Resource Sharing, Automation & ILL Advisory Committee Minutes

February 14, 2001

Present:           C. Briggs (Hillsdale), J. Cohen (MHLS), L. Crow (MHLS), S. DiLorenzo (MHLS), E. Farley (Haines Falls), D. Garofalo (MHLS), S. Long (East Fishkill), K. O’Brien (MHLS), D. Pulice (Pleasant Valley), L. Shedrick (Town of Ulster)

Absent:            W. Alexander (Rosendale), D. Boyer (Kent), F. Rees (Hudson), B. Spataro (Palenville)

Materials Distributed:  Agenda, Electronic Databases Update, VDX Status Report, 1999, 2000, 2001 RBDB Budgets, Statistics for System Maintenance and Technical Service.

Topics Discussed:


FASTCAT-related updates (L. Crow)

Automated Circulation Initiatives                       

            Coxsackie, New Lebanon are first two libraries to come online in 2001 Stone Ridge, Amenia, Hudson, North Chatham, Hurley are also scheduled for 2001.

Geoweb 4.0

            At present time, patrons cannot renew items they have checked out from libraries other than the home libraries.  The committee feels that there is no reason that this change cannot be implemented at the present time.

            Loan matrixes were distributed by delivery to all libraries to let everyone know what to expect when placing system holds.  The Committee also suggested that handouts of this nature be posted on the web.  

Authority Control          

Since vendors recommend this to occur at time of migration, the committee felt that we should not take further action on this at this time.


            RFIs were sent to 10 vendors on 1/23/01.  These vendors were: DRA, GEAC, CARL, epixtech, SIRSI, Endeavor Information Systems, Ex Libris, Innovative, Gaylord and VTLS.  Requests are due back March 1st.  The next step will be to grid features and then schedule three vendors to give demos, hopefully in late spring.  Migration will be scheduled for later in the year.  If new equipment is ordered, downtime will be minimal during this period. 

Other issues that need to be investigated are ongoing costs for maintenance by the system and participating libraries.

RDBD updates (D. Garofalo, J. Cohen)

            1999 and 2000 RDBD balances were discussed.  This money was set aside for authority control work that will be done later this year.  It can also be applied to the cost of migration.


2001 draft RDBD:

            Automated circulation initiative is included for the last year.

            As far as the electronic databases, committee members expressed concern over continuing with Gale as opposed to ProQuest.  When the contract was signed, Gale had a verbal agreement that we would renew with them for three years.  It was discussed exactly what this would mean, since personnel has changed since that verbal agreement was made.  The committee felt that it should be investigated whether ProQuest could be made more affordable if the Central Library helped subsidize the cost for all libraries.

            It was suggested that some money be set-aside in the 2001 RDBD budget for “telecom” subsidies for frame relay libraries.  This would help these libraries offset the cost of looking for alternatives to frame relay.  Ten libraries would be eligible for $750 for telecom migration during this year.


D. Garofalo and J. Cohen were attending a regional meeting on Feb. 16th to discuss inter-system issues, protocols and delivery.  At this point, VDX would best be used between MHLS and RCLS and academic institutions in our area.

Home access update

            D. Garofalo said Empire Link had been extended until March 31, 2002.

            Home access feedback from patrons seems to be positive.

Computer Operations update                 

            M. Toufali sent monthly report on statistics.

New Business


System wide & Patron place holds via GEAC (L. Crow)

            Issues to date:

1.       Compliance.

Concerns were raised as to whether all libraries are participating at the present time.    Committee members thought that this might be due to some staff members not having proper instructions, possibly because they had not received a policy from the director.      

2.       Procedure for offline libraries          

Library placed holds vs. patron holds will be different for these libraries.  These libraries have received procedures necessary to place these holds since they would not have the patron passwords necessary to place them on behalf of the patron.

3.  Order of holds

Although order of local holds may be changed, no one should change those for system holds.

3.       It was discussed who should pay for a book lost in transit.  Committee agreed to discuss this problem in the future if it becomes an issue.  It was decided it was too early to know if this might be a problem or not.

4.       Delivery slips

The committee discussed whether these were being used properly.  S. DiLorenzo said she had several books sitting on her desk that were delivered to MHLS because the form was not filled out properly and they could not be forwarded to the proper agency.  It was stressed that it is important to reeducate staff to these new procedures.  It was suggested that S. DiLorenzo bring a sample to the Director’s Association meeting.  It also was felt that these slips could be smaller and that they did not need to be blue.  Also,  it was suggested that when library photocopied them that they place the library’s name in the “From” box before they were photocopied.

5.       Other problems included messages not timing out (has been fixed), people not checking messages often enough and when hold is for a set of multiple items and only one barcode is checked out by the home library, the receiving library cannot check out the entire set of barcodes.  It was agreed that this needed more discussion, but the solution might be to only barcode one item of a multi-item set, e.g. audiobooks with multiple cassettes or CDs.

LSTA Grant Ideas 

            D. Garofalo reported that a grant for Electronic Window on Hudson Valley History is being rewritten and resubmitted.  This is a 3-year plan that will include digitizing of resources.  It was suggested that perhaps this could be done in partnership with an academic library, possibly Marist.

            Other grant ideas that were discussed were possibly making CD-Rom programs for technology training which could include Web Site design, a grant aimed at Special populations and family literacy and Basic job training opportunities that would enable library patrons to learn basic job skills like word processing.

MHLS Plan of Service (J. Cohen)


            New York State is requiring MHLS to file a five-year plan of service by June 30th. The committee discussed the Technology aspects of this plan.  It was agreed that it should include:  trend to patron home use, a plan to automate balance of libraries, ways to expand remote database access with shared licenses to keep cost down, and finding most efficient, cost-effective telecommunication alternatives for each community.  In the area of resource sharing, there should be some coordination of collection development done in coordination with the Central Library and the statistics of what we most often are borrowing out of the system.  It was stressed that every item in every library needs to be added to the database, including reference materials and local history and that some materials should be digitized and made available on the web so that they would become even more available.  It was felt that there should be more evaluation of statistics for usage of materials to help in planning where we are currently and where we want to go over the next five years.  It was also felt that it would be necessary to use web sites as an identity for each member library as a community tool.  In order to do this, the system needs to have some sort of coordination for member libraries on how to distribute technological information on what elements need to be included, how to launch the page and how to update this.


The Committee agreed to recommend that patrons should be allowed to renew items from other libraries on Geoweb.  This will not be allowed if the patron is delinquent, if there is a hold on the item already, or if the number of holds allowed by the owning library is exceeded.  L. Crow, however, said if this is implemented, there no longer will be a message alerting libraries that they are checking out a book from another library if someone tries to check out the book in a non-owning library after it is returned.

The Committee recommended that Authority Control work needed to be done to the database be postponed until the time of migration to a new vendor.

The Committee recommended that the Central Library Committee investigate a way to jointly subsidize ProQuest with the member libraries.

The Committee recommended that libraries who are looking for alternatives to frame relay receive support from the RDBD funds.  This “telecom” initiative in the amount of $750/library will be available for ten libraries during 2001 to help offset the cost of this migration.

The Committee recommended that every director should have meeting with staff to make sure that their staff receives all information from Director’s meetings about system policies for systems holds and similar matters that are carried out by staff members.

The Committee recommended that library staff pay more attention to correctly filling out delivery slips.  It was thought that slips could be smaller (copied three to a page), that they do not necessarily need to be blue and that the home library should fill in their name in the “from” box before they are photocopied.

The next committee meeting is scheduled on April 26 at 10AM at East Fishkill Library.

Meeting ended at 12:30.

Minutes recorded by Karen O’Brien                                                       February 14, 2001