Merlin Meeting 2015.08.20

August 20, 2015 (NWLS)

Chair Courtney Dietsche called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

Quorum (of 15 members) was determined with the following attendees: Courtney Dietsche (Iron River); Linda Stobbe, Marsha Sorensen (NWLS); Teresa Schmidt (Mercer); Cari Hutton (Phelps); Jennie Thewis (Mellen); Kristine Lendved (Cable); Linda Olson (Superior); Patti Meyer (Webster); Blair Nelson (Bayfield); Shirley Miller (Ashland); Julie Zelten (Land O’ Lakes); Ida Nemec (Sayner); Darrell Pendergrass (Washburn); Jane Frankiewicz (Spooner); Amy Stormberg (Shell Lake); Molly Lank-Jones (Hayward).

Proxies: Ida Nemec was a proxy for Nan Andrews (Eagle River)

Schmidt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Seconded by Kristine Lendved. Passed unanimously.

Meyer moved to approve the financial statements as presented. Seconded by Shirley Miller. Passed unanimously.


Merlin By-Laws Revision
Dietsche presented the By-Laws revisions discussed at the May Consortium meeting. Meyer pointed out that the revisions leave out the issue discussed in May of preserving library records if Merlin dissolved. Dietsche responded that the information would need to be added at a later date.

Nemec moved to accept the By-Laws revisions as presented. Seconded by Schmidt.

2016 Budget
Stobbe presented the 2016 Merlin Costs spreadsheet. Frankiewicz suggested this be termed “costs” rather than “budget” since it is an invoice rather than a financial plan. Schmidt asked if the 4.081% increase was due to the $4,450 cost for Cloud Backup in 2016. Stobbe responded that 4.081% was a standard annual maintenance increase.

Long Range Planning Committee Update
Miller reported that the Long Range Planning Committee recently met in Mellen and will meet again following the meeting.

Inventory Options
The consortium discussed Sheehan’s handouts on options for replacing current inventory hardware. Consensus of the group was to consider Schmidt’s suggestion of using Sierra loaded on laptops and wireless attached scanners since they would be more user-friendly than PDAs and more economical than a Surface Pro 3, a Mobile Worklists subscription, or an Inventory product. Laptops are also already available at many libraries. Sorensen added that a test run by Sheehan wouldn’t require a large investment.

Miller made a motion to table the discussion and Stormberg seconded the motion.

Demonstration of Mobile Worklists app with IPad for inventory
Miller reported that a test of the free Mobile Worklists app failed because Innovative requires a subscription fee for the connection to Sierra. A quote and details were made available by Sheehan.

Sierra Reporting Documents
Dietsche began a discussion on Sheehan’s handouts for libraries who expressed an interest in May to run some of their own reports rather than consulting NWLS. She discussed her frustrations and challenges with attempts to run her own weeding reports. After following detailed instructions, her results displayed a record vs. a title view and she also struggled with the sorting function. Schmidt suggested using Excel to sort. Zelten added that working with Sheehan on the reports has worked really well for her. Frankiewicz remarked that she wasn’t aware of weeding reports. Shirley asked if a list of valuable reports could be made available. Suggestions included Items Lost and Missing, Items In Transit Over 2 Months, Weeding Reports, End of Year Reports. Sorensen asked libraries to let her know which reports they’d like included in the list so she can display it on the website with guides. Schmidt asked that the statistic codes be included and added as an aside that she’d appreciate dates be included on the footer of handouts.

Schmidt and Miller suggested a series of mini webinars on reports: accessing, running and downloading reports into Excel. Stormberg suggested that Merlin training be included in the orientation for all new directors. Others agreed. Miller requested a copy of Superior’s procedures for running reports. Sorensen mentioned she could tailor the instructions for other libraries, since Superior’s procedures involve the editing of existing spreadsheets. Miller prefers an unedited version.

Sorensen shared some concerns regarding the reports software. "Location" refers to item codes and "Stat Group" refers to where items are circulated. She also warned that the old web management reports use a plugin that is currently unsupported by browsers which deny access altogether or warn that access is a risk and every click triggers a pop-up warning to upgrade Java. The Crosstab reports module in the new web management reports is recommended for township statistics; the results display in alphabetical order making it easier to isolate local counties. Miller added that a list of available reports would be of interest to library boards.

Miller asked that codes delineating tribal affiliation be cleaned up. Sorensen replied that tribal townships had been removed and she’d look into the issue addressed at a past board meeting that she thought gave libraries the option to use a patron status tribal code.

Sierra Training
Dietsche asked if there were questions or comments regarding Sierra training handouts. Sorensen mentioned that there is now a “Merlin Training” link in the “For Library Staff” dropdown menu (above Notices) to a Merlin table of contents. She’ll also make it available from the Merlin Consortium “For Directors” section of the website.

Sorensen was asked to explain why libraries don’t have permission to delete or merge patron records. She explained that many records were being deleted and recreated rather than edited and she was finding notes in records explaining a merge was made in error.

Sorensen was also asked about the patron purge schedule. She explained that the state requires a three year purge for patron totals to be reported on the annual report. Some librarians were concerned about patron records disappearing. Schmidt added that a patron using their card too only access computers would need to get their account reinstated every three years. She also added that a number of patron records seemed to have been deleted prematurely.

Sorensen was asked that a list of patrons with multiple barcodes be provided that trigger a pop-up warning.

Marking Damaged Items
Sorensen referred to a handout describing a new function for marking items in a patron record “damaged” with the option to add a charge. Miller and Zelten would opt out of using this function but would support a majority vote for implementing it.

Some questions were raised about the function of this module:
• Would checking in the item automatically clear the status?
• Would an owning library be notified of the damaged status?
• Would library use the function on items they don’t own?
• Could a charge be added later by the owning library?
• Would a bill be automatically generated for a damaged charge?
Schmidt made a motion to implement the feature and test it to address the concerns of the consortium, seconded by Stormberg. It was passed by all but Miller who abstained due to testing needed.

TV Series Record Maintenance Update
Sorensen reported that she believes the TV Series Record project has been completed. Stormberg asked about duplicate records. Sorensen responded that duplicates are a cataloger error and difficult to isolate. Sheehan merges those he does find and appreciates being made aware of them.

Dietsche adjourned the meeting.

Next meeting date: November 12, 2015 (online)

Respectfully submitted,
Marsha Sorensen