https://www.libib.com/library/> for my personal catalog at home, and the pro version may be more reasonably priced and user-friendly for what they need <https://www.libib.com/pricing>.

Cheers -

From: michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org <michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org> on behalf of Maren Kroening via Michlib-l <michlib-l at mcls.org>
Sent: Friday, December 8, 2017 1:10 PM
To: michlib-l at mcls.org
Subject: [Michlib-l] Free or low priced ILS for very small school library

Calling any small school libraries,

I have a teacher from a very small parochial school (K-8) in our area asking if I know of any open source or at least moderately priced software to catalog their small library. Bonus if it also can track checkouts to their students, although they only have about 30 students so they probably could use a spreadsheet for that.

This is not something I’m at all familiar with, but if anyone out there is working in a small school/small library of any type using a free or very low priced ILS or even has heard of suggestions I can pass on to this teacher, I’d be grateful if you could contact me.

Please email me directly. If anyone is interested in this topic, I can compile any possible results.

Thank you!

Maren Kroening
Miller Branch, Warren Public Library
5460 Arden, Suite 303
Warren, MI 48092
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