Inside Access: Turnaround time for patron holds

by Peg Tromm, Robert E. Eiche Library, Penn State Altoona

An Access Services Council subgroup charged under the Libraries Strategic Action Material Delivery Program Expansion Team investigated ways to reduce the turnaround time for delivery of holds to PSUL locations.

After tracking several hundred holds, the team found that most patrons were notified their holds were ready for pickup within a one- to two-day window. This included items that went in transit and items that were still being processed (in-marking, in-process). The turnaround time was consistent across the campuses. As a result, the group felt that the current procedures were producing satisfactory results and were impressed by the quick turnaround.

Team members, Peg Tromm (Chair), Barb Kopshina, Margie Kruppenbach, Amy Miller, Mary Murray, and Bernie Whitehill approached their charge by discovering a method to actually calculate the length of time patrons waited to receive their requested holds.

Using the “On Shelf Hold” wizard and following the daily procedures, items with holds were pulled Monday, February 13, at the Altoona, Berks, Brandywine, Harrisburg and University Park locations. The data was entered into a spreadsheet tracking items’ current location, pickup library, the date the hold was placed, the date of any in-transit items, on-hold date and checkout date. Of the 366 items tracked:

  • 55% items stayed in their shelving library, meaning that the requesting patron selected the home location as their desired pickup.
  • 45% of the remaining items went in-transit. These were items requested by campus or branch libraries’ patrons.
  • 91% of all items were placed on-hold within two days.
  • 48% of all items were placed on-hold the same day they were pulled.
  • 54% of items were checked out within two days.

To assist staff in the processing of holds, the subgroup is creating a “Best Practices” document outlining the most efficient methods to process these materials. Stay tuned for further updates.

Stay tuned for further updates.