Collected responses on smaller integrated library systems from RADCAT and other lists, October 2002

Dear All,

I posted my query to three listservs and have appreciated all the responses. (My friend has too.) Several correspondents have asked to get a list of all the responses. Since others might be interested too, I send all the responses attached below.



Subject: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 22:57:07 +0000

Dear All,

What IL systems, if any, cater to small libraries (less than 25,000 vols.)?

Due to cost, what computer software/options are there for libraries of that size to automate cataloging only, in order to download MARC records?

Also, what inexpensive options are there to automate circulation?

A friend of mine has been asked to serve as "librarian-advisor" to a small, local seminary preparing for accreditation. Currently, cataloging is done manually, but circulation records are kept with an Access database. Over 10,000 vols. remain to be cataloged. The library is staffed by one paraprofessional assistant.

I believe this topic has been discussed on this list before, but I appreciate anyone's willingness to visit it yet again.

National Library of Medicine
Bethesda, Maryland


Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 17:00:55 -0600

It sounds like one of the small K-12 systems such as Follett might be the solution here. I first used Follet for circulation only in 1988.

Dale Solberg


From: "Stark, Linda"
To: "''"
Subject: RE: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 18:18:37 -0500

We have about 35,000 volumes; we use Mandarin M3 (it used to be part of SIRS) -- it is good for cataloging and circulation. The cataloging has an excellent MARC error-checking system. Records import very easily -- and I get a lot of records from Library of Congress, free.

They provide statistical reports but some of the reports do not work as well as one would like. However they are _very_ good about individual technical support, and modifying reports to individual needs.

They are at

Several Bible Colleges have Athena. I know there are other programs recommended by CILA also.

Linda Stark, Librarian
Florida Christian College
1011 Bill Beck Blvd.
Kissimmee FL 34744

407-847-8966, ext. 318


From: Lisa Sanders
Subject: Re: [radcat]: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 15:32:25 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

We have been using LibraryCom, an ASP from CASPR. Although not as robust as more expensive models, it is much better than the Access database I inherited. We are paying $300 per year. They maintain all the hardware, software, and backups; we access everything through the internet.

I would be interested in knowing about any other inexpensive options too. Good question for the list!

Lisa Sanders
CSDE Librarian/Director of Information Services

Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) Library
University of Washington
109 Savery Hall, Box 353340
Seattle, WA 98195-3340

FAX: 206-616-2093


From: "Garry Truman"
Subject: RE: [atlantis] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 17:42:13 -0600

Please include me in any info you receive - this sounds exactly like the dilemma we are in with establishing a new seminary.

Garry Truman
Director of Library Services
Urshan Graduate School of Theology
700 Howdershell Rd
Florissant, MO 63031


From: "Charlotte Jones"
Subject: [atlantis] Re: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 20:05:52 -0400


At the Cathedral Library at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (Episcopal) in New York, we are in the middle of a retrospective conversion of our collection (approx 20,000 volumes). During the first phase of our conversion, we used ITSMarc from TLC -- $1000 for a one year license, this allows searching and capture of MARC records, but minimal reporting ability and not a user-friendly OPAC. During a funding hiatus, we took our meager resources and bought Concourse from Book Systems ( -- a suite of programs for a one-time cost of $3,000 that has a Z39.50 search engine for capturing MARC records, a network license, a user-frinedly interface for original cataloging (you don't need to be a professional cataloger to use this), a circulation component (patron records and bar codes), and a WebPac. Four weeks into using this system, we are quite happy. At this point, we don't need all the functionality it offers, but this company specializes in church libraries, and was the least expensive of the alternatives we were looking at. Their customer service and support is good.

The Cathedral Library has no professional staff (I am a volunteer with no MLS and have raised funds for this on my own), and we have used a consulting firm to provide a cataloger and project management advice.

Charlotte Jones
Office of Madeleine L'Engle
Cathedral Library
Cathedral of St John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10025


Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 21:37:23 -0500

I advise you call Library Pro at 1-800-688-9939.
Bruce H. Wagner


From: "Jane E. Higle, Director of Library Services"
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 08:23:02 -0400


I have not worked in a library this small but I think that a reasonably priced option is ITS for Windows which is a product of The Library Corporation (Inwood, West Virginia, I think). I was always very pleased with their service and I think that the cataloging component might be around $2000.00 per year. You would have to check on that.

My understanding is that to automate circulation as well means moving to an integrated library system. And, this is a very expensive proposition. But, TLC also has this kind of software as well -- I think it is called Library.Solution.

Jane Higle
Director of Library Services
Rogers Memorial Library
Bethany Bible College


From: "Miss Lois Oetken" ]
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 08:32:32 -0600


We use a Sagebrush product Spectrum for our cataloging and circulation. This database was designed for school libraries that normally have smaller collections. I was not here when the decision was made, but even with 100,000 volumes it works quite well. The price was the primary reason for going with Spectrum. It is considerably below other databases.

Lois Oetken
Maranatha Baptist Bible College
745 W. Main St.
Watertown, WI 53094


From: "Jonnie Johnson"
Subject: RE: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:21:03 -0500

I recommend the Athena software for library automation. I work 20 hours a week at a small Bible College. We have gone from the Union Theological Cataloging System to Library of Congress System. The Athena program is easy to work with and user friendly for the patrons. The conversion process began in late June of 1999 and was completed middle September of this year. There is only one of me and all the work was done on a part-time basis. The tech support from the Sagebrush Corporation is very good. Each time that I have called, the contact person has been courteous and very helpful. Initial cost for the start-up is the largest expense involved. We began with approximately $3,000.00 investment. I do recommend that you make sure that your computer system and software are adequate to run the program. Athena and Windows Millennium absolutely do not work well together.

Jonnie Johnson, Librarian
Henderson Library
Tri-State Bible College
506 Margaret Street
South Point, OH 45680
Phone: 740/377-2520


From: "Philip Estes"
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 08:34:06 -0500

Several years ago I used Athena and found it to be excellent. It is now a product of the Sagebrush corporation. Here is the URL for one of their pages:

Philip L. Estes
Technical Services Librarian
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
800 Martinsburg Road
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050
(740)392-6868 x4244


From: "Mscott"
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: 30 Oct 2002 11:06:12 -0500


If you get replies to your questions, please let me know.

My supervisor is currently favoring the LibraryWorld package for cataloging, etc. But it is the first one she has studied in detail, and she is searching for other LOW-COST alternatives as well. Our library here is not automated at all.

You might want to look at the website. One colleague of ours is using that package for her small library.

-- Mary Ann Scott
William Tyndale College
877-499-6800, ext. 804


Subject: IL system for small library
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 10:15:49 EST

Good morning --

I wanted to respond off-list because what I use is not an IL system, but might be of use to your friend.

I'm a solo, part-time librarian at a small (40,000 volume) seminary library. When I took this position three years ago, there was no software at all -- only a card catalogue, the cards being typed by the previous librarian, who used to go (in person) to LC to get the cataloging info.

I did a lot of research, and purchased MARC Magician software, which I use in conjunction with BookWhere 2000 (to retrieve MARC records via the Internet). MARC Magician is only intended to produce catalogue cards. However, it works incredibly well -- it's the best software I've ever used. Also, it probably could be used by patrons to search for records, since you can do an author/title/ or word search to pull up records. It has no circulation component. It is very inexpensive, and has wonderful support (which I hardly ever need to use).

BookWhere has worked so well, I've never had to contact the people who produce it -- so I don't know if they are still around after three years. If any of this would be of interest to your friend, let me know, and I will give you more information.

Denise Eggers
St. Paul's College
Washington, DC


From: Melvin Hartwick
To: "''"
Subject: Small ILS
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:57:24 -0500

We use the Spectrum system from Sagebrush, which also sells another nice small system, Athena. Either would work very well for a small library (the primary market was public schools) but both scale well. We have almost 150,000 vols. and it is still perking along. There is no integrated serials module, but a nice little circulation module. I'm not sure if they sell the circ and cat modules individually any more. The cataloging module has "easy entry" or "MARC screens," the latter with nice labels. Everything from setup on is pretty simple and their manual (now only in pdf, bah) is very well written and comprehensive, lots of screen shots, etc. The price for the Spectrum circ/cat program was at one time (2000-2001 catalog) $3500-$4500 (stand-alone vs. multiuser); it will be more now, I suppose.

You or your contact may call me if they have any questions: 215-935-3862 (office ; has voicemail)

Melvin R. Hartwick
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, PA


From: Alice Ruleman
To: "''"
Subject: RE: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 11:03:00 -0600

We use Follett. It is mainly used in schools (elementary to highschool) which obviously don't have large collections. Our collection is currently about 60,000. Although I have had a systems librarian tell me Follett couldn't handle collections that large, it hasn't given us any problems. It is pretty easy to use and costs a lot less than the systems most academic libraries use.

Years ago, I also saw a presentation on Winnebago Software. It is also mainly used in school media centers. Your friend might want to check them out.

Alice B. Ruleman
Assistant Librarian
Crichton College
255 N. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111


From: Wendell Thompson
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 10:42:24 -0600

On 10/29/02 4:57 PM, "" wrote:

We have been using LibraryGold since 1989. It has cataloging, circulation, patron, serials, vendor modules which can be bought separately or together. MARC records can be downloaded. The cost is minimal compared to other OPAC's that we have looked at. Also, we use LibraryNet which makes the OPAC available on the internet. It only requires desktop computers for your entire network and will work on IBM compatibles or Macintosh computers.

You may contact the vendor, CASPR, at 800 852 2777 for more information.

More than 10,000 libraries are using this software, mostly school libraries, because the price is so reasonable. About 300 college libraries use it too and quite a few special libraries.

Wendell Thompson
Director of Library Services
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
918 335 6285


From: "Pam Sarno"
Subject: RE: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 12:02:51 -0500

I have been working toward automation for our small (12,000 vol.) Christian college library. We started by purchasing MARC Magician and BookWhere. One year later we are about 1/3 of the way through cataloging. BookWhere quickly retrieves MARC records, mostly from loc, but also from 100s of other libraries. It is from Sea Change and costs about $400 plus $60 annually for support and upgrades. MARC Magician is a very easy to use editing program which also "cleans up" the records as they are imported. It corrects non-filing indicators, control field errors and other problems with the record. You can then edit the record, add holdings, and with an add on module, print labels and cards (we wanted to maintain a paper shelf list). MM costs about $1400 plus $250 for annual support and upgrades. The records can then be imported into any ILS. Our goal was to have a good, clean database of full MARC records that would not need further work and could be moved around easily as systems change. The ILS that we have looked at are in the $2500-3500 range and are geared for public school libraries. Our first choice is Athena (we are hoping to purchase it by the end of this year), although Concourse and Spectrum also looked good. Athena and Spectrum are by Sagebrush and Concourse is from BookSystems. We also spent about $400 for a Welch Allyn scanner and about $800 for barcodes from Lowry. We are in Bel Air, MD, so if your friend is nearby we would be glad to have him/her come by to see the programs in action.

Pam Sarno
Assistant Librarian
Lincoln Christian College East Coast
2408 Creswell Rd.
Bel Air, MD 21015


From: "Bigwood, David"
Subject: RE: [radcat]: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 13:42:25 -0600


There are PC based systems that tend to be less costly. Most run on Windows. There is a listing of systems at

Another option is to outsource the catalog. It is hosted on a remote machine. They provide the software and hardware. Price depends on the size of the collection and how many folks can search the catalog at once. This has the advantage of freeing you from technical problems.

A new option is open source. There are several projects currently developing OPACs. Search for details. These products are free but do require some technical knowledge. They often run on LINUX. I try to keep up with the open source OPACs on my 'blog

To get MARC records, there is LC where you can download in the MARC format. A Z39.50 client might be a good investment. I use Bookwhere 2000, but other products would be worth checking out. There is a free client available that provides access to some Texas libraries.

David Bigwood
Lunar & Planetary Institute


From: "Rodney Birch"
Subject: Re: [ACL] ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 16:19:14 -0600


We use the Athena program which is put out by Sagebrush Corporation. Their website is It works fairly well for us...our collection is around 20,000 titles. If I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Rodney Birch
Library Director
Vennard College
University Park, IA
(641) 673-8391, ext.134


From: "Rubinstein, Ernest"
Subject: [atlantis] RE: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:32:45 -0500

Several years ago, OCLC began to market a copy cataloging service called CatExpress, aimed at small libraries. Records can be downloaded off of WorldCat, and the subscribing library's symbol added to the Worldcat record. This has allowed us to be a lender in ILL transactions. We edit the downloaded records with The Library Corporations's (TLC) "ITS for Windows", and contract with TLC for a web-based catalog, which they maintain, for $850/yr (the first-year cost is about double that). The TLC MARC editor that we use is $395/year. OCLC charges about $1.00 per record downloaded through CatExpress. We have about 14,500 volumes in our library and add about 700 each year. However, we do not have an automated circulation system. The large expense for us was the initial retrospective conversion, which we did in batch mode through OCLC [about $12,000 for a 13,500 vol. collection]; the ongoing costs for OCLC+TLC have been about $2000/year. I think there'd be information on CatExpress at the OCLC website, and on TLC's web-catalogs, at Marcive offers a less expensive retrospective conversion service. However, their hit rate on the sample we tried with them was lower than OCLC, which in the end had records for all but about 75 of the titles in our library (a generalist theological library with emphasis on missions and ecumenism). These last few we cataloged originally with TLC's MARC editor.

Hope this helps,

Ernest Rubinstein, librarian
Ecumenical Library
The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Dr
Room 900
New York NY 10115


From: "R Tamares"
Subject: Re: [radcat]: ILS for libraries less than 25,000 vols.
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 16:04:51 -0700

You might try Koha: I'm not sure about operating costs, but the source code to it is free.

Ryan Tamares


From: "Jennifer"
Subject: request for IL
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 11:36:04 -0800

The program we use is from Sagebrush called Athena.
Our web catalog is

Hope this helps,

Jennifer Ewing
El Cajon, CA

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