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Using a Raspberry Pi as an OPAC

Special call out to a super tech librarian over at the Ames Free Library in Easton. Jed Phillips was published for his work on using Raspberry Pi's as OPACs (our library catalog computers). Libraries usually take some of their older computers and recycle them into "library searching" only computers. Libraries have a tough time allocating computers to this quick and necessary need to help patrons locate books or other resources without having to wait in line for a reference computer. These computers require updates and sometimes too much lock down. If a library is buying new computers for them to be OPACs only, the raspberry pi, a much cheaper alternative, is under a $100. Read more on Public Libraries Online.  He even included instructions on how to set up your own. Talk about a time saver! I will be working with Raspberry Pi's as a take home circulate-able makerspace kit for our library. Coming Soon!


  1. In 2013 I attended a demonstration of using an RPi as an OPAC. At the time the presenter used kiosk software which was not completely viable as an OPAC. I did buy an RPi for my own use however. Five Pi's later, I have found that the RPi 3 can be used as a viable OPAC. I am currently in the process of replacing our 8 thin client OPACs with RPi's. I went with Raspbian Jessie using the Pixel desktop and the Chromium browser. I edited autostart to stop the screen saver and load Chromium. I am refining the Chromium setup to limit browsing, Our OPACs are filtered using a CIPA filter, but I have found that patrons do browse away from the catalog, checking mail and in one case shopping on Amazon (and not closing their account when they finished, this by the way was on a thin client not an RPi). I know some additional refinement will be necessary. but I'm pretty confident the RPi's will work as OPAC's.


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