August 5, 2015

Koha Features Overview

Koha is the first released free and open source software library automation package (ILS) and is 100% browser-based. Koha was created in 1999 by Katipo Communications for the Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand, and the first installation went live in January 2000. Development is sponsored by libraries of varying types and sizes, volunteers, and support companies from around the world. As such, the features set is constantly expanding and evolving to meet the needs of its user base. Koha continues to attract libraries around the world that value excellent support services, desire an ILS with ample functionality, and embrace the values of open source.

Koha received top marks in “Perceptions 2016: An International Survey of Library Automation” conducted by Marshall Breeding.

The following list of features is meant to be used as a brief overview as it is not comprehensive. If you have any questions about Koha features, please feel free to contact us. Here are links to the latest release notes on the official Koha website.

Koha Version 16.05
Date Published 2/06/2016
Implemented for CALYX clients on 03/11/2016

OPAC/Public Catalogue

  • Fully customisable OPAC with optional display of latest tiles in a carousel or in a list
  • A responsive design that works well both for desktop web browsers and mobile devices
  • Search filtering by keyword, location, item type, subjects and more advanced searching
  • Ability to use both user defined tags and MARC subjects for searching
  • Cover images from several popular services
  • Enhanced OPAC content from external products such as Open Library, Syndetics, Baker & Taylor and LibraryThing
  • Tagging, commenting and star ratings
  • Availability and online resource links shown on search results
  • Virtual shelf browser
  • Social network share buttons
  • Permanent URLs throughout
  • Overdrive and EDS API Integration
  • Personalised patron experience:
    • Ability to place, suspend and cancel holds
    • List of current and past checkouts
    • Account history (fines and payments)
    • Private lists
    • Access to account information
    • Subscribe/Unsubscribe to/from library notices via email, SMS and/or phone
    • Make purchase suggestions
  • RSS Feeds for lists and news
  • Access to external links from catalogue can be controlled by IP Address new_icon


  • Check in and out with a barcode scanner or manually
  • Enter calendar of holidays or public holidays for calculating fines and due dates
  • Ability to forgive fines on check in
  • Holds pull list generated on your schedule
  • Course reserves
  • Offline circulation for Windows and/or Firefox
  • Place, suspend and cancel holds for patrons
  • Transfer materials between branches
  • Set circulation, fine and holds rules for each branch
  • Perform collection inventory
  • Communication with collection management companies
  • Web-based self check out module
  • Ability to restrict check outs by patron’s age as well as patron type
  • Checkout by keyword, title, call number, etc.
  • Due date managed to the hour or day
  • Easily managed hold/reservation expiration dates new_icon


  • Upload patrons in bulk
  • Upload patron images individually or in bulk
  • Create patron cards
  • Batch modify patrons
  • Run reports on circulation custom to your library
  • Search patrons by phone, email address, name and more
  • Browse patrons by name
  • Connect children to guardians and see an entire family’s current checkouts on one screen
  • Set rules to prevent check out of inappropriate materials to children
  • Add custom searchable fields to patron records
  • Discharge management
  • Ability to pay patron fines and fees from circulation module new_icon


  • Add bibliographic and authority records by batch uploading
  • Add records by copy cataloguing with a built in Z39.50 search engine
  • Add records using the OCLC Connexion client
  • Add records using original cataloguing
  • Add and modify items individually or in a batch
  • Easily able to import and export records from other LMSs
  • Add and link to authority records
  • Z39.50 compatibility for authority records
  • Duplicate bibliographic records for pseudo-original cataloguing
  • Catalogue following AACR2 or RDA rules
  • Create custom cataloguing templates with pre-set values for efficient cataloguing
  • Built in links to Library of Congress cataloguing help
  • Create spine and barcode labels
  • Ability to duplicate or merge existing records and items new_icon
  • Batch modify and delete items and bibliographic records
  • Create public lists of records at the library
  • Choice of professional cataloguing interface or guided for those with less experience new_icon


  • Complete access to all data stored in Koha; write any report you want
  • Custom reports shared publicly on the Koha wiki
  • Easily run any saved report at any time
  • Access to large, free to use online report repository developed by librarians around the world
  • Group reports by branch, category or any custom criteria
  • Enter filters on reports to run them on for specific item types, branches, patron categories, time frames and so much more
  • Search reports for easy access


  • Enter budgets and funds
  • Duplicate budgets and funds for the following year
  • Keep track of all vendor information
  • Order from vendor files
  • Order multiple copies
  • Order copies of existing records
  • Order by searching Z39.50 targets
  • Track order status
  • Generate late reports and claim letters
  • Importing and overlaying of pre-processing records
  • Track budget encumbrances and expenditures
  • Create ‘on order’ items to allow patrons to place holds
  • Accept purchase suggestions and keep patrons notified as the item moves through the Acquisitions process
  • Order using EDI


  • Create subscriptions with full prediction patterns
  • Receive issues one at time or in bulk
  • Barcode serials on receipt if desired
  • Generate late issue reports and claim emails
  • Simple special issue receiving process that doesn’t alter prediction pattern
  • See full serial history
  • Print routing lists for each subscription
  • Duplicate subscriptions for multiple branches
  • Ability to create custom fields for managing subscriptions new_icon


  • Full access to administrative functions
  • Over 550 system preferences to make Koha run just the way you want
  • Full circulation and fine rules matrix for each branch
  • Define your own libraries, item types, shelving locations and more
  • Create custom pull down menus for use in cataloguing, patron management and invoicing
  • Enter/change Z39.50 targets


  • Unlimited SIP2 connections
  • LDAP functionality
  • MySQL database
  • Works with RFID and self check out products