IndependentBranches v.s. multiple instances

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So you have one server and multiple libraries. What is the best way to install and run Koha?

The short answer is: "If you want different libraries with entirely different collections, policies, preferences, etc, then you need different instances".

Please note that whichever way you choose, the recommended mode of installation on Debian and Ubuntu is to use the packages for installation.

There are three options:

One instance

You run koha-create once, and then toggle the IndependentBranches syspref to suit your needs.


  • All libraries share the same bibliographic records, so a document only has to be catalogued once.


  • Librarians can see patrons from all libraries, unless IndependentBranches=ON

Multiple instances

You run koha-create once for each library. This results in completely independant instances, where each instance has its own database, with bibliographic records, patrons, setting etc completely independent from all the other instances.


  • Each library can have its own circulation rules, systempreference settings, OPAC customizations etc


  • There is no easy sharing of bibliographic records (well, they can be shared via Z39.50, of course)