Monday, June 13, 2011

While you were out…

Today we welcome our Library Public Services Manager, Nicole "Nicky" McDermott, back from maternity leave. Here she was visiting the library two weeks ago with her husband, Louis, and the newest member of their family, Gracie's little brother, Joshua. (Happy Father's Day, Louis!)

While she has been out acclimating to the changes in her family, much has changed in the library. As Public Services Manager, it is her responsibility to keep the Darling Library open and operational. She oversees circulation, maintains the patron database, overdue notifications, and collection of fines. She handles inter-library loans, course reserves, and inventory. She and her crew of 15-20 student workers assist patrons in using the catalog to find books and other resources in the library.

The way all of these things work is changing! If we hadn't run in to a data migration delay, it would have been completely changed by now. We are in the middle of our testing phase, with a goal to "go live" on Monday, June 20th. That means, out with the old system completely and on with the new. (You can check out the public catalog now.)

Because we will have a whole new kind of integrated library system in WMS, not only will the circulation functions be different, but how we think about it will be different. We won't log in to the circulation module on each computer, but on the Web. So, technically, we're not limited to checking books in or out from any particular workstation... or even from within the library!

Besides that, as with any new system in some cases new policies will have to be created to better accommodate the way it operates.

For example, the new system allows for "reminder notices" to be sent to email accounts prior to a due date to give patrons an opportunity to renew or return items, avoiding overdue fines. (Nice!) But now we have to decide how long before the due date we should send out the email – is a week long enough? Or is that too much time? How often should we send these messages? Every day until the books are returned? Or is that just harassment? This is a very small example, but you get the idea.

Welcome back, Nicky! We hope you remembered your thinking cap!

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