Valeda attended the first part of the meeting as a guest to discuss the budget situation for the Libraries and RIS. The budget situation at the state level is dire this year, with the potential for a cut to our operating costs ranging anywhere from 3 - 7%. In comparison, the cut to our operating budget two years ago was 10%.
Since Access Services currently has three open lines (Assistant Head, Library Associate II - Chang, Library Assistant II - Alex) there is the potential that we could permanently lose one, two, or all three of those lines. During the previous budget problems, Access Services did not have any open lines but other departments had their open lines frozen. The Libraries realize that it will be difficult to continue to freeze lines (list would only continue to grow) and that due to the ongoing budget concerns, the only real option is to permanently lose some open staff lines.
We are also anticipating a cut to our voucher budget for part-time employees. That cut could be on par with the cut to the voucher budget two years ago, which was a flat 35% cut for Access Services.
Valeda is currently working on budget scenarios for RIS, with the assumption of a 7% cut to our operating budgets and the potential to lose several lines. Decisions on budgets and lines should be in place by June 30th.
Systems will be bringing Workflows down for three days, from Monday, 5/19 to Wednesday, 5/21, to move the Unicorn system files to a brand new Oracle server. Systems will be working with SirsiDynix to convert the Unicorn database files from the current C-ISAM structure to the new Oracle structure. Also, Systems will be converting the Test system to Oracle from Monday, 4/21 to Wednesday, 4/23.
During these three days in May, Workflows will not be available and IRIS will only be available in a static, read-only version. Chris asked the group if anyone was interested in using StandAlone (now called Offline Circulation) during the three days that Workflows will be down. Staff from Alexander, LSM, Dana, and Robeson asked to use Offline Circulation. Tracey from Systems will meet with staff from the sites before the down time to go over Offline Circulation, as it has been several years since we have experienced extended downtime. The rest of the RUL sites will use forms for manual charge and to register new users.
Systems staff will produce lists of all barred users who will be graduating before Workflows goes down, so that Access staff can deal with patrons who will be blocked from graduating. Once Workflows is available, the charging and discharging of items will be coordinated to ensure that item transactions are correctly captured.
Systems experienced a power failure on a Saturday before most of the libraries were open. The IRIS calling chain was implemented, but not all sites received a call to let them know about the power failure. This was due to the emergency nature of the downtime and the staggered opening times for RUL sites on Saturdays.
The group discussed the IRIS calling chain, especially in light of the fact that we really don't experience extended scheduled downtime any longer and emergency downtimes have been infrequent. It was recommended that we follow the calling chain on the weekends. Also, if you are calling a library as part of the chain and no one answers, please go ahead and call the next library so that the chain is not broken.
The Unicorn patron purge occurred without any reported problems. Systems had sent out the purge criteria before-hand for comments, which helped to tweak the process.
Several user records (approximately 14) have been flagged by the University Registrar with notes stating that the patron is deceased. The informal policy for the department for items charged out to a "deceased" user record will include printing out a list of the charges and then discharging the items and charging them out to the appropriate missing user. In most cases, departmental staff or family members do return the books after cleaning out an office or home. The Circulation Group will be responsible for coordinating this work.
Expiration dates for FAC/STAFF and GRAD students have been changed to 1/31/2009 to coordinate with the request for patrons to renew their items for the new term loan.
Bob Warwick has identified user records that have a mismatch between the profile and status. That list will be forwarded to the Circulation Group to deal with as a cleanup project.
Judy recently attended a University meeting where the Director for Undergraduate Admissions discussed student holds; especially the current number of student holds and the departments that currently place holds. The two departments that place the majority of student holds are the Libraries and Parking.
The idea behind the meeting is to identify how departments in the University can place fewer holds. Academic holds on a student's record will block that student from registering for classes, graduating from the University, or from getting their academic transcripts. While we want to block a student from graduating or receiving their transcripts if they owe the library, blocking a student from registering for classes was identified as something that might need to change. As an example of why this might need to change, blocking a student from registering for a class due to a $102 academic hold means that the University will not receive tuition from that student ($11,000+).
As a pilot program for the next semester, the Libraries will not be placing academic holds to block registration for classes. We will only place academic holds to block graduation from the University.
Judy distributed three flyers to the group describing opportunities for staff development. The first flyer described the SWAP program developed by INFOLINK. The program allows for library to "swap" staff for a day, allowing staff to visit and interact with staff from another INFOLINK member. Judy asked the group to forward comments and suggestions regarding this program to her.
The second flyer described the 22nd Annual Conference for NJALA (New Jersey Association of Library Assistants). The two day conference, held in Mt. Laurel, NJ, on June 9-10, offers morning and afternoon presentations on the conference theme, "Staying Motivated in the Midst of Change". Judy asked the group to forward the names of interested staff to her.
The third conference is the 5th Annual SirsiDynix Northeast Regional Group conference, to be held at Lehigh University, PA on June 15 - 18. The conference presenters are looking for individuals interested in presenting on a topic of interest to SirsiDynix staff (circulation, technical services, systems). Individuals picked to put on a presentation would receive a discounted cost to attend the presentation.