As a Deweyless library we’ve been unable to make full use of collectionHQ so I’m hoping this will shed some insight on whether we can get more out of Polaris reporting.
Oh man… it looks like my updates weren’t going through due to a connection issue. 🙁
Collection Maintenance using Polaris:
Initial Steps –
Developed a maintenance calendar
Some centralized maintenance activity
We allowed community libraries to have the power to delete an item.
The deletion issues wasn’t approached lightly, because there’s no way you can limit what people can and cannot delete
Collection Maintenance Schedule:
Collection Consultants Introduced
The Collection Consultants will be the experts in the field. Helping to make decision how to move the collections around. Not only will they know the software, but also the collections in general
Collection Consultants are in training right now – things are underway so Jeanne can’t tell you how well it’s working right now because it’s so new.
For each site, people went out to physically inventory the shelving and how it was being used. Looking at who the shelves are deployed. Is the bottom shelf being used? What about the very top?
They also took a look at what would the capacity be, and what can you fit on a shelf. You can always fit more picture books in three feet than you can biographies.
In any given building, are the shelves being used the way that they ought to be used?
One of the challenges lies in the fact that this isn’t a perfect system at all. You can’t always redeploy shelving. You can’t take a range of biographies and move some more easy books over there.
Basically, try and give people the tools they need to make intelligent decisions.
Branch A will put things in a red box, put the name of the new library on it, and send it out. They don’t even put it in transit. Each library has a very speedy intake process. For only a short amount of time, the item might have a “wrong” status showing at Branch A rather than B.
Where are we today?
Decentralized item delition
Streamlined material disposal
Routine maintenance tasks
Information for staff provided through Intranet
There was no problem with “rogue” staff modifying records to their own ends. In other words, a staff member hasn’t decided that sci-fi book should be in fantasy and then “re-catalogues” the item record.
The dumpster diving question – not as worried with the disposal of books, but if needed, things can be disposed of in a locked dumpster.
If you’re operating on a “lean” principle where an item is touched as few times as possible to do a job, then that will also help. Make sure your libraries are properly staffed with the right people and the right amount.
Where are we today?
Lean library management
New book process improved
Repurposing a workroom that used to be a staging for the courier bins for shipping items to branches without good reason
With Polaris, they’ve found no “magic bullet” reports, yet.
I can offer the following advice, get your self a SQL hacker who can write reports and offer them on an Intranet.
How do you deal with “last copies” getting pulled?
We run reports on bibs with holds, but no items. Ordering happens based on that.
Not all branches are staffed by librarians. Some Branch Managers aren’t librarians.
The Collection Consultants are all librarians.
How do you get custom reports?
We have a SQL dev on staff – so working with him to build reports needed for collection maintenance. The custom dusty book report was built in Simply Reports and tweaking in Report Builder. Then published through the Custom reports in Utilities & Reports.
How do you get the data out of Polaris into the Excel spreadsheets?
As the data is exported, it’s put into the spreadsheet that, via formulae and linking, can generate more in-depth data.
Not only is it good to have a SQL dev, but let’s be honest, there is such an animal as a Excel dev.
What was your experience with collectionHQ as regards to floating? Went through a sales webinar and seemed to be kinda meh and then there were the issues of probable “people problems.”
Initially, people were excited because they were getting tools to show data things they wanted to say. However, the challenge lay in using it to get stuff in. It was good for getting stuff out. After a workload measuring of a group that was using collectionHQ exclusively, it showed that the workload wasn’t worth the time and money spent.
Sometimes, there will be email exchanges and announcements where one library will “advertise” a need for more of a collection or a desire to send out more of a collection.
They switched to email rather than calling someone because one person would call, ask for 50 board books, and then another person would do the same a couple of days later without knowing about the first person calling.
Some general discussion on how to tweak and “hack” some Polaris reports to get the data you want.
Check the forums for more info on many of these reports ideas and custom SQL to create your own.
Comment: One library looked at collectionHQ several years ago and their Collection Manager said there was nothing that collectionHQ could do that she couldn’t do with Simply Reports.
Is adding a table to the Polaris database all that involved?
Mike does it all the time, using SQL. It’s your own table if you give it a distinct name. If you give it a name like pcl_something then it’ll survive an upgrade.
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