My goal this summer is to get our library (at least the nonfiction) cataloged in some way that we can give our congregation access to it via the church website. We don't necessarily want it interactive at this point (a static record would be fine), just something that they can look up titles, subjects, or authors on, and that we can do the same from our library laptop. We'd also like to be able to add our own patron reviews.
Eventually we'd like to automate our circulation as well, but that can wait for the time being. It could even be two different systems, since our collection is small and we are very limited in adding more (physical) books, DVDs, etc. due to space issues.
Is it possible to do this (catalog collection & get online) with password protection from the website (i.e. they'd need to be registered with us to view the catalog) for under $500 or that plus automated circ for under $1000? Does anyone have practical experience with such a program?
Open Source systems are freely licensed (software license), but never actually "free". I've been an open source developer and advocate for years and currently manage a handful of open source projects for work and for my personal web projects.
While many churches run an open source content management system (CMS) or blog, such as Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal, they rarely have the intense server and coding resources it takes to maintain an open source library catalog/ILS.
I have build and supported enough open source projects to know that a self-hosted (in-house servers & managed) open source ILS/OPAC is something I definitely will NOT recommend to my church library. Because I'm the one who'd most likely have to support it, and I just don't have that much volunteer time or energy (I do it all day at work).
Koha is the biggest most robust and professional open source ILS/OPAC. Evergreen is another that's been around longer. I *am* looking into hosted packages using Koha (hosted/supported by a vendor), but not an in-houe supported version of the free open source software (for the above reasons).
Many people get excited about open source being "free", but they don't realize how much work and time (and often money, in terms of expertise and support) it takes to maintain an open source project for the long haul. Free is never free.
OK, I see I'm about 3 years late to this discussion, but no one answered Deanna's question at the time. So here goes... [WARNING: The company I work for sells OurLibraryOnline, so I might have a bias.]
We use PC Card Catalog for our automation and OurLibraryOnline integrates very handily with it. The OurLibraryOnline screen is sparse, but the search capability is as handly as any I've seen. It REALLY inexpensive and works with other popular church library software.