King County Library System Awarded Prestigious National Leadership Grant From the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Oct 26, 2009, 16:08 ET from King County Library System

ISSAQUAH, Wash., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The King County Library System (KCLS) has been awarded a prestigious National Leadership Grant by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will fund a collaborative project between KCLS and several partner libraries. Thanks to this generous grant KCLS will be able to share current development work on the Open Source Library System (OSLS), Evergreen, with other libraries and develop resources to make the OSLS a more viable alternative to the traditional Integrated Library System (ILS) for libraries across the nation.

According to Jed Moffitt, Director of Information Technology Services for KCLS, "More than 95% of American public libraries use an Integrated Library System purchased from private vendors. These systems are licensed by the vendors and do not offer libraries the ability to make fundamental modifications to adapt to the specific library's needs." Moffitt added: "Our project, Empowered by Open Source, will enable libraries to collaborate and more effectively influence the evolution of their information systems so that the systems can be molded to fit the services that libraries and patrons want, rather than services having to be designed to fit what the systems allow."

"While off-the-shelf library ILS systems may function perfectly well for many libraries," said KCLS Director Bill Ptacek, "existing vendor-provided software systems lack the flexibility required to meet the needs of libraries as large as the King County Library System. Through an Open Source Library System, libraries will collaborate with each other to develop tailored systems to meet each library's individual requirements."

KCLS is a nationally recognized leader in public library service and technology. Partnering with KCLS on this project are three other library systems, they are the Peninsula Library System (San Mateo, California), Orange County Library System (Orlando, Florida), and the Ann Arbor District Library (Ann Arbor, Michigan).

The largest museum and library joint grant program administered by IMLS, National Leadership Grants support projects that will advance the ability of museums and libraries to preserve culture, heritage, and knowledge while enhancing learning. This year's National Leadership Grant recipients will generate new tools, research, models, services, practices, and alliances that will positively impact both the awarded institution and the nation.

Competition is fierce for IMLS Awards. In 2009, 143 applicants competed, and 44 recipients were selected, receiving awards totaling $18,150,733. Recipients will match the awards by providing more than $13 million for the chosen projects. For the Empowered by Open Source proposal KCLS will receive $998,556 to work with the partnering libraries to develop tools and resources that support the vision of transforming the library software experience. KCLS will provide $1,014,400 in matching funds

"Museums and libraries are trusted stewards of our nation's cultural heritage, and are an important part of our education, community, and identity. The institutions receiving National Leadership Grants have developed programs that will elevate the museum and library practice, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services is proud to support their endeavors." - Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Ph.D., Director of the Institute

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

SOURCE King County Library System