Minutes of July 28, 2004 meeting

Georgina Alonzo, Ines Gessner, Barry Lipinski(recorder), Nita Mukherjee, Antoinette Peteet, Penny Weniger, Don Wilson, and Chiaki Yamada.
Shirley Lewis


The group began the meeting welcoming Penny back to Rutgers and NBACS.

1. Lost Item Processing—Phase 1

The group discussed its experiences with handling “Assumed Lost” bills, a new billing enhancement that creates bills for users who have material 365 days overdue. Thus far, developments have been positive. Users have been contacting the libraries through email and phone calls acknowledging that, indeed, they do still have the long overdue material and will be returning it. Don reported how he has taken multiple books from the bookdrop that were ASSUM_LOST items returned by users who did not seek any assistance from staff. Barry spoke of handling Ask a Librarian responses from users promising to return the billed books. Antoinette, Ines, and Nita offered their observations on users they have worked with who contacted them regarding ASSUM_LOST items.

Barry emphasized that the upcoming year would demand from billing staff and supervisors their best skills in patiently listening and explaining library policy to users with billed material. Many claims returned and claims never borrowed encounters with users can be expected. Recall fines may be waived only by billing staff and supervisors and done only after a discussion with a user that has established that the user has an excuse for nonpayment that falls under RUL’s established guidelines.

Don asked if holds should be removed from these old recalls after the books have been returned. It is assumed that a requesting user will no longer want a book requested a year ago. Barry reported that Chris Sterback is currently working on a way to produce the ASSUM_LOST bill for recalled books that will automatically remove the old hold. Until Chris produces this capability, staff may go ahead and remove the holds.

2. WorkFlows 2003.1 and WorkFlows 2004 Beta Testing

Antoinette pointed out that the recent upgrade to WorkFlows (2003.1) no longer displays in the fined user’s record the date that the recall for which he/she is being fined was placed. To capture this information, staff need to click on the item display for the fined book. Barry said that the useful feature was also missing in the WorkFlows 2004 Beta Testing module. Chris Sterback is aware of the problem and has informed Sirsi.

The group’s major focus of discussion concerning the current WorkFlows 2003.1 software was the loss of browse searching for users, a disappointing development. Searching for a user with the last name “Joseph,” for example, necessitates scanning through a list of all users bearing “Joseph” as a first name. Now staff must either enter the name completely as it appears in the database to get a hit or enter the last name only and search through a list. Truncating a name—a real time saver—is no longer possible. Good news: in WorkFlows 2004, the browse capability will return.

Georgina pointed out that it would be helpful if Systems could remove the nonworking search options in the user pull-down menu, e.g., SSN.

3. Annual Report Review

As a group the staff examined its Annual Report—July 2004. Highlighted in the report, under “New Trends Developing” was an examination of the success of E-ZBorrow, the effects of email notification, and the drop in recall fines. In summary, an examination of statistics maintained by the group and retrieved from Unicorn reports reveals that during the past year, fewer items were recalled (notices dropped by 12 per cent), less users needed to pay fines, and staff needed to waive fines less frequently (7 per cent fewer waived fines). All of these are good service indicators.

4. Information Sharing

Ines reported on the ASSUM_LOST training she provided to staff at LSM.

Penny expressed her admiration of how well staff and services have developed since her prior stint in NBACS.

Next Meeting—Please note change in date: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 3 p.m. at Kilmer.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/billing_group/minutes/billing_group_min_04_07_28.shtml
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