Log in

Evergreen Talking Points

This page contains talking points covering the project background, shared ILS’s, and the original Evergreen implementation proposal in B.C.

Evergreen ILS Talking Points – Terms

  • Evergreen™ is an open source software system that allows library customers to find library material and helps libraries to manages, catalogue and circulate those materials; an Integrated Library Systems (ILS).
  • Sitka is the name of a BC Libraries Cooperative Business Function Group comprised of libraries live on a consortial instance of the Evergreen open ILS in British Columbia.

Evergreen ILS Talking Points – Shared ILS

The Benefits of a shared Evergreen ILS:

  • For users
    • Increased access to library resources throughout the Sitka consortia
    • knowledge that their libraries are responsibly choosing a 100% Canadian, non-profit, BC hosted software solution
  • For libraries
    • The province assumed the start up costs
    • Economy of scale
    • Strategically shared infrastructure
    • Database consistency and quality assurance improves retrieval
    • Management, coordination, communication and cohesiveness all improve
    • User services enjoy increased visibility
    • Insurance against volatile vendor market, even for those libraries that do not join
    • Self-sustaining and control destiny
    • Decide on development priorities within the consortia
    • Software users have direct access to developers
    • Reduced ILS associated staffing requirements at individual libraries
    • Limited budgets are responsibly being invested in a 100% Canadian, non-profit, BC hosted software solution


  • Evergreen is a proven Enterprise-class ILS using Open Source software. It presents no software acquisition costs, no licensing costs and no traditional vendor relationship. The software was developed by the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) and the Public Information Network for Electronic Services (PINES) consortia.
  • All PINES libraries migrated to Evergreen software on September 5, 2006; 252 member libraries, 44 public library systems, 8.8 million items, 1.6 million active cardholders from 159 Georgia counties. The scale of the PINES implementation is very similar to the potential scale for Evergreen in BC, and it continues to grow.
  • Evergreen software rests on an Open Application Framework that provides for the creation of solutions on demand, unlike traditional ILS architecture. This means that Evergreen can embrace popular features from outside the traditional ILS development sphere and incorporate them without major architecture or software redesign.
  • In 2006, we found the risk associated with the Evergreen Open ILS to be no greater than the risk associated with the acquisition of an ILS product in the traditional marketplace. In fact, we found the risk reduced by the following:
    • The software was in use in a jurisdiction of similar size and composition to BC
    • Evergreen would be developed in BC, for BC and its development priorities would be determined by BC
    • No need for escrow clauses; BC would ‘own’ the code
    • For those BC libraries who might opt out of Evergreen, its existence in the province serves as insurance against a volatile marketplace
    • Significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership compared with traditional solutions. We estimated implementation of Evergreen across BC at just over $4 Million over 5 years, one half of the cost projected for market-based solutions.
    • Centralized database and centralized staffing reduces local staffing overhead
    • Strong collegial support community in Canada; Evergreen’s development community is distributed across the US, Canada and beyond, and provides opportunities to collaborate and partner. Indeed, an international support community is growing and now includes all of these libraries.

At ABCPLD on April 17th, 2006, PLSB, Ministry of Education, BC proposed a 5 year phased implementation of the Evergreen ILS in BC. Based on feedback at that meeting, we proceeded on two concurrent paths:

1. Implementation of Evergreen (commenced in 2007).

    • The province provided:
      • $1.2 Million initial seed money
      • Initial system software development and management
      • Data migration and training services
      • Server and hosting infrastructure.

2. An advisory committee was established in Spring 2007 comprised of members of several BC libraries; its purpose was to determine an appropriate governance structure for the management of BC’s consortial instance of Evergreen.

  • The ILS Advisory Committee’s final meeting was held on October 21, 2008. At that meeting, a transition process began that will see Sitka’s Evergreen instance governed by the BC Libraries Cooperative.


  • Prince Rupert Public Library became the first BC public library system to go live with Evergreen in November, 2007.
  • Since then, many more libraries have joined.
  • The BC Libraries Cooperative is the community governed organization under which Sitka has thrived since 2009.