Transcript of the webinar speech on May 13, 2020

Transcript of the webinar speech on May 13, 2020

Recorded video can be found at: and

Hello everyone!

Thank you Meghan and Ethen for having us to the Webinar. 

Let me begin with wishing you all safety and health during this COVID-19 Pandemic Period. Our library has not been back to normal from the end of February. Now we are only open for half a day everyday.

Today we are very happy to share with you our thoughts and plan for implementation FOLIO in Shanghai Library, as well as to promote FOLIO application and awareness in China.

I am Keven Liu, the deputy director of Shanghai library. Today with me will be two of my colleagues, Zhou Gang and Chen Xiaoyang, 

I am going to give you an overview on the consideration of FOLIO implementation in Shanghai Library, and why we are going to promote the FOLIO application in China. Mr. Zhou Gang will be on the Program of our developing and migration plan in more detail. And Chen Xiaoyang will talk about the FOLIO community activities we have done in the past and will be doing in the near future in China.

At first, I would like to give you a little bit about the background of my library and my city.

As you may know, Shanghai is one of the biggest city in China. And Shanghai Library is the biggest public library in China. The population of Shanghai is 23 million. About a quarter of them (that is about 5.1 million) had a reader’s card issued from the Shanghai library system. 

Generally Shanghai Library has three faces to the public: a stand-alone public and research library, a central library for the Shanghai library consortia which is consists of 256 member and branch libraries, and a professional research institute, which has a name of Institute of Scientific and Technological Information of Shanghai (ISTIS).

The main building of Shanghai library has 83 thousand square meters (that is about 900,000 square feet). The total collection has 55 million items, including a huge collection of special materials such as ancient books, old newspapers and magazines, genealogy, rubbings, maps, diaries and letters of celebrities and so on so forth. We have more than 800 librarians and staffs working in the library everyday.

The circulation transaction number is 66 million a year. There are more than 3 million people visited my library every year. There are about 800 thousand readers checked out more than 30 million books each year from the whole city library system. 

The present Shanghai Library building opened to the public in 1996. With the economic development, the budget of Shanghai Library has been from around 30 million USD in 1996 to around 70 million USD last year.

We are now having a new building under construction, located in the new city center of Pudong area, where it is always pretend to be the center of the universe in Hollywood movies. The overall design is from SHL, a company from Denmark. The new building has 115 thousand square meters of floor space (that is about 1.2 million square feet). It will open to public on Dec. 2021 (the end of next year).

As I just mentioned, Shanghai Library has a second face as the central library of the whole city library consortia, which contains 256 libraries in three tiers by now, and will be expand to around two thousand libraries in four tiers in the next few years. We are now using only one integrated library system for the whole consortia, that is the Horizon System from SirsiDynix. 

We have been running it from 1996.

I am sure some of you are familiar with the interfaces. It’s a magnificent powerful Integrated Library System once upon the time. In the recently issued Library System Report by Marshall Breeding, there are still hundreds of libraries using Horizon for nowadays. 

After running it for more than two decades, as you can see obviously, the system can no longer meet our needs. we are facing with a giant leap and mega-migration for Shanghai Library and the whole Shanghai Library Consortia.

Our requirements are very clear.

We need a service platform not only for Shanghai Library, but for tens of branch libraries, which have their own library branches, in total maybe thousands of them as an integrated consortia.

We should support up to 100 million circulation transaction a year.

We should look after all kinds of activities by up to 15 million registered users in the next few years.

It should provide SaaS ecology with diversified multiple extension modules by all kinds of local vendors, to provide smart library services, reserving services, reading list services, activity management services, 24-hour services, data analytics services, etc.

It should help member and branch libraries to transform and redefine themselves to a more digital world, and re-engineering their workflow to meet new and unknown requirements in the future.

After  keeping track of the library system market for quite a few years, we found nothing can fulfill such requirements above, till we learn the existence of FOLIO. 

We valued the open and sharing spirit of FOLIO, it is perfectly matching the ideas of the Public Libraries.

I agree with the idea that the future of library platform should be open sourced and act as an operation system for libraries.  As a platform it should have an open market for all kinds of stakeholders. And then libraries can choose applications what ever they want to run. 

We libraries should play a key role in the self-serviced environment, which has a spirit can be stated as: “by the community, with the community and for the community”.  

We think it is a breakthrough in the library history which is like no other. And we are very happy to see the most part of FOLIO has been realized in recent years. It has been successfully implemented in Chalmers University in Sweden last September, and will go live in several university libraries this year. 

FOLIO is a future platform with a lot of potentials and promises. FOLIO community has been doing a fantastic job to make the dream come true. 

There is no such a platform better than FOLIO by now, has the capacity to accomplish the countless and agnostic requirements for libraries to go into the future.

But the future of libraries is a moving target. We don’t have a crystal ball that allows us to see the future clearly. The only thing we know is that there will be no future if we just sit there and do nothing instead of actively addressing the disruptive digital challenges.

So we need the new service platform to be flexible enough to adapt all kinds of new technologies and meet all possible requirements. Here has some concerns from Shanghai library. It can also be seen as the critical difficulties to implement FOLIO in Shanghai Library.

•In a library as large and complex as the Shanghai Library, FOLIO is relatively less mature and less sophisticated. We need to do some strengthening and localization.

•Extensive modules are immediate required to meet local needs.

•Multi-tenant has higher priority to support large consortia.

•Market place has higher priority to accommodate diversified requirements and support new business model innovation.

•Robustness, performance and scalability issues need to be fully considered.

We believe that, if FOLIO can be successfully applied in Shanghai library, FOLIO will be decisively invincible and has a very bright future in the library system market around the world. But we need a lot of helps first from the whole FOLIO community, to address such key difficulties above. 

Our goals are also very clear:

•To provide a breakthrough LSP to integrate and upgrade our service capacity for Shanghai Central Library Consortia.

•To curate a lightweight version of open sourced LSP for all kinds of libraries in China.

•To maintain an active community consists of libraries and venders in China.

•To foster an ecosystem by establish an open market and encourage open innovation.

•To explore and incubate new business model for library and information service industry in China. 

As Shanghai Library has a research group under the name of Digital Culture Research Base by the China Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We are regularly present research reports for their reference. So we are not doing things just for Shanghai Library itself, but for the whole library industry in China, especially in the information technology implementation aspect.

That’s why we are willing to curate a FOLIO Chinese version, and to contribute on maintaining an active FOLIO community consists of libraries and venders in China. 

I’m very happy to announce that, with the great help from EBSCO and Jiatu Company, we are now having Mrs. Lucy Liu to join us as a PO (Product Owner) for FOLIO local development and implementation. 

The library market in China consists mainly of public libraries and university libraries. Of course there are many school libraries and other kinds, but I have no statistics of them. So I just take the main two to give you a rough picture.

•The total annual budget of public libraries is around 13 billion RMB in 2015 (ie. about 2 billion USD). 

•The annual budget excluding staff costs for university libraries is about 6.5 billion RMB (about 1 billion USD).

•The collection development costs around 10 billion RMB (public lib has 45%, university lib 55%), of which less than half is for digital resources.

•IT funding is difficult to keep track, usually for hardware, software and services together in total, is around 1.5 billion RMB. Rough estimate of software system is about 400-500 million RMB a year.

As for Library System Market in China, 

•We are now having less than 10 local active venders in total.

•Most of them show great interest in FOLIO and very possible to join the FOLIO alliance, some of them are already the member of CALIS Alliance or Shanghai Alliance.

•But some of them will still develop and maintain their own products. The real competition will be among 3-4 competitors.

•So it’s very important for FOLIO to have a competitive market strategy.

•FOLIO is based on the library community. That’s why the interest from libraries are most important. A lot of libraries are currently very eager to learn about the new LSP.

•If full fledged, FOLIO will be able to capture a large portion of the Chinese market share we believe.

To summarize, we like to provide a very brief SWOT analysis for the  FOLIO application in China, as follows

the Strengths are:

•It is an Open Source Software

•It developed with Micro-services architecture, but there is already a product from another company in the Chinese market that uses spring cloud microservices solution.

•It is community-based self-serviced and vender independent 

•It consists of plug-n-play Web apps

•It provide format agnostic feature and support multiple Knowledge bases.

the Weaknesses are:

•Risk of development delays which is always going to happen in Open Source software development.

•Weak on service support as OSS

•Need powerful community stewardship and governance

•Relatively long learning curve to handle for some libraries

the Opportunities are

•Libraries are Longing for adopt next generation technologies

•Applications can be embedded in users’ mobile and smart environment

•It can facilitate open innovation for venders and libraries

the Threats are

•New Business Model has not emerged and should be mixed with resources, software and maintenance support services.

•Fierce market competition still exists.

•Open Source Software has sustainable issue.

•The risk of unfulfilled expectations brings poor word-of-mouth credibility 

I would like to propose a strategic plan for promoting FOLIO applications in China. 

We at Shanghai Library are committed to support the domestic FOLIO alliance and strive to play a key role in it.

•We should keep schedule and speed up the localization modules development for Shanghai Library, as the first successful implementation example.

•We should Increase satisfaction of early adopters and pay attention to word-of-mouth marketing.

•We should help to strengthen the governance and stewardship of the OLF and local community.

•We should release service specifications and best practices when necessary to keep awareness.

•We should implement library-centric and service-oriented modules development. 

•We should recruit library and developer alliances to build a sustainable ecology.

•We should encourage to develop more Web Apps that are compatible and interoperable with the FOLIO architecture, to form a comprehensive application environment as soon as possible.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those who give us a lot of help on the FOLIO development for Shanghai Library. They are CALIS, 嘉图Jiatu, ILAS, 凯勤Kelkin, 仰格Younger, 上海阿法迪Shanghai RFID, 睿计Ruiji, 蔚运Wewin, 杭州麦达Hangzhou MetaData, 以及图创软件and TCSoft,

Especially many thanks to EBSCO, a lot of friends from EBSCO lead us to the right and bright path into the future.

That’s the end of my talk.

The next speaker will be my colleague, Mr. Zhou Gang, on the FOLIO modules and migration plans by our Shanghai Library FOLIO team.