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Evergreen 2010 : Sine Qua Non

This is the fifth in our series of posts leading up to Evergreen’s Tenth birthday.  

I often tell people I hire that when you start a new job the first month is the honeymoon period. At month three you are panicking and possibly wondering why you thought you could do this. At six months you realize you’ve actually got the answers and at twelve months it’s like you never worked anywhere else. For me, 2010 represented months six through eighteen of my employment with Equinox and it was one of the most difficult, rewarding, and transformative years of my career. Coincidentally, it was also an incredibly transforming year for Evergreen.

In early 2010, Evergreen 1.6 was planned and released on schedule thanks to contributing efforts from the usual suspects back at that time. Bug fixes and new development were being funded or contributed by PINES, Conifer, Mohawk College, Evergreen Indiana, Calvin College, SAGE, and many others in the community. Somewhere in the midst of the ferocious adoption rate and and evolution of 2010, Evergreen quietly and without fanfare faced (and passed) its crucible. Instead of being thrown off stride, this amazingly determined community not only met the challenge, but deftly handled the inevitable friction that was bound to arise as the community grew.

In late August of 2010 KCLS went live on a beta version of Evergreen 2.0 after just over a year of intense and exhilarating development. It marked the beginning of another major growth spurt for Evergreen, including full support for Acquisitions, Serials, as well as the introduction of the template toolkit OPAC (or TPAC). I have nothing but positive things to say about the teams that worked to make that go-live a reality. KCLS and Equinox did amazing things together and, while not everything we did was as successful as we had envisioned, we were able to move Evergreen forward in a huge leap. More importantly, everyone involved learned a lot about ourselves and our organizations – including the community itself.

The community learned that we were moving from a small group of “insiders” and enthusiasts into a more robust and diverse community of users. This is, of course, natural and desirable for an open source project but the thing that sticks out in my mind is how quickly and easily the community adapted to rapid change. At the Evergreen Conference in 2010 a dedicated group met and began the process of creating an official governance structure for the Evergreen project. This meeting led to the eventual formation of the Evergreen Oversight Board and our current status as a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy.

In the day-to-day of the Evergreen project I witnessed how the core principles of open source projects could shape a community of librarians. And I was proud to see how this community of librarians could contribute their core principles to strengthen the project and its broader community. We complement one another even as we share the most basic truths:
*The celebration of community
*The merit of the individual
*The empowerment of collaboration
*The belief that information should be free

Evergreen is special. More importantly, our community is special. And it’s special because behind each line of code there are dozens of people who contributed their time to create it. Each of those people brought with them their passion, their counter-argument, their insight, their thoughtfulness, and their sheer determination. And together, this community created something amazing. They made great things. They made mistakes. They learned. They adapted. They persevered. And those people behind those lines of code? They’re not abstractions. They are people I know and respect; people who have made indelible marks on our community. It’s Mike, Jason, Elizabeth, Galen, Kathy, Bill, Amy, Dan, Angela, Matt, Elaine, Ben, Tim, Sharon, Lise, Jane, Lebbeous, Rose, Karen, Lew, Joan, and too many others to name. They’re my community and when I think back on how much amazing transformation we’ve achieved in just one year, or ten years, I can’t wait to see what we do in the next ten.

– Grace Dunbar, Vice President