Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Francois in Montreal - we met in Mumbai in 2011
I was hosted in Montreal by Eric, Serge and the InLibro team. I travel to the other side of the world, walk into an office and find someone I know: Francois!!

I love this about Koha; the global nature of the movement / project / community means that you never know where people are going to turn up or which vendor they are working for.

A real selling point for libraries considering switching to Koha is that it is vendor agnostic. Vendors are selling a service; the code is free - anyone can download it for free and  get it going and run their library completely independently of any vendors.

Many of us though, choose to use vendors for a bunch of reasons. For me the reason was Koha doesn't need a lot of staff time and it was silly having that resource on staff sitting around when I could just buy in the few hours a year when we needed support. So if the code is free it is the service you are buying and if you aren't happy then change vendors. It does not mean you have to change library management systems. The best thing for Koha is do have many vendors all running thriving businesses in co-opetition with each other: commercial competitors in the market-place but cooperative partners in development. This is actually a thing and does work. It is also one more powerful reason to make sure that you are running as close to trunk as possible.
Hockey at the Bell Centre

One of the things I really wanted to do was see a hockey game in Canada and the InLibro did me proud taking me out to a fantastic game at the Bell Centre. It was great; so much more immediate than a rugby game because the rink is so much smaller and you are sitting right there. The arena was huge 3 or 4 tiers and the crowd was so rowdy; it was great!

I spent a couple of gentle days sightseeing after developing a list of must-sees with the InLibro folk following a user group establishment meeting (which was great by the way). There is definitely a movement within the Koha world to form user groups and I am quite excited by this as an opportunity for us to figure out a way to channel that local 'voice' into the international 'voice'.

Anyway, sightseeing: the Notre Dame Cathedral absolutely breathtaking.These buildings are so important in our cultural heritage and must cost a fortune to maintain. I'm happy to pay an entry fee as my tourist-tax to help.

The archaeology museum was fabulous and made such good use of multi-media to provide a whole bunch of ways using different senses to 'get' the story. I'm really bad at modern museums; I am linear (it turns out) and want to see everything chronologically, in the right order. I really struggled with the Smithsonian evolution hall and also the History of German History in Berlin because I couldn't find the beginning and then step through in an orderly manner. I recognise I'm old fashioned and out of sync with best practice.

I also spent hours in art galleries, particularly Inuit art, and purchased a beautiful dancing polar bear carved from a piece of dark serpentine stone. I have basically bought 3 main souvenirs: a stunning tablecloth in Malaysia, a beautiful porcelain dish in Czech Republic and this dancing bear which weighs a ton but I don't care. When I bought the dish Bohdan asked was I seriously going to carry it around the world for the next 2 months; yes I was and I have and ditto the bear.

It was Halloween while I was in the States and the photo for this entry is from an amazing decorated garden in Montreal.

No comments: