King County, WA: “Library Competes Thanks to Agile Development Outsourcing”
“Agile” is hardly the first word to come to mind when thinking about public libraries.
Indeed, the King County Library System (KCLS) had been struggling to adapt to its commercial competition as a source of information for the patrons that visit its 46 libraries.
KCLS, one of the busiest libraries in the United States with more than 21 million items circulated, was stuck with an inflexible library-specific information system that no longer met its needs. “As technology evolved for libraries, the systems that replaced card catalogs became a niche market. The vendors made money selling very rigid software, and it’s bad news for libraries,” says [Jed] Moffitt [Jed Moffitt, KCLS’s director of IT services], who previously work for just such a vendor.
A move to customizable open-source library software called Evergeen may have been a step in the right direction, but that created its own set of problems. Every time a change was made, the system “would fall to pieces,” Moffitt says. “We didn’t have resources to manage it.”
The article goes on to discuss the work KCLS does with Catalyst IT Services, a development outsourcing firm.
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See Also: Video: Meet the King County Library System’s Book Sorting Robot Named “Tin Man” (March 23, 2013)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.