[Libs-Or] Choosing a free online library catalog

Jennifer Belle jbelle at g.emporia.edu
Thu Mar 7 12:30:00 PST 2019

Hello Library Community,

My name is Jennifer Belle and I am currently volunteering with an
organization called the B-17 Alliance. It is located at McNary Field in
Salem. The primary purpose of the organization is to fully restore a WWII
era B-17 bomber called the Lacey Lady. It was purchase by a local named Art
Lacey in 1947 and affixed above a gas station in Milwaukie, OR. The station
passed on from Art to his daughter Punky Scott, and is now owned by her son
Jayson Scott. The organization is directed by his wife Terry Scott.

For an interesting background story, here are two links to read more:

The B-17 Alliance Foundation consists of the restoration, museum, and
library collection. The organization is based entirely on volunteer and
community support, with no paid positions. Most volunteers are military
veterans and most involved are over the age of 65. They all have amazing
stories to share and the alliance is dedicated to video-recording as many
stories as possible.

So, my contribution to the organization is assisting in the library. There
are approximately 3500 library materials. They are primarily published
books, but there are archival materials, DVD's, navigation, maintenance,
magazines and serials, and the alliance collection of recorded stories. The
person who previously put the library together and managed it was an
ex-library director. She has since fallen ill and is now in an assist
living facility. I received my Master in Library and Info Science nine
months ago with a focus in Archival Studies. I volunteered to work at this
facility to keep active in an archival setting and because my husband's
family has a military aviation background. I knew they were looking for
able volunteers and I believe the work they do is an important preservation
and educational contribution.

The library collection catalog is currently constructed and stored in Excel
spreadsheets and the content is in the process of being updated. The
Alliance website, http://www.b17alliance.com/, is currently also being
professionally updated with an emphasis on 'branding' to expand marketing
and fundraising efforts. There is also an active Facebook page, where the
B-17 Alliance currently has 10,077 likes and 9,968 followers. The goal for
the library collection is to encourage public access and research use. We
also wish to make the catalog searchable, shareable, and are striving to
connect the catalog to the renovated website when finished shortly. The
library collection and materials are not intended to be used outside the
facility, so we have no need of circulation software, only a cataloging

I have a few idea I am considering and, so, the purpose of the post is to
invite the library community to share suggestions, experiences, and
recommendations for online/cloud-based catalog programs. Here are the
options I am currently aware of:
Seems to be most popular, but feels more like an informal library
sharing and review site that may not be a fit for the specialized nature of
our collection; only $25 for a lifetime membership for unlimited items is a

Seems more geared towards small professional collections. The free service
allows up to 5000 items, which fits our library. The pro option increases
the items allowed to 100,000 and expands service functions to allow
circulation features, which we currently don't need, for $99 per yr, plus a
25% nonprofit discount. The pro does include custom branding which is
important to our org's image.

This service is an Integrated Library System, designed for professional
libraries. It offers four package sizes, with a basic that is free, but
only 2000 items, and the next size is 10,000 items and becomes ad-free, for
a yearly cost of $139.

I would love and appreciate your input if you have time to respond. Thank
you in advanced for taking the time.


Jennifer Belle

PS. If you know of anyone who would be interested in learning more about
the B-17 Alliance, or wants to get involved, feel free to visit our
website, Facebook, call, email, or stop by for a fun tour. The docents are
very knowledgeable and passionate about their stories. We are especially
trying to increase school field trips and have provided tours to school
groups of all ages, as young as Pre-K, with great success. The Alliance is
focus on sharing history and "Honoring the American Spirit".
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