The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Where Has the Summer Gone?

Hours of planning, implementation, and hard work over the spring and summer semesters were condensed into this article for my library's newsletter.

The summer months are often thought to be a quiet and peaceful time in academic libraries, a time to catch up from the frenzy of the fall and spring semesters. Since there are fewer students on campus, one might think there should be less to do. However, this was far from the case this summer at Access Services in the Library. New shelving and the shifting of thousands of volumes were just the beginning of the many transformations and modifications that took place over the summer months. Changes were also made to expand and improve our existing services to benefit both library patrons and staff.

Circulation Services updated several of its policies in order to keep current with the needs of the campus community and the trends of peer university libraries. The first of these updates was to eliminate renewals by phone. Today’s privacy concerns and the legal requirement that Social Security numbers not be used for identification purposes made this policy amendment necessary. Library patrons wishing to renew items now may do so online by logging in with their secure PIN or by coming by the Circulation Desk with their BravesOne card. Once the Banner system has been fully implemented and patrons know their Banner ID, we will revisit our phone renewals policy.

A huge transformation in Circulation Services was an overhaul of the fines and fees. The Library is eliminating daily overdue fines on certain items. The Library is more interested in having library materials returned than in collecting overdue fines. However, patrons and students will not be allowed to keep materials indefinitely at no charge. Instead of fines, replacement bills will be issued for severely overdue materials. A bill for a General Collection item will be issued 28 days after the item was due back to the Library. A bill for a media or bestseller item will be sent 12 days after the due date of the item. Each bill will include a nonrefundable $15.00 processing fee.

Because of this new system, and the desire to bring the Library in congruence with our peer libraries, the level of fines at which patrons are blocked from using library services and will have a hold placed on their student account was raised to $25.00. Previously, patrons were blocked when fines reached $5.00. This new level will be fairer to patrons and reduce the amount of staff time used in placing and removing blocks on patron accounts. All existing blocks for fees and fines involving less than $25.00 were removed from students’ accounts.

Interlibrary Loan Services also saw a number of modifications. The first is a new name – Document Delivery Services. Interlibrary loan, the lending and borrowing of materials between libraries, is still included in Document Delivery Services, but is only one component of the services now offered. Over the spring and summer sessions, an electronic delivery system was implemented that will now allow us to deliver requested articles electronically, rather than having patrons come in to pick up paper copies. Patrons can specify their delivery preference in their ILLiad account, the web interface used to make requests for materials.

Document Delivery Services expands this fall to include delivery of items owned by the Library. All library patrons may now place holds on available items in the Library’s online catalog, whereas they were previously limited to holds on checked-out items and items available elsewhere in our consortium. Library staff will now retrieve these items for patrons. Materials will be mailed to faculty and staff through campus mail, and to the home addresses of graduate and distance education students. Materials retrieved for undergraduates will be kept on the hold shelf at the Circulation Desk for one week before being reshelved. However, patrons should be aware that the pull slips take 24 hours to generate in the Library’s computer system, and materials needed sooner than 24 hours should still be retrieved in person by the individual needing the materials. Additionally, using an ILLiad account, article requesting is also now available. Faculty, staff, and graduate and distance education students may request electronic document delivery of articles owned by the Library. Library staff will retrieve, and digitize as necessary, requested articles for electronic delivery through ILLiad. This service is not available to undergraduate students. Undergraduates needing assistance retrieving articles owned by the Library should contact the Reference Desk.

Service expansions continued in Document Delivery with an extension of interlibrary loan services to Friends of the Library members. Previously limited in the use of this service through their local public library, Friends of the Library may now sign up online for an ILLiad account to request materials. Friends of the Library will be limited to the document delivery services currently available for undergraduates. This means that they will be eligible for electronic delivery of interlibrary loan articles and will be responsible for any costs incurred, but will have to come to the Library to pick up returnables and will not be eligible for local article delivery. Friends of the Library needing assistance retrieving articles owned by the Library should also contact the Reference Desk.

Access Services staff members think the recently implemented changes will be beneficial for our patrons and make the use of library resources more efficient and productive. If additional information is needed about any of the changes contact June Power, Access Services/Reference Librarian at

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