As states ease restrictions and some staff are returning to large pile-ups of returned books (or a suspicious absence of returned books), and things are still far from “business as usual”, how is everyone handling it?
I’ll discuss some approaches that have come into our support inbox so far, but everyone has a little bit different situation, so remember these are just a few ideas to get you started. Please continue to contact us as needed to help strategize and determine the best workflows to get you back on track.
Albany called in reinforcements from other departments and raised their card limit while they get caught up. Their strategy was to start by checking out the waiting Mail Cards and then focus on check-ins knowing that they had the extra staff to handle the surge of assignments this would cause the next day.
Libraries that don’t have reinforcements to call on likely want to take a somewhat different approach.
Braille Institute, for example, is working to get caught up on check-ins but is not ready to start sending outgoing mail again. They set their Daily Circulation Cutoff to zero, but that control stops Nightly from assigning books... not Reserves, which are filled on check-in. So, once they’ve finished checking in books each day, they are then Unassigning the whole batch that has been generated this way from the Mail card Review screen. Because the titles have only been Assigned, not checked out, the reserves will stay on the patron records. However, this approach helps to keep assignments fresh—if the patron downloaded the title from BARD in the meantime, the reserve will be cleared when Braille Institute loads their BARD Stats. They are also taking this time to shelve everything that was currently on turnaround, clean the shelves, and start the check-ins with a new shelf order and set-up.
Oregon Talking Books is returning to sending outgoing books, but only by Duplication. Because switching a patron to Duplication service shifts KLAS to only counting duplication orders towards the NS Cutoff, it won’t matter that they are catching up on check-ins more gradually. As an added complication, they are required to send all outgoing containers inside a manilla envelope due to the life of the virus on plastic. We’re working with them to generate these additional mailing labels, which will allow them to greatly ramp up the number of cartridges they can send per day.
Nevada is also making the switch to Duplication. They've started with a nightly Duplication Order limit of 100, though they may need to increase it as they get more of their patrons converted and more experience with duplicating. We helped them unassign the large batch of outstanding Physical service mail cards, and like Braille Institute, they will be unassigning the new ones generated each day as Reserves are made available. However, because those patrons are likely to be great candidates for duplication, we’ve recommended they export the list from the “Mailing Cards – Review” screen before unassigning the batch. They can then save the list of Patron IDs to import as a query set and convert them to duplication using the “Batch Update Patron Profile” tool.
We hope this gave you some things to think about—both in terms of approaches to take and complications to consider. Please reach out any time you’d like some help, or if you just want to confirm something will work the way you expect it to.