Sierra & Encore during Covid 19

Sierra: Reopening your library - May 22, 2020

Our process for reopening libraries after the COVID-19 closures will consist of several measures applied globally by MHLS staff, followed best practices, applied in each of our member libraries, to build towards our normal operating levels.

Staff Only – No In-Person, Physical Services – No Delivery
Once staff return to the building; they will be able to process the items returned to the building and any items that are
waiting in delivery bins to be processed.

MHLS Will

 Some activity happens prior to and during soft opening.
  • Update Encore messaging with date for future service restoration 
  • All items that had a due date of 3/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 are now due on 6/30/2020 
  • All items on the holdshelf on have been extended through 6/30/2020.  MHLS will maintain the extension for new items being put on the holdshelf through 6/30/2020. 
  • Days closed table has been updated to close all libraries. 
  • A code for waiving fines for COVID-19 is in place as a payment type in Sierra 
  • MHLS has edited the text message to alert patrons to check the library website 
  • All items borrowed thru MHLS ILL have been extended by supplying libraries to May 29th.  The due dates will be extended again and again as the Governor extends the deadline.   

Library Does

  • Review your dates in the days closed table and update if there are changes.  You complete the online days closed form if you would like MHLS to edit the table on your behalf. 
  • The library will need to determine if they will waive fines during the closure.  If they choose to waive fines:
    • Begin checkins with a backdate to the last date open for business.  This will eliminate fines, overdues and bills for items that have been dropped off. 
    • Waive fines using the COVID-19 payment when waiving 
  • Check in your delivery bins.  It is important to re-use the bins for your outgoing delivery items during this higher demand for delivery. 
  • Holds for patrons may be placed by staff.  Paging will not extend outside of the local collection 
  • Items checked in that can fill holds for other locations may be denied in this interim. 
  • Do not use MHLS delivery bins to quarantine items in your library.   
    • Items filling holds can go on the holdshelf will have an extended period for pickup (June 30th) and not the usual 7 days. 
    • Shelve items that belong in your library that do not have holds 
  • Items that check in and go in transit can be placed in delivery bins.   
  • Prepare a local holds list using Create Lists to fill all holds for your pickup location that can be filled with your own collection 
    Instructions 
  • After you have filled all local holds, run the item and title paging, filling any standing holds that your collection may currently be able to fill for your library.  You can continue to run the Title paging daily for new staff placed holds. 
  • Staff functions in Sierra that are unrelated to circulation and notices may be completed (cataloging, orders, patron entry, patron record merging and online patron registration review). 
  • You can clear your holdshelf.  This will clear any holds that have been cancelled by patrons.  Items on the holdshelf will not expire until 6/30/2020. 

Library
Does Not

  • Do not send Hold Pick Up notices– your patrons will not be able to pick up until you are open.  The messages will remain in the queue until business resumes. 
  • Do not send Overdue notices 
  • Do not send Bills 

 

Open (Curbside Service or Facility) – Delivery not yet resumed

MHLS Will

  • Remove Encore messaging in header
  • Return text messaging to original version
  • Monitor the Holds system and Delivery for issues and modify processes as necessary

Library Does

  • MHLS needs to know you are opening at least one business day before you open. We need to make edits in Sierra on your behalf.
  • Update website with changes to your open hours and provide curbside details
  • Paging in Sierra has been disabled for paging library collections outside of your building.
  • Holds for patrons may be placed by staff. Paging will not extend outside of the local collection
  • Items checked in that can fill holds for other locations may be denied in this interim.
  • You MUST Clear Holdshelf – This will be very important in managing the volume of holds and notices. The extended dates of your holdshelf will protect those items patrons are waiting for.  Clearing will eliminate any data that should be cleared from holds cancelled by patrons in our downtime.
  • The library will need to determine if they will waive fines during the closure. MHLS can extend due dates to eliminate fines to mitigate the number of items with fines during closures. 
    • Continue to check-in with a backdate to the last date open for business. This will eliminate fines, overdues and bills for items that have been dropped off or were due during the closure and are checking in now. 
    • Waive fines using the COVID-19 payment when waiving
    • Once the volume of items due during the COVID-19 closure is covered
  • Send Hold Pickup notices to alert patrons of items on the holdshelf  

Library
Does Not

  • Do not send Overdue notices – if you have more than 1,000 outgoing messages.  If you have more than 1,000 outgoing messages call tech support at 845-471-6060, and we will advise you on the next step.  We may delay your send until the queue is lower.

Open (Curbside or Facility) with Delivery Restarted

MHLS Will

  • Monitor the Holds system and Delivery for issues and modify processes as necessary
  • Open holds to the public in Encore by adding back the request it button.
  • Announce the ability for libraries to run notices based on volume.
  • Hold notices will be prioritized
  • Overdue notices and bills will be staged last.

Library Does

  • MHLS needs to know you are opening at least one business day before you open. We need to make edits in Sierra on your behalf, if you were not open in the previous phase.
  • Update website with changes to your schedule and provide curbside details and instructions.
  • Clear Holdshelf – This will be very important in managing the volume of holds and notices. The extended dates of your holdshelf will protect those items patrons are waiting for.  Clearing will eliminate any data that should be cleared from holds cancelled by patrons in out downtime.
  • The library will need to determine if they will waive fines during the closure. MHLS can extend due dates to eliminate fines to mitigate the number of items with fines during closures.   
    • Continue to check-in with a backdate to the last date open for business. This will eliminate fines, overdues and bills for items that have been dropped off or were due during the closure and are checking in now. 
    • Waive fines using the COVID-19 payment when waiving
    • Once the volume of items due during the COVID-19 closure is covered
  • Send Hold Pickup notices to alert patrons of items on the holdshelf

Closing the library - 3/18/2020

In the face of the unprecedented spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the corresponding action by federal, state, county, local and library officials in the past week, the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) will temporarily suspend holds and the delivery system this week.

This decision was developed in consultation with MHLS staff, the leadership of the MHLS Directors Association and the MHLS Board of Trustees. As you can imagine, this decision was not taken lightly. A combination of public health concerns as well as the logistic realities of our cooperative public library system call for this measure to support the majority of our libraries who have decided to suspend public services during this challenging time.

MHLS Support:

  • MHLS support staff are available to you during regular business hours by phone, email and ticketing. Your best approach, as always, for reporting issues or requesting support is by sending an email to techsupport@midhudson.org
  • Knowledge Base website at midhudson.org has truly developed into a great resource. Please do take some time to check out the incredible storehouse of good information. 

Sierra Access:

You will not be able to uses Sierra from home with the standard Sierra Desktop application.  The Sierra Desktop Application (installed client) requires a static IP that has been included in the Amazon Cloud’s whitelisted addresses.  The use of the web-based client, which can be launched in an internet browser, has a limit of 50 users, system wide, and is not fully functional in all areas.  Please limit staff time in the web client to allow other users access and do not leave sessions unattended.

Action: Access Sierra in the usual way from your buildings.  Access Sierra through the web client from home when necessary, and as briefly as possible.

Suspension of Holds and Delivery Services to Member Libraries:

  1. Holds were suspended effective 3:00pm Monday, March 16, 2020 for all libraries.
  • MHLS has put into place a block on the placement of new holds across all ptypes
  • MHLS Suppressed the “Request It” button doe patron requests in Encore.

Action: None.  These measures are in place universally, across the system.

  1. Existing holds that are not processed will remain in their current status
  • Holds that have been placed will remain in pending status
  • Items on Holdshelves will not expire if the library has been properly closed
  • Items set in transit in delivery will stay in transit until delivery resumes and the receiving library has checked them in.
  • Paging will not take place, as most libraries will be closed. Any open libraries will be prioritized in the paging order (based on the days closed table in Sierra)
  • Libraries who are open can opt to not send materials to other members until delivery resumes.
  • While the paging cycles will continue in the background, they will restart once they complete the cycle of libraries with available copies.
  1. Delivery Services will be suspended until at least Tuesday, March 31, 2020 with a reassessment of these services conducted by MHLS staff, the leadership of the MHLS Directors Association and the MHLS Board of Trustees by Friday, March 27, 2020.

Action: At this time you can stop sending notices, clearing the holdshelf and paging.  Once the library opens and delivery resumes these activities can and should be stopped.

Notices & Auto Renewal

  1. Some libraries have extended their due dates through the end of the closed dates, so there will be no overdue notices to send. However, items that were overdue before the closed period that were not extended, will remain in or move to Billed status.  It is up to the library to decide to send these items.  Libraries who have items due during the closed periods can still send notices.  For those libraries that subscribe, the Telephone Notification System (TNS) remains operational.
  2. Paging can be suspended at this time unless a library is open and chooses to do so. Items paged to be shipped to closed branches can simply be ignored until delivery resumes. 
  3. Courtesy Notices are set up to run automatically and will continue to run daily. Auto renewals are still taking place as long as the criteria for renewal is met (less holds than available copies, renewals left, and patron owes less than $10). 

The courtesy notice has been updated to include the following statement:
Notice: To aid with social distancing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the majority of our member libraries’ facilities are closed. Therefore, no holds may be placed on items in the online catalog through the end of March.

Don’t Forget: Our libraries offer many online services including ebooks and downloadable audiobooks, online classes, eMagazines and language learning, all accessible through the toolbar above.

Actions:

  1. If you would like your due dates extended, the Director must open a ticket by sending an email to techsupport@midhudson.org
  2. At this time you can stop sending notices, clearing the holdshelf and paging. Once the library opens and delivery resumes these activities can and should be stopped. 

ILL /Seal

  1. Southeastern has suspended ILL through Seal, effective 3/17 and have requested that libraries offer leniency on due dates during this crisis.
  2. Empire Delivery will be fully suspended for MHLS libraries effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
  3. Articles can be requested through Southeastern using this referral form to request any needed materials.

Action:  Consider leniency on items that have gone out of your library to fill interlibrary loans.  The delays through social distancing, closed libraries and suspended delivery were unforeseen and quickly put in place.

 

Encore

  1. Our new Encore toolbar has launched providing patrons access to more remote resources and for many libraries, remote registrations. The tool bar includes links to the library’s websites, our shared eResources, Language Learning, Online Classes, and also access to the eResources that libraries and counties purchase on their own.

The “Request it” button has been removed from the Encore results Summary and full record display.

  1. The checkout function for Overdrive remains in place.
  2. Encore’s banner carries the following statement during this Corona (Covid 19) crisis.

Notice:

To aid with social distancing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the majority of our member libraries’ facilities are closed. Therefore, no holds may be placed on items in the online catalog through the end of March.

Don’t Forget: Our libraries offer many online services including eBooks and Downloadable Audiobooks, Online Classes, eMagazines and Language Learning, all accessible through the toolbar above.

Patron Online Registrations

  1. Patron registrations are forwarded to the library using the email that was designated when the registration form was created. Changes to who receives it can be made by directors through a ticket.
  2. Staff should continue to review records as they are created and within 30 days
    Action: Registrations should be reviewed by staff within 30 days if possible.