Reference and Technology Librarian
Rice-Aron Library, Marlboro College, VT
MLIS, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 2003
Obsessed with canning and gardening, including growing her own pinto and cranberry beans
Photo by Philip Johansson
When Marlboro College library decided to use open source software to manage its e-journals and integrated library system (ILS), librarian Amber Hunt led the small liberal arts college (300 students) library to be among the first in the United States to adopt CUFTS, software developed in British Columbia. “Amber is fearless when it comes to learning and [taking on] new projects,” says library director Emily Alling.
Hunt teamed with a colleague on the college’s IT staff, and, says Alling, they conquered “a sea of unknowns” to move to the Koha ILS, CUFTS open source e-journal management software, and GODOT, a link resolving program that makes it easier to access all the library’s offerings. Simon Fraser University Library developed both CUFTS and GODOT, and the library’s Kevin Stranack, coordinator for community services and learning, says it is unusual for any library to move to three open source programs at one time as Marlboro did. “They are setting an innovative example of an alternative approach that others will learn from and some will follow,” Stranack says. Just as important to Marlboro, the cost savings from the move to CUFTS, which is free, enabled the library
to purchase “badly needed journal content,” says Alling.
After the switch, full texts retrieved in the Academic One File and JSTOR databases at Marlboro rose by 80 percent and 71 percent, respectively. The jump indicates that the new software helps students find articles they couldn’t previously. Hunt credits her coworkers with making the switch successful. “I work with a great team of people here. We talk everything through,” Hunt says. “It’s pretty easy to be fearless when you are supported.”