2023 Library Systems Report Published
In recent years, business acquisitions have brought high-stakes changes to the library technology industry, creating seismic shifts in the balance of power. But other events in 2022—primarily advances in open source software—have even bigger implications for the market. Although proprietary products continue to dominate, open source alternatives are becoming increasingly competitive.
Interest in open systems has been growing within the library world for at least 15 years, and recent procurements reflect important breakthroughs. The selection of the open source library services platform (LSP) FOLIO by Library of Congress (LC), the MOBIUS consortium, the National Library of Australia, and others has solidified FOLIO’s position as a major competitor in the market. With 1,575 installations for Koha, ByWater Solutions has become one of the strongest competitors for mid-sized and large public libraries in the US. Public libraries are increasingly turning to Aspen Discovery for a replacement catalog interface.
Most libraries still use proprietary software for their core systems. In the US, about 10% of academic libraries and 17% of public libraries use an open source integrated library system (ILS). But the barriers to these products—real and perceived—have largely collapsed. Functionality gaps have narrowed across major open source products like Koha, Evergreen, and now FOLIO, after long periods of development. To remain competitive, proprietary systems will have to deliver similar interoperability, innovation, and flexible APIs at moderate pricing. Ultimately, libraries will not choose products based on an abstract preference for a development model. The success of any product will depend on a vendor’s demonstrated performance in delivering exceptional customer service.
The 2023 Library Systems Report documents ongoing investments of libraries in strategic technology products in 2022. It covers for-profit and nonprofit organizations that offer strategic resource management products—especially integrated library systems and library services platforms—and comprehensive discovery products. The vendors included have responded to a survey requesting details about their organization, sales performance, and narrative explanations of accomplishments. Additional sources consulted include press releases, news articles, and other publicly available information. Most of the organizations provided lists of libraries represented in the statistics reported, allowing for more detailed analysis and validation.
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.