"Hot off the Press" is blog series from guest blogger, Teresa Kalber. Teresa is the Network Systems Administrator at Colorado Talking Book Library. In this series, she shares her library's experience being one of the first two KLAS libraries to implement NLS' Gutenberg equipment.

Hot off the Press

The first three posts in the series are here:

Hot off the Press: Part 4, Converting existing patrons

On November 4th, we began the process of converting our existing patrons over to the duplication model. We decided to go with our high-demand patrons (we have a separate patron type for high-demand) first, followed by students. Then we worked on converting the remainder of our patrons based on the number of books they were receiving. We initially set patrons up to get 1 cartridge with 10 books on it.

The first day I converted 100 patrons over. However, I realized that in order to complete the conversion by the end of the year, we would need to convert more than that each day. After discussing this with our mailroom supervisor, it was decided to convert 200 patrons each day.

As I ran queries in KLAS to find the patrons I needed to convert, I created Excel spreadsheets with lists of 200 patron ID’s and saved them as text files with the date I was converting them to DoD. Then I could pull the query into KLAS and use the Batch Update Profile tool to convert all 200 patrons at one time. Then I would scroll through the records to verify everything looked like it should.
One of the problems we had early on was duplication orders being sent to patrons that had a block on their account. As I was scrolling through the patrons, I would find those patrons and make their digital book service inactive so no cartridges would go out. Once the problem was fixed in KLAS, I changed all these patrons back to active for digital books, so those that had an automated date to restart service would get a cartridge.

One week after a patron was converted to DoD, I would to run the same query again and bump their number of cartridges up to 2, and after another week, set them to our max of 3 cartridges. We gradually increased their number so they didn’t get all 3 cartridges at once and also to try and not overwhelm mailroom staff.

Most days, we were getting around 250 orders. We figured once our conversion was done, we would get somewhere between 300-400 cartridges per day. In order to try and meet those numbers and see how it would affect mailroom staff, I upped the number of patrons being converted to DoD to 300 per day.

Around mid-November, we noticed that KLAS and Gutenberg didn’t appear to by syncing again. Orders we created in the morning we not being sent to the Gutenberg machines. We were unable to serve walk-in patrons because their orders wouldn’t go through. After looking into the problem, we discovered that the batch manager was being overwhelmed with creating service queues for the patrons I had converted that morning. After figuring out this was the problem, I didn’t do conversions until after 3:30 in the afternoon. John C. at Keystone also mentioned putting something in place on KLAS so the service queue would function more efficiently (not sure if this was done or not).

Around the same time, NLS had problems with one of their servers, and our duplication order didn’t run in the morning. Because I had converted patrons in the morning, our order didn’t start copying until 3:30 in the afternoon. That caused us to have almost 1000 cartridges the next day. I guess it was a good test for how much duplication we can get done in a day.

With this large order, we realized the copying process went fairly quickly and we could easily make this many cartridges each day. However, printing the mailing cards took most of the day. So we decided to invest in a 2nd printer to alleviate the bottleneck at the printer.

On 12/3, I converted the remainder of our individual patrons to duplication and also the 200 organization accounts we had on automated digital book service. This resulted in our largest duplication order of 1,015 cartridges, although I’m not sure why. Once this conversion was done, I spent the next 2 weeks moving all the patrons up to 3 cartridges each. The process was completely done by 12/11/19, which worked out great since we needed to be closed the week on 12/16 due to a building maintenance issue.

Statistics for 11/4/2019 – 12/31/2019:

  • 15,721 cartridges sent out
  • 3,790 cartridges returned
  • 4,711 patrons received duplication cartridges

Up next: Problems and ongoing issues