Koha How-To

Using Koha and Linux to Power Bookmobiles

In today’s guest post, Alan Stolfus from the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library has a story to share with us about how their library is using open source software on their bookmobiles.

When the Rolling Hills Library bookmobile returns from a day of serving patrons in Andrew and Buchanan counties in northwest Missouri, team leader Deb Ezzell can lock its doors and call it a day.

Koha bookmobileAll because of the AT&T Mobile Hotspot MiFi, a cellphone-sized wireless access point.

Before getting the MiFi, Ezzell was recording patron transactions offline on a laptop notebook and uploading them into Koha ILS when she returned to the St. Joseph, Mo., library. With MiFi, Ezzell connects to Koha through the Internet and conducts transactions in real time.

"It saves us so much time,"she said. "It gives us the latitude as if we were operating right here in the library".

Ezzell can check in and check out books and place holds for patrons while they’re on the bus. She also can see if they have overdue books or if their cards have been suspended, important information she wouldn’t have known before.

The library runs Linux Mint on the notebook. Linux has proven to be more reliable than other operating systems for the library, and the Mint distribution is user friendly.

The MiFi connection works as long as the bookmobile has cellphone coverage, which it does for all but one of its regular stops. On that day, Ezzell has a small amount of transactions to upload before heading home.

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