OWWLAC Meeting, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

10:00-12:00, at PLSHQ


Rebecca Budinger-Mulhern (AVO), Chris Finger (GPL/Central), Sandra Hylen (ONT), Theresa Streb (LYO); Melissa Correia (CS) filling in for Diana Thorn; Lindsay Stratton (PLS)


Lisa Gricius (WAR), Stacey Wicksall (RJ)

Old Business / Updates from Previous Action Items

3-year expired patrons marked inactive

Request submitted to our vendor (PLS) - update made, process now running daily, Bob will run a few reports to make sure things are running as they should.


Looking at the "3 Year Inactive Patron" report, we noted that the alert message "Account marked inactive in … because privileges expired 3 or more years ago" does not appear in the patron records. Lindsay will request that this is added back.

Follow up: the alert message "Account automatically marked inactive because privileges expired 3 or more years ago" is scheduled to appear in future records.

Legacy Bills Browser - still needed?

  • Feedback from members
  • Reports of patrons with Legacy Bills and other old fines being tested (LS)

Only a very few libraries use the Legacy Bills Browser with any regularity. OWWLAC recommends not moving the legecy bills browser to the new website. Legacy bills will remain in Evergreen; Overdue bills will not include any item/circulation information but most LOST legacy bills should include title and checkout dates. All of these bills are 4 years old or older.

The Legacy Bills Browser will remain available until the launch of the new PLS website (sometime late October 2014.)

New Business

Standard recommendation for deleting old bills

OWWLAC proposes the following recommendation: deleting unpaid bills that are 5 years or older, regardless of amount or billing type. It is hoped that this will enable us also to delete associated Lost materials copy records, and old patron records (already marked inactive due to expiration at 3 years).


OWWLAC considered other alternatives, such as limiting deleted bills by billing type or amount, but general consensus indicates that this will onjloy continue to obscure the larger issue clinging to debt with a low potential for repayment, and a database full of records that will never be resolved. OWWLAC members feel that 5 years is a reaonable time to wait for an absent patron to return to the library, and also marks a reasonable time to give a patron a clean slate.

One alternate idea proposed was automatically deducting a percentage of patrons' bills annually (perhaps an amount linked to tax levies?)

OWWLAC members will seek feedback on this issue from member libraries.

Paperless patron registration

General discussion about the potential to go paperless for patron registration. Why do we use paper registration forms? For the signature - to compare in case of duplicate records or to confirm identity. For the psychological aspect of signing an agreement/contract. Authenticating the patron's identity. Are there electronic options to capture and save patron signatures with their records? We need to investigate electronic signature pads/devices, how much they might cost, how they would integrate with Evergreen. Uniform hardware/software process used by all libraries is critical. Another patron identification option includes patron photos stored in Evergreen (there is some existing code for this), similar to the Y and opther membership-based organizations. The registration process would NOT otherwise change. More information is definitely needed, but going paperless is a good direction to explore.

An unrelated - but similar - idea is patron-initiated, online registration. There is basic code for this in Evergreen. A patron can enter their information, which is sent to a queue awaiting staff mediation. The person would come to the library to show ID in order for staff to make the record official.

Required information for patron account

  • Current required fields
  • Using dummy information in required fields, specifically patron contacts
  • Patron information and privacy concerns or other issues (domestic safety, unstable housing, etc.); contacting patrons for holds and bills
Discussion: this topic arose because of a tricky issue involving a patron who provided contact information to the hme library, but did not want that data saved in the database. One the materials checked out became overdue, and the owning library realized there was no way to get notices to the patron.

The current documentation/OWWL policies regarding patron registration do not address required elements of the patron record, other than noting that some fields are required in order to create the record. Nor is there any guidance for library directors/staff on handling these difficult customer service issues.


OWWLAC agrees that: patron contact information, minimally a physical mail address, is essential; libraries should have a patron information privacy policy; if a patron refuses to provide contact information, that patron should not be added to the database or allowed to borrow materials from other libraries. If the lending library wishes to allow the person to borrow their library's materials, that is at their discretion.

Lindsay will update the patron registration and OWWL Policy information.

Collection Development Policies

The following policies are no longer official PLS policies, as per PLS Board decision:

  • Cooperative Collection Development - last updated 2007; intended to promote effective use of local funds and supporting a wide variety of materials system wide, by means of designated libraries focusing their collection development efforts in specific subject/genre areas.
  • Last Copy - last updated 2008; intended to preserve "last copies" of significant or definitive works.
  • Older Title - intended to define criteria used by member libraries when requesting new title records for older materials; not an actual "policy." See current guidelines in the Collection Development: Older Title Guidelines document.

Question was raised asking if collection development policies are included in the NYS Minimum Public Library Standards. They are not. The minimum standards do mention regular collection evaluation.

Even though PLS no longer plans to take an active role in managing coordinated collection development activities, we do recognize that collection management/analysis is an important part of library management and service. To that end, we will facilitate collection development meetings or working groups, and will focus on developing and providing collection analysis reports and CE opportunities. If member libraries wish to pursue a collection development/management working group, PLS will gladly facilitate or offer meeting space.

Collection management reports

Following a suggestion at the 6/20/14 Birds of a Feather session: create a new report, somewhat influenced by the "Circ Stats by Shelving Location" report, listing circulation statistics by item stat cats, such as: adult fiction books/audiobooks/etc., children's nonfiction, etc.


Lindsay will work on developing a test report based on stat cats.


  • OWWLAC reps - discuss paperless registration ideas/issues with member libraries
  • LS - update documentation/policies regarding required patron information
  • OWWLAC reps - discuss proposal for deleting old bills with member libraries
  • LS - work on "Circ by Item Stat Cats" report


  • The Legacy Bills Browser will discontinued after October 2014

Next Meeting

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 10:00am-12:00.
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