Symposium on the Future of Libraries
Processing and shelving requested materials as well as removing expired holds is a time-consuming process for library circulation staff and processing those materials in a way that maintains patron privacy is always a challenge. The Holds Management System saves hours of staff time through less processing and shelving time. Self-service for library patrons is improved by faster notification of holds available, simplified methods for locating materials on the holds shelves, and complete privacy of requested materials.
The Holds Management System (HMS) provides a tool to manage work flow and utilize existing technology. Without HMS libraries typically use a printed request list, spend hours individually scanning requested materials for sending and receiving, and printing hold slips or wrapping materials to preserve patron privacy. Materials are then interfiled on the hold shelves utilizing alphabetical or numerical systems. If items are not picked up staff also spend hours searching through all materials to pull the items off of the hold shelves.
With HMS software, requested materials are assigned a location for pick up, and notification is sent to the patron alerting them to the shelf location and last day to pick the item up, as soon as it is available. Printed hold slips and wrapping of items are no longer necessary; requested materials are assigned a specific location. Library patrons would be notified of a shelf location and would be able to locate their materials by title. When materials need to be removed, staff go to the identified shelves and pull all items to process them for shipment, return to the stacks, or process as another request.
The HMS communicates with the library’s ILS. Item status is updated in the ILS at the point of processing from the staff side and again when the patron checks the materials out. Items are assigned a shelf assignment through an internal algorithm. Staff scan the item, or use a printout, to determine placement on the shelves.
Library patrons immediately receive notification via text or email that their request is ready for them. The notice provides the shelving location as well as the title. Phone calls, for those that do not use email or text are also available. A message can be returned to the library by the patron to advise that they no longer want the item or the need to change the pick-up date. A station (tablet or kiosk) would be available near the Holds Shelving for patrons to check their library record for Holds and location.
The HMS utilizes tote manifest to further ease the processing of requests received at a location. The Tote Manifest integrates with an existing or new Automated Materials Handling system. When a tote with holds is received in the destination branch, the contents a of the entire tote can be checked in and can be placed on the Holds Shelves that have been defined by the HMS. The HMS also keeps track of totes containing Holds at the branch level. A mobile app, designed for the HMS, can be used for accepting tote content as received, validate manifest, and forward tote to next location.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA, Center for the Future of Libraries
Meeting Type: Symposium on the Future of Libraries
Cost: Included with full conference registration.