Table of Contents
This presentation was the first of a two-part forum. Part one covered the Financial Functions, Holds/Recalls, and Notices.
Kriss began the discussion by asking those present if they would be interested in discussing potential circulation enhancements at the IUG meeting? This would allow the functional experts to get input from members before the final ballot goes out.
The INN-Reach group does something similar to this. They have their enhancements list together at least one month before IUG and then they go through the list, discussing the possible enhancements. They vote at the conference after their discussion, but with the size of this group this is easier for them to do.
The consensus was that people are generally interested in doing something like this. Kriss will set up a listserv for circulation people. She will send a message to the general IUG listserv once the circulation list is up and running so others may subscribe as well.
Topic 1 Unique Management Systems for collection agency
There was quite a bit of discussion on the topic of collection agencies specifically Unique Management. They are good at collecting, and also at finding patrons who have moved. Kriss suggested that Unique would also rewrite their generic letters so that they are more specific to your institution, for a small fee. They can also send notices. Once they get the list of patrons who should get notices, they are processed and mailed by the next day.
There was a question about whether there could be some profiling by Ptype so that faculty (for example) would not get notices. This is available. You can also run a review file, exclude those ptypes that do not get notices, and e-mail the file to Unique for processing.
Amy mentioned that there is an Innovative product that automatically creates the collection agency report, which can then be ftpd to the collection agency. Amy says that this product does a better job of reporting information back to Unique on fines that the patron has paid and is better than any job that can be done in create lists. For more information contact III. There will be a PowerPoint presentation available on this product on CSDirect soon.
There was a question about the effect on the image of the library once the use of the collection agency started. Most who have used Unique have said that people would pay the fees, but, most importantly, they return the books.
One library includes a statement with their overdue notices stating that, if the notice is not acted upon within a certain time frame, their account would be sent to collections.
For further information on Unique Management please contact them at:
Unique Management Services, Inc.
515 Michigan Avenue
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Topic 2 Keeping Pay History File
One library must keep their pay history file for longer than the 6 months allowed on the system and is wondering if there is a way to save the information longer.
Several potential solutions were given. One library keeps backup tapes. Another library suggested saving this information to disk. There was a lot of interest expressed in the ability to output this information to a file which Amy from Innovative noted.
You can increase the amount of storage space in this file by calling the Help Desk. There is no charge. It may take a little longer to bring up the file though.
Topic 3 Fine and bill files
One library wanted to be able to sort out the fines by college. They also want to be able to sort by invoice number. It appears that the capability to sort by invoice number might be available in Rel. 2001.
San Jose State and Public Library are going to be building a joint building with one circulation desk yet different patron codes etc. They are wondering how to keep the funds separate. Someone suggested that they look at the prefix on the item or patron barcode to figure out where the fine belongs. Others suggested that they print out the fine payment history and sort them out that way. One library that has a similar situation collects the fines all in one spot (at the public library) and then returns the fine money to the other institution in kind. This appears to work well for them.
Topic 4 Trouble with "in transit" message not clearing at check in. No one else has been experiencing that problem so it would be best to report this to the help desk.
Topic 5 Minneapolis Public Library
MPL has 14 branch libraries and would like the ability to put holds on checked out items, using copy returned soonest. There are times when the item says it is available and on shelf when it is not. They use the branch hierarchy table yet the holds are not working the way that they would like them to. They do not want to place item level holds.
It was suggested that it would help if there were a different status code in the staff display of an item record when an item is checked out. Currently, the same status shows when checked out or available. Some libraries would need more status codes to do this.
In the library priority table if you are not using this then the holds ought to work they way that you want them to. They would also like the ability to page items as well. At SLS, the computer randomly chooses which library to page. This can be turned on by calling the help desk.
Topic 6 Library Contract items
There are some libraries that have specific services being developed for them in their contract when they went with III. Other libraries want to know about these developments so they have the option of including them at their institutions by upgrade or purchase. Amy responded that if a service is developed for one library that III thinks more libraries will like they either include it as a part of a new Release or sell it as a separate product. Amy said that III is doing a good job of distributing information on new features/products that are added in every new release via the enhancements lists they distribute. She agreed that III didnt always do as good of a job in the past but that now since they have product managers they are very careful to announce all of the new features and products.
Topic 7 Transit messages
Some libraries do not want the message that the book being checked in does not belong at their library and do they want to print a transit slip. There should be an option to turn this feature on or off in the circulation parameters instead of having to call the help desk. Amy said that III is putting more options into the parameters.
Topic 8 Rel.2000 Update D Problems with clearing the hold shelf
The patron goes in and cancels a hold they have and it does not move through the hold queue properly. When clearing the hold shelf, the book appears to already be at the next location and prints or sends a notice to the patron. When they come to pick up their book, it is still in transit.
Topic 9 View outstanding holds
Is there a way to manipulate the view outstanding holds screen? Some libraries would like the ability to limit or modify holds within this list. There is a way to sort the list but not to limit by other criteria. There is quite a bit of interest in an enhancement OR availability in create lists. Amy mentioned that create lists are for records and that holds are not records. An enhancement is the appropriate way to proceed in this case.
Topic 10 Problems with Holds
Many have had questions about problems with holds in Mil. Circ. Most of the problems were solved in Update D and D+.
Topic 11 Patrons placing holds
When a patron places a hold the pickup location should be linked to the shelf location. Patrons are not having items paged for them from the location of pickup even though that item is available it is being paged from a location perhaps miles away.
Topic 12 Display & transfer paged items report
This report should pick up items that should have been pulled from one specific library and were not. It appears to be pulling only items that are to be picked up at that library and not the items that should have been pulled from that library. The library paged, not the pick up location generates the report. We would like to be able to view outstanding holds from this report so items not pulled could be tracked down.