April 25, 2018

Josh Ferraro | Movers & Shakers 2008

Open Source Evangelist

“No one in the library profession has served as a greater evangelist for open source software than Josh Ferraro,” says Carl Grant, president of CARE Affiliates, Blacksburg, VA, and one of his many admirers both inside and outside of the Ohio library community. Ferraro was systems administrator for the Nelsonville Public Library, OH, when it became the nation’s first library to switch to an open source ILS (Koha, on Labor Day 2003). In promoting open source to other libraries, however, Ferraro says he found most didn’t have access to “internal support staff who would enable them to deploy something as complex as an ILS without help from a commercial vendor.” So, in 2005, he cofounded LibLime and thus helped bridge the gap.

LibLime has since grown by 400 percent and provides data migration, training, maintenance, and support to nearly 200 libraries, bolstering Ferraro’s belief that “open source options are well positioned to dominate the ILS industry.” Early LibLime client Darrell Ulm, Stow-Munroe Falls PL, OH, says Ferraro and his team “successfully migrated us to a cutting-edge ILS while slashing our technology budget” and “continue to provide us with excellent support.”

Stephen Hedges, executive director, Ohio Public Library Information Network, Columbus, is for his part most excited by Ferraro’s work with the OpenNCIP project, an open source implementation of the NCIP Standard for Circulation Interchange Protocol that Hedges believes has the potential of “finally allowing the exchange of borrower and circulation data between completely disparate systems without the limitations imposed by the current commercial NCIP implementations.”

That would enormously impact the future of library resource sharing, but for Ferraro, “part of the philosophy of the open source movement” has always been just that: “community building.”


CURRENT POSITION President, LibLime, Athens, OH

DEGREE A.S., Computer Systems Information Technology, Springfield Technical Community College, 1998