Merlin Updates


2018 Merlin Consortium 10:00 Meetings (with Directors meeting to follow at 1:00)
March 1 (online) • May 24 •  August 16 (NWLS) • November 15 (NWLS)

2017 Merlin Consortium Meetings
February 16 (online) • May 11 (NWLS with Directors meeting to follow) •  July 20 (NWLS) • November 11 (NWLS)


Call NWLS or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions, issues, and problems you are having with any Millennium clients.

Merlin Announcements

BadgerNet Upgrade
Sierra, Merlin, Internet, Wifi, and the NWLS phone system will be down at 1:00. The process is expected to take 2-4 hours.

Sierra Software Upgrade
Sierra and the Merlin catalog will be down in the evening during a software upgrade.

05.08.17 Collection Agency Module
Superior Public Library is now using the Collection Agency module to recover long overdue items. The collection agency is only used with accounts that have a Superior home library, but a new bill will generate for all patrons receiving Superior items: "Please respond to this notice or your account may be forwarded to Unique Management Services for collections and a $10 service fee will be added to your account." This $10 service fee collected by libraries is to be sent to Superior, as stated in the revised Circulation Standard: "Patrons may pay fines at any Merlin library. Replacement fees and manual charges described as COLLECTION AGENCY REPORT CHARGE will be sent to the owning billing library with a receipt. Libraries will not waive fines and bills owed to other libraries."

11.10.16 Book Club Best Practices
If your library chooses to manage book club requests with Sierra, new recommended procedures are now added to the Managing Holds section in Merlin Training.

01.06.15 Searching OverDrive Titles in Merlin
The OverDrive collection can now be viewed separately from your collections. They will now only appear when limiting search to NWLS or View All Merlin Items. 

01.01.15 NoveList Merlin Upgrade
The NoveList features have been added to Merlin. A search for a book title will now display lists of similar titles and authors, an ordered list of other titles in the series, reading levels, ratings and reviews, featured articles and award winners. The featured links will trigger a pop-up window with more information.

At the November meeting the consortium voted to reduce the number of days for unfilled requests to advance to another library.

The project to merge Merlin (Northern Waters) with V-Cat (Wisconsin Valley) was voted down by library directors of both consortia.

A committee will be taking nominations for Merlin officers (Kristine Lendved, Ida Nemec, Jennie Thewis)

07.07.14 - Final Report of the Merlin V-Cat Merger

The final report of the merger includes the following changes to the last draft:

  • Replace Encore subscription with BiblioCommons as a catalog Discovery Layer search interface.
  • Remove Library Elf subscription
  • Remove Novelist Select catalog display of recommendations and titles in the series (systems will cover 1st year cost, BiblioCommons may provide similar features)
  • Remove "high demand" purchasing program for popular items
  • Add NWLS portion of Content Cafe for the online catalog reviews, summaries, excerpts, images, etc.
  • Add (at no additional cost) text message notices and telephone renewals
  • Add (at no additional cost) Decision Center collection development reports
  • Add 2 at-large members elected by libraries to the Governance Board
  • Voting on budget and by-laws will change from 3/4 to a 2/3 majority vote

06.17.14 - Exploring a Merlin and V-Cat Merger

• Wisconsin Valley Library Service - V-Cat
• Northern Waters Library Service - Merlin

The possibility of improving service through collaboration and cooperation is currently being explored with the Wisconsin Valley Library Service. Committees involving library and system staff from both systems are studying how the WIN project results are impacted by the loss of the Indianhead Federated Library System as a participant. A report will be available early July and libraries will vote early August on whether they agree to merge Merlin and V-Cat.

10.26.13 - Merlin Catalog Upgrade
The Merlin catalog was upgraded with new features including:

  • Online library card registration - A temporary card allows two holds. To access full library services the temporary record will need to be updated at a library with a valid barcode, patron type, and codes for county and township. 
  • Online fine/fee payment - The online payment feature can be used to immediately clear blocks to library privileges.
  • Library Donations - A patron can now make online donations to their library.
  • Accessibility - The upgrade includes improved support for screen readers to better increase accessibility.

10.15.12 - Sierra Webinars
The following NWLS training materials demonstrate an overview of Sierra:

  • Cataloging (Cataloging video and General Navigation video)
  • Circulation (Circulation PDF document and General Navigation video)

10.03.12 - Sierra live date will be October 24 for all libraries.
NWLS will create training materials once we have access to the program. In the meantime, the following training materials from the vendor are available online (login: nwatl password: mike5):

08.30.12 - Tribal Library Resident Patron Codes: Beginning January 2012 all nonresident reimbursements will be determined by township for all patrons. The circulation statistics generated by NWLS will reflect this change for the 2012 annual reports. Patron records will no longer require the tribal designation code for reimbursement calculations. NWLS has updated patron patron records to reflect the following changes:

The Bad River Public Tribal Library is located in the community of Odanah and the town of Sanborn. Since Odanah is unincorporated, Sanborn Town will be considered a township with a library. 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College is located in the Bass Lake township which will now be considered a township with a library. 

08.08.12 - Sierra

Innovative Interfaces will be upgrading the Millennium platform to Sierra.

• New Features
Sierra is set up with the same functions as Millennium arranged in a new system of menus and navigation for easily accessing all of the circulation and cataloging functions from one login. To preview the browse feature in Sierra Cataloging visit (login: nwatl password: mike5)
An optional “dashboard” is available for those who would like a custom desktop display of icons (Sierra, Merlin, Databases, your library website, Reports, weather, etc.)  Sierra will eliminate the problems with broken holds, busy or locked records, and limited table structure for field codes. Create lists will include searches on holds and fines. The first Sierra update (Phase II) will roll out new capabilities.
• Servers
Sierra is built on two servers. The current Millennium server will be replaced by the Sierra application server. Sierra will also require a database server.

• Schedule
The final Sierra conversion is scheduled for Tuesday October 23. It will require a few hours of down time when  access to Circulation, Cataloging and the Merlin Catalog will be suspended for several hours. Please let Marsha know if you decide to be closed or if you will need to use Offline Circulation. If you use Offline Circulation, you must first check that it is set up with your terminal number.
• Funding Sierra
To fund the Sierra migration, $40,000 will be contributed by the Merlin Capital fund, $15,000 from NWLS, $10,000 from the Merlin General Fund and approximately $37,000 will be split equally among members (due early in 2013). By agreeing to migrate this year to Sierra we are eligible for free software for the Acquisitions module (used by Superior) and for Online Patron Self-Registration. Additional free software "reward choices" are available and need to be selected by the Merlin consortium by March 2013.

• Licenses
One license will access multiple functions for cataloging and circulation. The annual fee structure currently based on licenses may need to be revised.
Mobile Merlin - The Merlin catalog can now be accessed on mobile devices at
Bills - Libraries can manage bills by saving copies of the online pdf bill files to a folder on their PC. At this time the software generates only one bill.
05.25.11 - Courtesy Notices
Notices will be emailed to patrons as a courtesy reminder of checked out items due soon. Let Mike Sheehan know if you'd like this enabled for your patrons.
Managing Lost Items
Libraries are encouraged to follow recommended procedures for managing items that have been coded as missing or claimed returned.
02.23.11 - Membership Compliance
A revision of the Merlin Compliance includes new compliance controls adopted in an effort to ensure that library staff are aware of and take steps to follow through with high priority membership expectations.
• Membership Compliance Agreement
• Compliance Enforcement Procedures
• High priority requirements
• Complaint Form
05.25.10 - By-Law revision to Article III Section 2

Merlin membership is open to all non-public libraries within NWLS, subject to approval by the NWLS Board and the Merlin consortium.

Circulation Standards: Holds Limit
The holds limit system-wide for patrons is increased to 20 holds per card. 

10.15.09 - Merlin Compliance
Merlin members will now have a signed annual agreement that incorporates all policies defining Merlin cooperation, including the Merlin Agreement, Circulation and Cataloging Standards, and the Technology Support Policy.
08.20.08 - Cataloging Standards: On Order Records Standard
Pre-publication records can be added up to six months in advance of publication