August 13 , 2010


Contact: Mary White, Library Director

Howe Library


Library Moves to Open-Source System to Cut Costs, Increase Flexibility

Hanover, NH--In a technology move designed to cut taxpayer costs, Howe Library is pleased to announce it has moved its entire bibliographic catalog and circulation system to Evergreen, an open-source integrated library system used by hundreds of libraries nationwide and in Canada. Moving to Evergreen will save considerable taxpayer dollars, primarily in annual service fees and upgrades.

According to Howe Library Director Mary White, the library has used a proprietary integrated library system since 1995. "While it's one of the best automated systems available, it's also very expensive to maintain and upgrade so we decided to look at alternative options." The result of that comprehensive investigation, headed by Head of Technical Services and Systems Librarian Pamela Smith, was the choice to go with Evergreen.

Evergreen is a library-specific open-source software program developed by the Georgia Public Library Services that allows users to study, change, and improve the software as it is being used. Open-source software is often developed in a public, collaborative manner, and Evergreen is no exception. "Because Evergreen is created collaboratively," says Systems Librarian Smith, "new features and upgrades, such as enhancing the catalog, are free to participating libraries" and maintenance is far less expensive. Library Director White estimates that the cost of maintaining the open-source system will save the library--and the town of Hanover taxpayers--almost 70% in annual maintenance costs compared to Howe Library's old system.

The library chose Equinox Software for data migration as well as for annual maintenance and hosting. Galen Charlton, Vice-President for Data Services at Equinox states, "It has been a true pleasure working with a group of librarians committed to open-source to implement Evergreen, and I am pleased to see the broad interest in open-source integrated library systems across New England. We at Equinox look forward to continuing to work with Howe Library and know that they will be strong members of the Evergreen community."

Howe Library patrons will enjoy some new features with the Evergreen system, such as creating private lists of books they have read or want to read. Patrons will also have more flexibility and control over their bibliographic searches with the new system, including setting account preferences to search their home library only or both Howe and Etna libraries.

Howe is one of only three libraries in New Hampshire using an open-source option, and is the only library in New Hampshire to use Evergreen. "We hope other libraries in New Hampshire will follow our lead," says White. "It would be great to have other libraries create a consortium of users. Pooling resources helps all of us, and ultimately offers our patrons far more than any individual library can on its own."

For more information about Howe Library, please contact Mary White at 603-640-3251 or