Manager of Implementation
Equinox Software, Duluth, GA
BS, Mathematics, Millersville University, PA, 1998
Charlton and his wife, an LJ reviewer, have moved most of their 4,500-volume personal book collection into a digital library, but there’s one series he’ll always have in hard copy: J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings.
Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images for Library Journal
Libraries across the United States using the open source software integrated library systems (ILSes) Evergreen and Koha carry the digital fingerprints of Galen Charlton. By contributing code that thousands of libraries use to serve millions of patrons, Charlton has consistently innovated open source software, says Rogan Hamby, now manager of the Headquarters Library and reference services at York County Library System, SC. “What he has done for the open source library community is incredible,” says Hamby, a 2011 Mover & Shaker who worked with Charlton when SC LENDS, a consortium of 70 libraries in 20 counties in South Carolina, migrated to Evergreen.
Besides writing code, Charlton, a library technology consultant, was selected for a number of key roles in the open source community, says Robert E. Molyneux, who used to work with Charlton at Equinox, which helps libraries migrate to open source. In 2010, the Koha community asked Charlton to manage the release of an earlier version of Koha and to serve as a quality control gatekeeper for software changes to Evergreen. These peer appointments essentially acknowledge both Charlton’s software and diplomatic skills, says Molyneux.
Charlton’s leadership roles extend to cochairing the American Library Association’s Library and Information Technology Association Open Source Systems Interest Group and chairing the Evergreen International Oversight Committee. At Equinox, Charlton works directly with libraries to convert cataloging data to the open source platform. He’s handled institutions as huge as King County Library System, Issaquah, WA, which migrated two million bibliographic records to Evergreen.
Charlton started working for libraries as a student at Millersville University, PA, where he studied math and physics. While there, he wrote a script in 1998 to migrate the university library’s catalog from one ILS to another, catching the attention of Endeavor Information Systems, which hired him. Charlton also has worked for Ex Libris (which absorbed Endeavor) and LibLime. Realizing that some libraries might find vendors’ behind-the-scenes tools useful, Charlton was drawn to the open source community concept. In 2009, he moved to Equinox.
Charlton is passionate about open source ILSes because they help libraries reclaim one of their roles in connecting patrons with information. Moreover, he says, the open source community enables librarians to develop “new ways to continue the great library tradition of sharing.”