The group welcomed guest Matthew Sheehy.
The group reviewed established procedures regarding how to work with users who are BARRED but not yet on academic hold and with users who are BARRED and currently on academic hold (hold indicated in PUB NOTE). The standard Ask a Librarian reply, created by the group in October 2002 and delivered system-wide by Judy Gardner in an email to the circ_sub listserve at that time, is also used as a guide for handling questions from BARRED users who appear at the desk or who phone the library. Copies of Barry’s email of June 27, 2003 “Review of BARRED user Guidelines” were distributed to the group and discussed. In short, our guidelines for working with any user who is BARRED but not yet on academic hold (i.e., there is no academic hold note appearing in their user record in WorkFlows), calls for a discussion with the user. This discussion should cover all the points regarding how to renew in SELF SERVICES, making sure the user knows his/her PIN, and the consequences of being placed on academic hold if the user remains BARRED for an extended period of time.
If the user verifies that they still have the outstanding items and wish to renew them, we then change the user’s status to OK so that they may renew their books.
Once users have been placed on academic hold, however, they must return all long overdue material to have their academic hold removed and borrowing privileges reinstated.
Barry spoke of describing to the facilitator Christina Bilinski, during the recent Professional Development Series, how Access Services uses PUB NOTES to share pertinent information among staff regarding users’ billing issues, e.g., discussions that have occurred between the user and a staff member concerning an overdue recall, a long overdue book, or an address problem. Sharing information in this way helps provide consistent, fair service to users. Christina said she would take this PUB NOTE method back to her Human Resources division and see if they could implement something similar. She felt that sharing information in this way among staff would improve the service HR gives to the University community.
Barry stressed that staff should regularly make use of the user note field to help solve problems. He observed that claims made regarding recall problems via AAL are often not noted in the PUB NOTES and should be, so that staff working at the public service desk, who later meet the user, may be better prepared to handle the problem.
Georgina pointed out that it was necessary for all staff to understand the importance of PUB NOTES, not just billing functional group participants. She emphasized that the awareness needed to get out to all staff so that they could know that they are encouraged to place these helpful notes. Matthew pointed out that the forum for sharing this information existed in the NB Access/Collection Services listserv, and asked Barry to send out a memo to NB Access/Collection Services staff describing the importance of PUB NOTES, which Barry did the following day.
The group followed up on discussion that had taken place in the Access Services Committee regarding the benefit of examining the last load date in the user’s summary in WorkFlows. If the user does not have a last load date that matches the current month and year, e.g., 312 (December 2003), we may go ahead and expire the user manually using the current day, month, and year as the expiration. We should also place a PUB NOTE with our initials, library, and date, indicating that the user’s privileges have been expired because the last load date is not current.
The group discussed the steps each group member who does cash transmittals performs. It was agreed that in addition to checking all money taken in against the receipt book, billing staff would also verify in WorkFlows that all information regarding the user, the bill, and the item record has been properly completed.
Antoinette reported that she had been receiving a high volume of phone calls recently from users who had been placed on academic hold by the libraries as a consequence of our academic hold placement schedule. She pointed out that the bill received by the student who is on hold shows only one contact point phone number, Alexander’s. Antoinette related that she had handled several calls from Newark and Camden Campus students. These calls are long distance for these students. Antoinette asked if we could see if other library phone numbers could be displayed on the bill, particularly one for Dana and Robeson that would better serve the immediate needs of students on those campuses. Barry and Matthew said they would investigate what could be done. Meanwhile, Antoinette will document the volume of calls she receives.
Nita described the work she is doing as the group representative to the NBL intranet. She has converted all 2003 minutes to HTML and has made them available at the website http://nbl.rutgers.edu
Ines offered to share with group members the spreadsheet she uses for cash transmittals.
Ray spoke of the assistance he provided in the recent hold placement project and the experience he has gained in billing.
Shirley asked if a separate brochure could be made for our users that would deal exclusively with billing, i.e., obligations regarding library property, fines, and academic holds. The group agreed to examine Shirley’s idea further.
Matthew reviewed for the group his recent memo regarding sensitivity to discussing social security numbers with users. He stressed that it is important that we give users the sense that there is privacy.
Next Meeting: Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 3:30 p.m. at Kilmer.