CR2 Blog the knowledge blog
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    October 30th, 2021LISWire aggregatorUncategorized

    The Koha Klassmates program was introduced back in 2015 by ByWater Solutions as a way to provide hands-on experience for Library School students before they enter the workplace. Koha Klassmates offers free hosted installations of the Koha Open Source ILS to library school instructors for use in their classrooms. Today, we celebrate six years and more than 40+ school programs that have implemented Klassmates.

    William Helling, Associate Program Director, IUPUI Department of Library and Information Science, recently shared some feedback with us about the program and how his students have gained valuable knowledge from the program.

    Many years ago, I decided to use the Klassmates program in my Library Systems class in order to give some hands-on experience to my students, many of whom had never seen an integrated library system interface before. I have continued ever since, building on this model, to have students involved in all aspects of creating a library with Koha from the ground up. Students are very grateful for the opportunity to learn how a system works at all levels, especially since they can use this knowledge in their careers. The Klassmates program allows me to educate current and future librarians in skills that they would not otherwise be able to gain.

    ByWater Solutions supports libraries using Koha around the globe through our first rate support services and via the Koha Klassmates program.

    Learn more about Klassmates and see who is currently using the program!

    Stephanie Reid, Professor at Mohawk College for the Library and Information Technician Diploma Program, recently shared feedback about the program.

    Our program really wanted to provide students with a hands-on learning cataloging experience. Klassmates does this. After learning the theory, students apply it by inputting the data within the correct fields. The feedback has been very positive. Students feel like they are not only learning the material, but even better, they are learning how to apply it. This makes them more employable. It's real world experience.

    About ByWater Solutions
    ByWater Solutions is a full service, high quality Open Source support and implementation company dedicated to providing libraries with a lower cost, more advanced level of support for their systems than a traditional proprietary solution can offer. ByWater Solutions has a proven track record in first rate implementation and support services with library systems of all sizes for the Koha ILS, Aspen Discovery, Folio LSP, Coral ERM, and Libki PC Management.

    Our highly ranked, comprehensive support is what sets our company apart from any other vendor in the industry. Partnering with ByWater Solutions not only lowers the cost of implementation and maintenance of OSS, but more importantly empowers libraries by giving them the flexibility and freedom they deserve. For more information please visit:

    For More Information
    Jessica Zairo
    Director of Library Sales & Outreach
    ByWater Solutions

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  • scissors
    October 30th, 2021LISWire aggregatorUncategorized

    Library Location: Penticton, British Columbia

    Library Information: Municipal public library

    Library URL:

    Discovery URL:

    Library Background
    The Penticton Public Library is a municipal library located in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, a community of 33,000 people. The city is situated in the south Okanagan Valley nestled between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. The Okanagan Valley is part of the interior plateau known as the Okanagan Highland, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains in the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east. Library Service in Penticton began on Sept. 18, 1909, when the Penticton Public Library Reading Room and Library was opened.

    When did you make the decision to switch to Open Source?
    We chose to explore new ILS options in the Fall of 2020. Our major considerations were essential features, ease of use, and high value for the cost. As we learned more about the products in the marketplace it became evident that the open-source technologies functioned at a very high level. When conducting our evaluations, one advantage with open source was how easy it was for us to learn about these tools without having to wait for a library vendor to provide a full demonstration, or relying on the word of another library with different use cases than our own.

    Why did you decide to move to Koha ILS?
    Of the software products we learned about through live demonstrations, testing, and interviews, Koha ILS had the most intuitive interface, and the highest number of highly sought-out features. For example, it was very important to us that the ILS be accessible through a web browser: there is no desktop software to install, staff can have multiple tabs open to perform different types of work, and we can share URLs between staff for training and other purposes. Koha has some very significant features, such as batch modification tools and staged marc records management. There are also some smaller, quality of life tools that end up making a big difference, such as checkout receipt templating, and being able to keyword search system preferences.

    How has the cost-savings helped your library?
    We completed our migration this past summer. Over the life of our contract, we expect to experience significant cost savings as well as efficiency. This will free-up valuable resources to dedicate to enhanced patron experience.

    How has this provided new ways of working for staff?
    Our technical services department in particular has benefited tremendously from switching to Koha. For example, when we load vendor records we now have the ability to automatically add holdings information. The system will also do copy-adds when an ISBN match is found in the system. It’s also frighteningly simple to add Z39.50 indexes, meaning it’s easy to find marc records when we don’t have a suitable one available. Print on demand spine labels has also saved us valuable time.

    We also have a homebound delivery service. Using a custom SQL report along with Koha’s housebound module we are able to create custom homebound delivery slips.

    Quotes from Library Staff:
    "OMG this is so much better" - Library page performing circ tasks in Koha for the first time!

    "This while you wait feature is dangerous"- Heather Buzzell, Chief Librarian with way too many books on the holds list!

    What challenge(s) was your library addressing by adding a discovery layer?
    There have been a number of challenges we were looking to solve by switching to Aspen Discovery, but overall our goal was to better curate our collection and services via an online catalogue.

    What integrations have you tied into Aspen Discovery?
    Overdrive and Sydentics Unbound. We are also looking at making Aspen become our new website. Stay tuned!

    Lessons learned from the migration?
    Getting dirty manipulating library data is a lot of fun, and very important, but ultimately your job as the client is to be a good coordinator. Know when every meeting is well in advance (make a schedule!), know which topics are being covered and which team members you need to work with. Make sure you really listen to the needs of the other staff. Never make decisions in a vacuum. All of this will ensure your data gets migrated properly, that you have the settings configured beforehand, and that each team member has the proper training to do their job. Also, migration day is all about triage. If circ is working and patrons can access the catalogue, you’re 75% of the way there. We decided to stay closed for the first 4 hours of our go-live date and that ended up being a lifesaver.

    Quotes from Patrons
    I love that I can now review my reading history

    Being able to place a purchase request and get immediate feedback on my request is very helpful

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