LMR ~ Automation for School Libraries

Jewish school libraries use a wide variety of automation systems. According to the 2010 AJL survey, 93.7% are automated.. The two most popular systems are:
OPALS (OPALS supports both Hebrew and English font. See more information below)
Follett Destiny
A smaller number of school libraries reported using the following systems:
Koha by Equinox,
Other systems reported in the survey that are being used by school libraries are:
Infocentre; Winnebago Spectrum and Athena.
These three systems were developed by Sagebrush which is now owned by the Follett Corporation.
Follett Software Co. continues to provide support for current users but they are no longer being sold.
I have been informed by a company representative that ResourceMate is also used by a number of schools. It is a popular system among synagogue libraries.


OPALS-NA An open source, web-based, unicode-compliant library automation service. Jewish high school libraries who participated in the Avi Chai Bookshelf Grant program urged Harry Chan, the the owner of Media Flex, to develop an affordable automation system that could read both Hebrew and English. Many of the Avi Chai schools either automated for the first time with OPALS or migrated their existing automation systems to OPALS.

  • Harry Chan presented at the 2007 AJL convention in Scottsdale. The powerpoint of his presentation is available here: Hebrew Script Cataloguing - OPALS.ppt
  • Instruction sheet on how to import records into OPALS from other catalogs such as the Library of Congress.
  • At the 2008 AJL-NYMA Reference Workshop, there were two presentations by librarians who are using OPALS in their libraries:
    • Overview and PracticumJoyce Levine, Librarian, North Shore Hebrew Academy H.S.
      Audio (1:01:53)
    • Experiences with ImplementationBeverly Gellar, Director of Library/Media, The Frisch School
      Audio (44:01)

The Avi Chai Bookshelf libraries also created a union catalog:
The Avi Chai Union Catalog -- A catalog containing the holdings of numerous Avi Chai school libraries. The catalog is Z39.50 compliant, meaning that you can download records from it and put them in your catalog. You can search in Hebrew and English and see records in both languages. If you want to add the union catalog to the list of libraries on your system that you can use to search for records, here's the information you need:
Host Name: avichai.calypso.scoolaid.net
Port: 210
Database Name: avichai
Syntax: USMARC
Encoding: UTF8