Minutes of October 25, 1999 meeting

Bouriana Zaharieva, Zohreh Bonianian, Phyllis Palfy, Marc Forster, May Chin, Martin Katz, Lisa Lakhan, Joanna Karwowska, Georgina Alonzo, Ramon Negron, Myriam Alami, Roger Smith

Welcome Joanna and Zohreh to our group!

We opened the meeting with a discussion of student staffing at our reserve desks. It was agreed that we are relying more on Work Study students to provide assistance due to the reduction in voucher funds. Another reality that is a result of these decreased funds is the fact that we as staff are doing more work and providing more service with less help. The following is system’s website for instructions on preparing a new login for an employee that needs additional access to features that the standard logins do not provide:


I issued a survey request for each unit to let me know their current equipment needs. Please email that to me. I want to be able to formulate a picture of our needs should funding arise. Please keep in mind the increase demand on PC/Printers due to electronic reserve.

Marc Forster shared several signs he produced at LSM to promote/explain E-Reserve usage. I will look into the possibility of small bulletin boards being made available for such signs as we see fit for use as a teaching aid in helping students navigate the new service and other reserve issues.

I confirmed that if a unit is experiencing a default library other than their own in any reserve functions of Workflows, contact Kalaivani with a description of the problem and she will address it.

We reviewed the demo edition of the electronic request form being worked on by Sam McDonald, Judy Gardner and myself. Special thanks to Bouriana and the Alex staff for reviewing the form in detail and passing on suggestions. Please continue to look at the form and send me questions/problems. I will keep you posted on changes and availability.


We briefly touched base on the new release coming in January. Based on preliminary testing it has been basically decided that a short reserve wizards training program will be in order. Our group will coordinate this effort, more at the next meeting.

We touched upon E-Reserve procedures. I read a brief overview of the draft proposal for new procedures and it was met with universal approval. The process will be streamlined and made more efficient. We planned to come together as a group, or perhaps form a small sub group, to standardize E-Reserve Macros once the new procedures are in place and we are more familiar with the capabilities of the new release.

We discussed the reports that are run by systems each evening that impact on bibliographic records being available for reserve processing. It was decided (once the varying notions about the situation were cleared) that we could easily work around the 1 to 1 ½ hours needed for the ADUTEXT report to run. We discussed the possibility of asking systems to adjust the timing of this report during the first three weeks of each semester, when reserve processing is the most busy and work carries over the “dinner” hour.

We discussed “Rutgers” publications, yearly reports etc. on reserve. We re-affirmed the process of sending them to TSB for cataloging before being placed on reserve. As a group we felt that scanning some of these was, for now, not feasible due to memory limitations involved in saving these items to a server. More info to follow on weeding these items to a more appropriate level for storage, accessibility etc.

We questioned the reason why “renew reserve” does not work in workflows. I will try and find out if this is possible with the new release. It had been removed from webcat due to the fact that we did not want patrons renewing their own reserves with no accountability to the reserve desk, and because of the fact that it did not work correctly anyway. More to come…

We talked about developing a better way to display reserves in Webcat. I believe that as a group we would like to see a “cleaner” display in webcat of reserve items, and a more prominent display of the primary reserve icon on the RUL homepage. Having reserve offerings (course listings, policy statements, and online request form) separated from each other on the web page makes for difficult navigation. We will be looking into suggestions for remedying this fact. Please continue to look at the display and send me your suggestions.

Next meeting is Wednesday, November 17th from 2-4.

I am working on securing the Atrium Conference Room in the College Avenue Student Center, stay tuned. In addition, we will plan a “holiday” meeting before the winter break. Please bring suggestions for the December meeting to the November meeting.

Thank you all,

Notes from October Reserve Meeting:


We discussed equipment needs for reserve departments across New Brunswick. Several locations do not have computers dedicated for Reserve use, either on the staff side or the public side. Other equipment concerns centered on fax machines, photocopiers.

I proposed that I keep constantly updated equipment “wish list”. In my experience it has been beneficial to maintain a need list to have to present when it is called for, and that a need that has been noted over time often gets more attention that a “sudden” need. In other words, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Reserve Manual:

Two reserve group members were working on an outline for, and possibly a draft of a reserve functions manual for the training of student staff. We discussed the point that this manual would need to vary at least slightly from location to location in order to incorporate different procedures, policies, collections, and staff contacts. Considering this need to be flexible we considered developing a general staff manual and placing it on a T drive. The document could then be downloaded, edited, printed and bound by local reserve staff.

Sharing Staff: (swat team)

It has been proposed of late to organize staff structure to address the need that may arise when certain libraries become short staffed. Due to the cyclical nature of reserve work, with heavy periods of work at the beginnings and ends of semesters, we considered the possibility of having some staff (even student staff) assist reserve workers in those periods. It was pointed out that the staff need not be especially skilled in reserve work, but if they would be able to alleviate the reserve staff’s other duties, such as watching a desk, it would be a great help. Thus we discussed working with the other functional groups in these busy periods and “borrowing” student staff.

Sirsi Updates:

We discussed several issues relating to problems with Sirsi. First of all, it was voiced that the initial search screen in webcat should have a default setting for “instructor” when a searcher enters a term and hits return. The logic is that most students search by instructor’s name.

The second point was that when more than 20 items are on a reserve list, they only display 20, and it would be helpful if there was a way to indicate on the bottom of the screen to continue. The “forward” button on the top of the screen is often missed.

Would it be possible to run a report at closing time for items that are outstanding? This would have to exclude items charged overnight.


We discussed the fact that it is difficult for larger libraries to track their Reserve requests through the RRS self services file. Often, when an item is unavailable, the notice to that effect goes unread in the self services file. If a change could be made in procedure involving the RRS contacts, we suggest that when items are unavailable to reserve from any Rutgers library, a paper copy of the RRS request should be faxed with a note of unavailability to the Reserve staff at the requesting library. This would provide quicker notification and allow Reserve staff to pursue ILL/purchase to complete reserve list.


We discussed the responsibility of replacing theft/damaged photocopies. It was generally agreed that the libraries replace on our cost lost/stolen photocopies. We discussed the economic feasibility of tattle taping photocopies, and we questioned the cost of the tattle tape. It was concluded that tattle tape for all photocopies was not feasible.


We discussed the fact that when an item has to be removed from a reserve list, but still has a fine attached, the correct procedure is to remove the fine, remove the item, and place a note on the patron’s record. We questioned, should they be barred? The answer is not for small fines (under $5.00)

It was also suggested that billing staff keep a paper copy of the bill before the item record is removed from the system.


We discussed the creation of uniform signs across all reserve desks. Some people questioned the usefulness of signs, and the fact that they are generally ignored. However the point was raised that a sign gives the staff member something to point at and back up a stated policy. It also takes away ignorance of the law as an excuse. The reserve policy flier that we hand to faculty serves much in the same way. In the end we discussed signs that would include

2 hour limit
Reserve desk hours
Please fill out slips


We had a long discussion on standardization. Why standardize? How many of our users use multiple libraries. Some staff from smaller special libraries were of the opinion that users were accustomed to one library for their needs and that standardization was not a major issue. Others believed that users really should be able to go from unit to unit and expect the same policies and procedures to be in place.

A debate arouse around the need to label uniformly reserve photocopies and personal copies. This issue has been debated before and left open, as far as we can tell, to individual unit practices. Strong opinions arouse when breaking from procedure was mentioned

Mentioned for debate next time (in the works)
Electronic reserve
Circ online
Staff manual

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/reserves_group/minutes/reserves_99_10_25.shtml
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