Minutes of the Merlin Consortium
May 18, 2016 (In-person at NWLS)
1. Call to Order
Chair Courtney Dietsche called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
II. Quorum Determination/Recognition of Proxies
Quorum (of 19 members) was determined with the following attendees: Sherry Machones, Linda Stobbe, Mike Sauvola, Marsha Sorensen (NWLS); Shirley Miller (Ashland); Blair Nelson (Bayfield); Cherie Sanderson (Boulder Junction); Kristine Lendved (Cable); Nan Andrews (Eagle River); Kristina Kelley-Johnson (Grantsburg); Molly Lank-Jones (Hayward); Courtney Dietsche (Iron River); Julie Zelten (Land o’ Lakes); Jennie Thewis (Mellen); Teresa Schmidt (Mercer); Cari Hutton (Phelps); Ida Nemec (Sayner); Amy Stormberg (Shell Lake); Angela Bodzislaw (Spooner); Sue Heskin (Superior); Darrell Pendergrass (Washburn); Patti Meyer (Webster); Caryl Pfaff (LCO).
No proxies were mentioned.
III. Approval of the February 18, 2016 Consortium Meeting Minutes
Sue Heskin moved to approve the minutes. Seconded by Julie Zelten. There were no comments. Passed unanimously.
IV. Approval of Financial Reports
Linda Stobbe presented the Merlin financial statements. Teresa Schmidt moved to accept the financial statements as presented. Seconded by Shirley Miller. There were no comments. Passed unanimously.
V. Other Business
Collection Agency Interface
Sherry Machones led the discussion on possible purchase of the Collection Agency Module for Sierra. The initial cost for the entire system is $17,250. There was some question on what the yearly cost would be. Sherry Machones interpreted the quote as $2,070 would be the annual maintenance cost, but was unsure about the use of the word ‘subscription’ and how that applies to this module. Mike Sheehan will research this. Machones stated that this module could only be made available to all libraries, not just certain ones who wanted to use it. Machones also stated that not all libraries will have to use a collection agency if we chose to purchase the module. The module will just make reporting to a collection agency a seamless experience. There are ways that reporting to credit agencies can be done manually (without the module) but the staff time that is involved usually dissuades many from choosing that option. There was a request that libraries share on the listserv the wording of their final bills, since some have statute language about stolen materials and further consequences. Nan Andrews spoke about the possible negative PR that the library could receive if they decided to use the collection agency. Sue Heskin spoke about her past experience with Unique Management (the leading company for library collection) and the need for such a service in Superior. Superior limits the checkout amounts on the 1st day of new cards to cut down on the amount of unreturned materials. Molly Lank-Jones requested that Marsha Sorensen provide all the libraries with the past 4 years of data on unreturned materials. Kristina Kelley-Johnson spoke about the totals she has received from NWLS. Marsha Sorensen will also send out samples of what the collection agency sends to people. Sue Heskin spoke about the WAPL session she just attended that informed of the new change to the law where libraries cannot report to credit agencies. Sue Heskin will share on the listserv the information about how Unique Management is planning on handling this.
Consensus among members was to table this to the next meeting when more information was available.
Merlin Interlibrary Loan
Marsha Sorensen led the discussion about observed problems with holdshelf items. There are some libraries that are not clearing their holdshelves daily. This can lead to system crashes. There also have been some issues with items being placed ‘In Transit’ and staying there for a prolonged time. Sorensen reminded members that items ‘In Transit’ cannot be paged for holds. Sorensen then talked about potential problems with Book Club hold periods. Cherie Sanderson has patrons place holds on their own books, instead of having staff regulate this. Teresa Schmidt commented that Book Club procedures/rules won’t work for all of our libraries. Sherry Machones offered her past experience as a potential solution (of having Book Club cards/records that the library would request holds on; then when the item comes in, check out the book to the book club card; then when someone wants to check it out you can just check it out to them). Marsha Sorensen will look into patron card type hold length periods to see if we can alleviate the problems that way. Sorensen then briefly talked about problems with patrons cancelling holds themselves and then items not coming off the hold shelf and going missing.
Merlin Self Monitoring
Shirley Miller and Courtney Dietsche discussed a situation where there was some confusion about checking out to patrons if they have fines and/or a billed item. A search of the Consortium agreement states that libraries must block circulation to patrons when they owe $5 or more to any Merlin library for replacement costs, goods, or services. When a patron card is blocked due to non-returned or damaged items, do not allow them to check items out at your library. (This excludes overdue fines, since these may be negotiable with the fining library.) Do not waive fines and bills owed to other libraries. There was discussion about ILL requests on libraries that have fines/billed items. Linda Stobbe stated that we should all try to clean up those WISCAT accounts since they may not be accurate in both WISCAT and Sierra. Sherry Machones also spoke about considering your library philosophy of service because you could be punishing a whole city from borrowing privileges just because one person didn’t return an item. Discussion then went to the topic of self monitoring and when to involve NWLS. Many libraries involve NWLS at different times, based on how comfortable they are with the issue. Darrell Pendergrass reminded us that probably no one is 100% compliant and we all have different thresholds on when we report. Teresa Schmidt suggested that desk staff may not know about some of the issues we talk about at meetings and volunteered to so a short memo for all member library staff. Discussion then moved on to the compliance document on the website. Darrell Pendergrass suggested that we may want to revise it to reflect current practices. Nan Andrews stated that the previous NWLS Director did not include that document during her orientation. There was consensus to review the document at the next meeting. Teresa Schmidt stated that she would like a more streamlined website with dates on the materials.
Review of bill wording in light of the Return of Library Materials bill
This was somewhat discussed in the Collection Agency discussion. Darrell Pendergrass stated that he thought Molly Lank-Jones’s 3rd notice would be helpful for us to see since it includes the state statute.
Since Mike Sheehan was absent, the consensus was to table this item. Marsha Sorensen commented on the number of upgrades there are planned.
SkyRiver Survey Report
Since Mike Sheehan was absent, the consensus was to table this item. There was a question as to if the quote was still valid. Nan Andrews also questioned how Sierra cataloging upgrades might affect SkyRiver.
Next meeting date: After some discussion it was decided that the next meeting will take place July 21, 2016 at 10:00 am (in-person) at NWLS with a Overdrive Meeting to follow at 1 pm. Since that will be the last meeting that Linda will attend, we agreed that we would have a party for her during the lunch period.
Kristine Lendved moved for adjournment of the meeting at 11:57 a.m. and Cherie Sanderson seconded. Passed unanimously.