OWWLAC Meeting, Tuesday, August 28, 2018

10:00-12:00 at PLSHQ


County funding discussion (Lauren Moore)

Lauren discussed general background of county funding for libraries. Currently Livingston is the only county still providing funds to libraries, based on the large percentage of unserved areas. The 2008/09 recession negatively affected funding. Wyoming stopped funding libraries in 2012 and Wayne and Ontario phased out funding in 2012, related to the implementation of the tax cap. At the same time, changing awareness of other funding models contributed to declines in county support. Counties will not return to direct library support, but there are opportunities for libraries to partner with other county and town agencies. It is increasingly important for libraries to develop strong relationships with town supervisors and local leaders, to identify areas where libraries are suited to assist in government activities - for example, assisting with the census, Wayne county public health questionnaire, digitial inclusion, etc. - and to communicate library value to leaders in concrete ways.

Remove hold blocks for fines and overdues

Patrons with 5+ overdues and $5+ fines cannot place holds, have their available copies captured for their holds, or have captured copies made available. Because fines are added at 11:59PM, patrons could be in good standing when a hold is placed, a copy is captured to fill a hold, or in transit to fill a hold but then tip over the block threshold and their hold request is stuck. This wastes staff time, causes unneccesary transits, and frustrates patrons.

We can configure the overdue and fine blocks to block only circulation. That way, holds can be fulfilled and fines paid before the items can be checked out.

Discussion:

Patrons would need to pay fines/return or renew overdues before checking out their holds. This might encourage more people to pay their fines. Anecdotally, the inability to place holds when blocked is frustrating to frequent, high volume library users.

General consensus at the meeting was that if patrons are blocked, placing new holds shouldn't be allowed until the block is resolved, but that pending holds (waiting for copy, waiting for capture, in-transit to the pickup library, or made available at checkin) should be processed. If patrons are placing holds online, they know that they have fines and if they are unwilling to pay their fines, this might just waste transit and processing time for holds they won't pick up if they know they have fines. On the other hand, this penalizes patrons who are willing to pay their fines and return overdues but haven't had an opportunity to get to the library.

Lindsay will test the settings in Evergreen to determine how the hold blocks can be handled.

Testing results:
  • all hold blocks removed or none. Checkouts will still be blocked.
Feedback needed:
  • Is there system-wide consensus on removing hold blocks for patrons whose accounts are blocked by fines or overdues?

Raise circ block amount

Circulation is blocked at $5.00 fines. Is this too low?

Discussion: $5.00 is still an appropriate amount for blocking patron accounts.

Feedback needed:
  • None
Actions:
  • None
Recommendations:
  • Leave fine block at $5.00.

Text/SMS notifications

Stock options available in Evergreen:
  • Overdue notices: 14 day, 28 day, and 42 day overdue notices
  • 3 day pre-due courtesy notice
Notice currently enabled:
  • Hold ready for pickup
Custom notice that can be configured:
  • Account expired or pre-expiration

Discussion: The group likes the idea of text messages for more alerts than available holds. Anecdotally, patrons ask about text alerts for pre-due items, overdues, account expiration, etc. The group agrees that enabling the 3-day pre-due courtesy notice, 14-day/2-week overdue notice, and account expiration warning would be beneficial.

On investigation, there is no clear way to opt-in to these additional text notices. The only text opt-in - from the staff client or patron online account - is hold notification. More investigation into how text notices are selected is needed. An additional concern regards the number of texts a patron might receive, for example if they have many overdue items.

Feedback needed:
  • Pending additional investigation.
Actions:
  • Lindsay will look into opting in to text notices beyond available holds, where the text number is saved, and the extent of overdue text notices.

Updates to owwl.org > Account Questions information

Old FAQ information on owwl.org has been reviewed and updated.

Copied text: Account Questions for Review doc

Edited information: https://owwl.org/help/account-questions

Out of system patrons in a digital library environment

More out of system people, either former OWWL patrons who have moved or people from neighboring counties, have asked about getting OWWL cards explicitly for downloable books, some of them specifically asking about online card registration and renewal. Our policies for registering out of system patrons do not address these types of questions, assuming that people are coming to physical locations. Should we clarify language about how we provide cards to out of system patrons?

Discussion:

General consensus is that libraries do not want to change our approach to out of system card applicants. Most OOS people who do want cards live in the area, or have ties to the area, and use physical libraries. For inquiries from out of system people explicitly stating they want access to our Overdrive collection, they can come to a PLS library and get a card. The idea of receiving a card directly from a library is also to be carried through in online self-registration.

Actions:
  • None

Proposal: Test Pending Patrons option for online new account requests

Patron questions about online account registration are periodically submitted to PLS via the owwl.org Contact Us form. Evergreen has a feature called Pending Patrons, which adds a form to the catalog login screen that patrons fill out and submit. The information is sent to a list, available within the staff client, from which the data can be verified, and accounts created. PLS proposes a trial of this process, managed by PLS staff.

Discussion:

Agreed that this idea is worthwhile to pilot. Tracking information about the program is important: how many online registrations are submitted, how many in system (IS) vs. out of system (OOS) apply, determine what impact this might have on Overdrive. Agreed to handle out-os-system patrons as closely as possible to how we handle them in-person - since OOS patrons can receive cards in person, they should also receive cards if applying online but need to pick up their cards in person. General concern out of state people would attempt to apply for cards. Agreed to modify the language and model NYPL uses for their online card application - https://www.nypl.org/library-card. Some of the workflow specifics will need to worked out in practice.

Feedback needed:
  • Comments on program talking points

Actions:
  • 1st DRAFT talking points, eligibility language, etc. - please review before sharing with libraries - Lindsay
  • Get feeback from libraries, using talking points document - ALL
  • Coordinate updates to OPAC link, form, etc. with Bob - Lindsay
  • Implement Evergreen configurations - Lindsay

Actions

  • Get feedback / consensus on removing hold blocks for patrons whose accounts are blocked by fines or overdues - ALL
  • Lindsay will look into opting in to text notices beyond available holds, where the text number is saved, and the extent of overdue text notices.
  • 1st DRAFT talking points, eligibility language, etc. - please review before sharing with libraries - Lindsay
    • Get feeback from libraries, using talking points document - ALL
    • Coordinate updates to OPAC link, form, etc. with Bob - Lindsay
    • Implement Evergreen configurations - Lindsay

Outcomes

  • Affirmed $5.00 circulation block threshold
  • Proceed with online registration program
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