IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: D1

New Users' Circulation Forum

Kriss Ostrom, Michigan State University

Heidi Bruss, Suburban Library System
Ruth Helwig, Central Michigan University
Toma Iglehart, Austin Community College Library
Georgia Fujikawa, Innovative Interfaces

Description: Presenters are prepared to share experiences and to answer questions related to circulation in this open forum.

First, the program coordinator asked the attendees to give a show of hands to indicate what type of libraries they represented. There was even representation among public and academic consortia, and several attendees from each of the following types of libraries: single academic, public, and special libraries. It was acknowledged that with a variety of libraries represented, each has different needs. The program coordinator explained that this forum would address the setup of new systems rather than enhancements. She further explained that the circulation module is the most flexible of all the modules, and that libraries can always make changes and additions.

The presenters introduced themselves and each presenter gave quick hints about the system for new users:

After all presenters introduced themselves, the program coordinator invited questions.

How many patron types do you have?
Kriss's library has four patron types, but she explained that it depends on the library. Heidi has 154 patron types: two patron types for each institution plus patron types for training.

Is there a pattern to how patron types are assigned?
Usually it is to distinguish between adult, juvenile, students, staff/faculty, and volunteers.

Can you manually enter community users with an expiration date?
Yes. There was a discussion of the need for an automated way to get students, faculty, and staff into the system. There is data from many sources. At Michigan State, students, faculty and staff are now updated daily. One caveat: circulation staff do not have much practice entering records, and it is necessary to check records they enter carefully.

How many item types do you use?
Heidi commented that her library system uses 0-99 for adult, 100-199 for juvenile. She has consolidated types. Kriss's library did not think i types were necessary except for periodicals and reserves after converting from NOTIS. However, an INN Reach grant now requires the use of i types.

I can send hold and recall notices online put I cannot send bills via e-mail--why?
The system defaults to putting the notice in paper. It is also possible to turn off the e-mail capability. There are three steps for doing so, and the help desk can assist.

Is it possible to edit the total checkout field?
Yes. You can do a rapid update. Contact the help desk.

Do you have a policy on recalls?
Michigan State uses item specific holds with recalls. A patron is given 14 days from the date the letter was produced. If the item is not returned, their privileges are blocked and the patron is charged a fine of $1 per day.

Do you have a problem with faculty members not responding to recall notices?
There are not many problems at Michigan State because it is a long-standing policy. New faculty may have problems.

We have branch libraries, and the law faculty members are especially a problem. We must go through their offices to get materials back. Do you have a policy in place?
At Michigan State, faculty must pay the fine but they do not get billed for replacement.

Do you have procedures for keeping track of "claims returned" and for serving patrons who need clearance?
Kriss stated her library's policy: If a patron is already billed, do one billed item search. The patron must check the system the next day, and if the item shows as checked out, the patron must pay for the item. Another suggestion is to check in items twice. This has reduced the number of claims returned and puts one in a good position when one comes up. For faculty with a claims returned, they can be sent a bill.

Regarding check-in's and "in transit"-items show as ready for pick up even though the branch hasn't received them yet. Is this due to operator error?
Yes. People may choose hold shelf instead of in transit. This is a training issue.

Do you have any comments on problems with "clear hold shelf"?
It is possible to place the item in transit, and trigger the hold when it reaches the location. This works on a campus where transportation is quick. Libraries with longer distances between locations should choose "in transit".

When we clear hold shelf, an item may show as ready for pick up but the item is not there. This has been happening for the last three weeks. Ideas?
This may be a true bug. Contact the help desk.

Do you have tips on getting the hold cancellation notices to work?
Go into circ options, choose printing options, and look at "drop holds" text. A text association is needed.

We are a special public library with reserve items in the general stacks. These items circulate overnight, but not during the day. What loan rule should we use?
Georgia came up with a workaround after the session. They will try a two hour loan (overnight allowed) on these materials. During the day the staff will be trained NOT to desensitize, which will keep material inside the library, and 2 hours before closing they will desensitize to let it out the gates. Since the material is apparently clearly marked as special reserve this seemed reasonably easy to enforce. Not a perfect solution but apparently acceptable.

Can you put replacement costs in the item record?
Library policies differ. At Austin CC, it depends on the item; the college receives the money, not the library. If an item is over $50, a special stamp is used. Central Michigan has a default charge of $45. If an item is very expensive, the charge may be increased. At Michigan State, a copy of the third overdue notice is forwarded to selectors, who will update item records with a price. The Suburban Library System takes the price out of the item records and adjusts the charge at the individual libraries.

Regarding billing procedures--our school's bursar zero's out or buys out fines which creates problems for the circ staff. Patron records show no books are checked out.
III has products called Bursar Out and Bursar In. Central Michigan has found that with Bursar Out, fines still show in the patron record. They have a programmer who created a program to interface with Bursar Out and the bursar's system. It looks at III's financial reports.

How does telephone notification for overdues work?
The system defaults first to e-mail (z field) then to telephone, then paper. You can key a double pound sign (##) in front of the telephone number to bypass it. You can't use ## in front of an e-mail address. In Release 2001, patrons will be able to use My Millennium to choose their preferences for receiving notices.

Is there a system to eliminate the problem of patrons claiming they have not received overdue notices? The information from the bursar office is identical and patrons have no problems receiving mail from them.
At Central Michigan, this depends on the history with the particular patron. They are less likely to waive fines for habitual offenders.

How do you handle the expiration date for patrons who enroll but then drop out, as their information may still show in the registration system?
At Central Michigan, it is necessary to establish which semester is affected, and their patron information is pulled in based on whether the patron has registered for classes.

Do you purge records on a regular basis?
Policies differ depending on the library. At Central Michigan: All records expire in one year. On campus student records expire at the end of the academic year. Distance education student records expire one year beyond the expiration date of on campus student records. At Austin CC, students must validate each semester.

Is there an interface for the student system?
At Michigan State and Central Michigan, their own programmers wrote the interface.

There was one handout distributed at the forum: "Austin Community College Library Services: Circulation Links", by Toma Iglehart.

Joan Dalrymple, New York University School of Medicine