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Notes from the 2/10/04 Telus Users Group

  1. We will stop using the “Holidays” settings. From now on, all days that libraries are closed will be in the “Booking Exceptions” area, nd not separated into holidays and booking exceptions. Stef will put in all of the holidays for this year. After this year, libraries will need to put in their own holidays.

  2. There has been some confusion about the 6 minute warning message. Right now, it says “Please start saving your work”. In some libraries, individuals are saving to the hard disks, but their work is wiped out when the session is over. The message will be changed to “Please start saving your work to your own disk where permitted” (pending group approval)

  3. Question: What are libraries doing with people who want more time for the day?
    1. McMillan is permitting it. In fact, they make people take 2 hour sessions for taxes (for the state free tax filing, it has to be completed in 1 session. It cannot be saved!). They almost always grant extra time if people have a good reason for needing it (homework, research papers, taxes, resumes, etc.) Sometimes, they give people a temporary user rather than extending their time for the day.
    2. Sun Prairie will give people a temporary user to allow them to have 2 more hours if they aren't busy.

  4. Question: How are libraries handling longer sessions for things like taxes or taking tests?
    1. McMillan is extending the individual’s time and then booking them 4 consecutive half hours. Time extension has to be done on the same day, so they put a note on a paper calendar to remind them to extend the patron’s time for that day. They then book the patron’s session for the time they requested. They haven't yet run into the problem where other people have booked the same time remotely.
    2. Madison is doing special workstation booking for extended sessions for taxes. They don't want to give people more time on their cards, partly because they don't want them asking for more time every day.
    3. Sun Prairie has designated one machine where patrons can have 2 hours per day. This machine is for exams, taxes, etc. They are just starting this, so they don't know yet how it will work out.

  5. Question: What are people doing with individuals who use up the time on their own card, and then use someone else's card to get more time?
    1. McMillan: If they see someone doing this, they disable the card the patron is currently using, and also the patron’s own card, if they know it. They would have to observe this on a chronic basis before they would enforce it.
    2. Sun Prairie doesn't monitor for this.
    3. Madison will change the phone number in the Dynix record for the card the patron is using so that they have to come to the desk in order to get in the next day. (They put a * in front of the phone number so that the patrons will get paper notices instead of being called by Harriet).

  6. Question: How are you handling temporary patrons and cards?
    1. Madison is not giving out temporary cards, except for 1 day for people who are getting real library cards. Instead, they have created “Internet Access Cards” which are in the Dynix system. Patrons only have to provide some sort of identification (Social Security Card, Government ID, Work ID, out-of-state driver’s license). The cards are in the database in advance, with a phone number of 9999. They work immediately. When a patron registers for an Internet Access Card, the staff changes the name and the phone number, and set it to expire in 3 months (but they can be renewed endlessly). They use this system for anyone who can’t get a regular library card.

      The cards are paper, and say “Internet” on them, so they can’t be mistaken for regular library cards. There is also a special note in the patron’s record that stops them from checking anything out. Even if they managed to get around this, they can only check out 3 items because their patron type is “limited use.” There haven't been any checkouts on these cards that they know of.
    2. Sun Prairie strongly encourages people to get a card if they can. For temporary patrons, they keep the patron’s ID while they are using the Internet. They then destroy the temporary patron slip. Kids have to leave their parent’s ID.
    3. At McMillan, if a person lives in the county, then they have to get a card. They require some sort of ID to verify that the person does not live in the county before they give the person a temporary card. They make a batch of 1 day cards and 10 day cards each day. They really don't have that many temporary cards each day, maybe 4-5.
    4. Almost everyone else is just giving temporary cards for people who can’t get a library card.
    5. FYI: Temporary card numbers are not case sensitive.

  7. Question: Are people using the suspension features?
    1. Madison has been using the Infraction notes features to record infractions. The 1st time, they put in a note saying that the patron was warned. The next time the patron is bad, they are suspended for a week. They are taking complaints from other patrons and putting them in the Infraction notes, but they also record a description of the person complaining. If multiple people are complaining about the same person, they will suspend them. After suspending them for a week, if the unacceptable behavior continues, they will jump to a month, and go up in month increments from there.
    2. McMillan has done 3 or 4 suspensions for bad behavior. They have also used it for a person who didn't pay for their photocopying.
    3. Sun Prairie has suspended a few patrons.
    4. Portage County has suspended people for up to a year for things like using another login or using someone else's session to do bad stuff.

  8. Question: Has anyone simplified their acceptable use policy or created a shorter version to use in Telus?
    1. Prairie du Sac has had some people ask about how frequently they change it. They are thinking about changing it and putting a date on it to show when it was last changed.
    2. Sun Prairie may change it to say something like “You must agree to the acceptable use policy” because their browsers are set to bring up the acceptable use policy as the home page. It is more readable in the web browser. They also put a print copy next to the computer. They like to make sure that people are seeing it.

  9. Question: For those of you with writable CD drives, are you allowing people to use them?
    1. Prairie du Sac does have a CD writable drive that they allow people to use. They have not noticed anyone using it to download music. They like to provide the service so that people who need patches and things for their home computers that they can’t download from home can come to the library and download them and write them to CD. But, the ½ hour sessions which they allow may not be enough time to do this, anyway.
    2. Portage County does not allow people to use the writable drives because they are afraid that it will slow down their other Internet usage.
    3. Marshfield does not allow it.
    4. Madison is thinking about opening up a couple of them, but the city is concerned that people will spend all day downloading stuff. They have students coming in with stuff on CD and are frustrated that they can’t use them and re-write to them.
    5. McMillan allows people to read from the CD drives, but they can’t write to them. The patrons have to save to floppy or print out a hard copy. Some people are bringing in photo CDs to email pictures, but they don't have many people reading CDs. If they did allow people to write to CD, they would put it on their 15 minutes stations because they wouldn't have a lot of time to do stuff.

  10. Question: What are people doing with headphones?
    1. Most places are allowing people to bring them in, but are not supplying them.
    2. Marshfield are going to have some from the dollar store in their vending machine, so people can buy their own right there at the library. They are pretty cheap, so they aren't sound-proof, but the 2 stations where people can use headphones are well separated from the rest of the stations, so it isn't a big concern.

  11. Question: How is it going for the people who are blocking for fines?
    1. Portage reports that income is up. They block for more than $3.00 in fines.
    2. McMillan hasn't had a lot of people blocked for fines, but they are getting lots of updated phone numbers! They do have 1 machine that isn't on Telus yet, so all the kids with fines go use that machine! They block for anything more than $5.00
    3. Marshfield is finding that more people are paying, and don't seem so mad about it because “the computer is doing it” to them. Patrons have to have a temporary slip the day that they pay because the fines are not updated until the next day. They are blocking for anything more than $5.00 in fines.

  12. Question: How are libraries using statistical reports?
    1. Marshfield is using them, particularly how many logins or booking per workstation for monthly report to their Board.
    2. Madison is using them mostly to see if they can allow more time and to see how heavily things are being used.
    3. Portage County is looking at patterns to see who uses half-hour sessions and who is using more than half-hour sessions by booking 2 sessions together or by doing 2 walk-up sessions. They are trying to decide if they should change to hour sessions.
    4. If the text size of the reports are too small, you can change the percentage size of the text up in the menu bar to a bigger size.

  13. General info about making reservations
    1. We talked about the branchpublic site (http://libonline.scls.lib.wius/branchpublic). The only advantage to this for staff booking for the patron is that they do not have to enter the PIN number or the last 4 digits of the phone number. Most places are not using this site. Portage County thought that doing the reservation the regular patron way was better because then you know immediately if the wrong phone number is in the record for the patron, rather than having the problem when the patron comes in to make a reservation.
    2. Marshfield is by-passing the initial reservation screen that says “Click here to make a reservation” and taking people directly to the screen where they enter their barcode information. The URL to do this is:

  14. Question: What could be better in the system?
    1. The temporary cards could have spaces or fewer zeros or less digits to make it easier for people to type. Stef will check to see what is possible.
    2. The ability to change the amount of time patron’s could have based on the time of day.
    3. Some way to get directly into making a reservation for a patron from within the administration area, or a shorter process for making reservations.
    4. Make it possible to choose multiple reservation slots at 1 time by some keyboard combination or something (instead of having to reserve one, click back to the results, and reserve the next one).

  15. Question: Are people making reservations? Are libraries taking these over the phone? How is Telus affecting the way people use time?
    1. Sun Prairie does not allow patrons to make their own reservations. The staff does them all, but they don't do that many. Usually, by the time a person has made a reservation, a station has opened up. Then the patrons don't know if they should wait until their reserved time or take the open station!

      People seem to appreciate knowing how long they've been on. They used to have people surprised at how long they had been sitting there! It’s nice for them to be reminded about how long they've been on.
    2. McMillan has a lot of reservations, especially for the time after school. 3:30 and 4:00 slots are usually booked ahead by kids that know they are going to come to the library after school. The staff will not make a reservation for anyone in the building (the patrons make their own). They take reservations over the phone, but only take 5-7 calls per week. Most of the reservations are for people needing longer time slots.

      People seem to be using less time with Telus. They used to use the whole hour they were allotted. Now people get a half-hour unless they book ahead. They use that, and then seem to leave.
    3. Portage County patrons are making their own reservations, and mostly doing fine at it. There have been some instances where the patron has made the reservation for Portage Public instead! They do take phone reservations, but they don't get a lot.

      Before Telus, they used to let people stay on until another person reserved that workstation, so there were a lot of reservations. Now, since people get kicked off based on a time limit, there isn't the need for as many reservations.
    4. Prairie du Sac does not have public reservations. Staff does make reservations for individuals that want to have 2 ½ hour sessions combined into 1 hour session.
    5. Madison Public Library takes a lot of phone reservations, as they always have. It’s easier now with Telus.
    6. Marshfield takes phone reservations, but they aren't getting a lot.

  16. Question: How long are sessions at your library?
    1. Marshfield has 10 ½ hour machines and 2 90-minute word processing machines.
    2. Portage County has 9 ½ hour machines and 1 15-minute machine that cannot be reserved.
    3. Sun Prairie has all ½ hour machines. The ½ hour sessions cannot be combined into an hour. They are going to have 1 machine with 2-hour sessions for longer things like taxes and tests.
    4. Madison has mostly ½ hour sessions, but does have some 1 hour sessions. The nice thing about the 1-hour session machines is that people can start at any time and get an hour and do not have to wait to make a reservation for the next 2 consecutive half-hours.
    5. McMillan has some 15 minutes machines that people can’t book in advance. They like these machines because people can get on right away if they have something that will only take them 15 minutes. The 4 15 minutes machines were used 1,500 times last month.

  17. Question: Have patrons had issues with giving personal information to use the Internet?
    1. Madison is having some issues.
    2. Sun Prairie expected more than they are having.
    3. Portage County has had some questions about how long the information is kept.
    4. McMillan is reassuring people that the information gets wiped out after 10 days.

  18. Question: Are libraries having problems with people getting multiple temporary cards (as in they get one today and then tomorrow and then next week)?
    1. McMillan isn't having this problem. Most of the temporary cards go to out-of-towners.

  19. Question: Does 5 seem to be working as the amount of no-shows a person can have?

    1. Madison thinks this was a good change. They haven't had any complaints since then.
    2. McMillan is also reporting no complaints.

  20. Question: Is any library thinking of making their session times longer? What about daily limits?
    1. Madison has found that the average session time on the 1 hour computers is 36 minutes.
    2. Portage County has a daily limit of 75 minutes. 2 30-minute sessions and 1 15-minute session.
    3. McMillan has a 75 minute daily limit for the same reason.

  21. When trying to book 2 half-hour sessions to consolidate to 1 hour session, McMillan reports that sometimes it books the 2nd half-hour on a different machine. Stef didn't think that this should happen unless the 2nd half-hour is booked on the 1st machine. Portage County suggested that people sort by PC (which is an available option) in order to make sure they get the same machine for both half-hours.

  22. Question: Are you suspending people for running away without paying for printing/copying?
    1. McMillan has done this when they knew that the person was running away without paying. They knew because the person had half of the papers sticking out of their backpack and half were still on the printer. They force the computer ID as part of the footer, so they know what time and what computer the print job came from. (This is done through Explorer, and works on the Internet, but not on resumes or other word processing documents). On non-LINK machines, they use Public Web Browser. This allows them to force the footer and lock it on non-LINK machines.
    2. Sun Prairie forces the same information into the footers of print jobs from Internet Explorer. They do this so that all of the computers won’t have to be seized if they have another child porn incident.

  23. Question: How many people do libraries allow on a computer at once? At what point do you have “a crowd”?
    1. Prairie du Sac allows 1-2 people. If there are more than 2 people, it often becomes a noise issue, and they disperse them based on patron behavior rules. If they are quiet and behaving themselves, they don't worry about how many there are.
    2. McMillan handles it pretty much the same way.
    3. Madison has an additional concern: If the machines are too close together, how much is the group encroaching on other people’s space? They evaluate this on a case-by-case basis.
    4. McMillan has 4 foot cubicle panels so they can see the people’s heads as they work on the computer, but it takes care of some of the encroachment issues.

      They filter any machines that are not in the cubicles so a person walking by cannot be exposed to anything they don't want to see. If a patron wants an unfiltered machine, they can use one of the ones in the cubicles...and they stay out of the children's room!
    5. Sun Prairie also has dividers between computers.

  24. Question: For those of you who have scanners available for the public, how self-sufficient are people at using them?
    1. McMillan drafted a 2-page sheet that is taped by the scanner. They haven't had too many people who couldn't work through those instructions and get what they wanted. There isn't a color printer available, so people scan photos and email them or put them on floppies.
    2. Prairie do Sac had a situation where someone came in with a bunch of different items of different sizes and wanted to scan them so that she could email them to a friend. It was a fiasco, and the person didn't understand anything that the staff was trying to explain to her, so it took hours of staff time to explain and fix it. They tried to push her to go to Walgreens or someplace else where they could help her email them more easily. They do have a color printer available.

      For more information about Library Online, contact Brian Hahn.