The group discussed a new procedure introduced by Chris Sterback (Systems) that now automatically bars users who have material that is 40 days overdue. Previously, billing staff, upon receipt of the daily 40-day overdue report, would search the stacks for the overdue material, and when not found (nearly always the case), modify the user’s borrowing status to BARRED. Because these overdue items are so rarely found and also since users are notified in multiple ways—email, SELF SERVICES—concerning outstanding material, the group entertained the option, offered by Systems, of not continuing with the unit-specific 40-day overdue reports. Barry said that he had been back and forth in his thinking on the merits of discontinuing the reports and decided that he would like the reports, for now, to continue. The group agreed that the reports still served a purpose and there was no need to make a change now. Barry reminded the group that within 9 months a new billing module was expected to be released which would enable the automatic creating of bills for long overdue material. At that time, procedures would need to be reviewed again to see what works best.
All group members met their goal and placed their diploma holds on graduating students who were barred due to long overdue material. Given only one week to meet the deadline—an annual tight timeframe tied to the availability of lists of graduating students from the Diploma Office—the group compared the list of graduates to a list of students with long overdue material and then placed diploma holds as well as academic holds on registration and transcripts when necessary.
Sparked by observations made by Rose Barbalace of Alexander, the group discussed the possibility of expanding the option of credit card payment for bills and fines. Currently, students on academic hold for long overdue books, can pay by credit card at the University Cashier’s Office. The amount due, in these cases, matches the amount of the academic hold. If a user wishes to pay a recall fine by credit card, however, there is currently no such option available. Judy Gardner has followed up on the group’s interest in this area and has spoken with Cashier’s Office personnel. The Cashier’s Office says it would accept miscellaneous bills for users who are not yet on academic hold and would like to pay by credit card. The group brainstormed the issue, trying to find the best way to proceed with miscellaneous bills that would allow for credit card payment. Nita questioned if this would be an option available only to users appearing in person. Andy wondered if it would be a security risk for a user to see the account code for the libraries’ book fund on a miscellaneous bill. Andy questioned how would the libraries and Cashier’s Office handle any disputes users may have over a credit card charge.
The group arrived at the following recommendation: users who wish to pay bills or fines by credit card would be responsible for carrying the miscellaneous bill to the Cashier’s Office and, following payment, returning it stamped paid to a circulation desk so that the WorkFlows record can be updated.
Antoinette reported that the group’s goal of having a Knight Express payment option available in New Brunswick is close to being realized. Systems staff is trying to get a port at Alexander’s circulation desk for a Knight Express reader.
Barry distributed to the group the handout “Billing 101: A How-to-Guide for Access Services Staff” for review. Nita and Megan Doyle put this document together as part of their training session at Douglass last August. Barry asked that each member closely read its contents and email to the group any additions/corrections.
The group recapped its work of the past year. Goals met included delivering billing training to Access Services staff in August 2002, using a PowerPoint presentation, test WorkFlows and a “How-to- Guide” handout and reference tool. Also met was the goal to develop and implement, system wide, new procedures for placing academic holds. For the upcoming year, the group has chosen the following goals: 1) Cleanup all old academic holds from pre-GEAC period; 2) Make Knight Express option available at Alexander Library; 3) Allow credit card payment for any fines and bills by preparing miscellaneous bills for patrons to take to Cashier’s Office; 4) Examine, test, and make proposals for the new WorkFlows billing module scheduled to arrive within 9 months; and 5) Create a “helpful hints” document that would aid staff in their discussions with users about bills and fines (Thanks to Andy for this idea).
Ines described to the group how she uses Excel spreadsheets to record all her billing transactions. She offered to share her method with other members.
Ana and Nita brought the group up to date with the Douglass renovations. The lack of a PA system to make announcements remains a staff concern. Rose is trying to get some bullhorns.
Dave described to the group his work as a liaison with the Medical School. He has had approximately 12 users who needed to be researched to determine their eligibility for borrowing privileges.
Shirley emphasized that having Dave available to resolve some of the tricky affiliation issues was most appreciated by LSM staff.
The group congratulated Ana for earning her MLS degree from SCILS.
Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 at 2 p.m. at Kilmer.