Category Archives: Inside Access

Access Services Training Bulletin update

By: Lisa Moyer

Access Service Training Bulletin #10, Accepting Replacement Copies, has been updated to reflect that patrons will not be charged a rebind fee when providing a replacement book. The
binding fee will remain on the fee schedule and may be applied if necessary and at the discretion of the owning library. If the replacement copy needs to be bound, the patron is responsible for the cost of binding.

The complete training bulletin can be found on the Access Services training bulletin web page at

Joint borrowing partnership: University Libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library

By: Ann Snowman

University Libraries recently took the next step in our collaboration with Schlow Centre Region Library when we instituted joint borrowing. Schlow patrons can borrow from University Libraries by registering their public library card at the circulation desk, and Penn State patrons can register their University ID at Schlow to borrow there. Borrowers at either institution can return their books at either library.



Taking steps to share more Special Collections materials through Interlibrary Loan

By: Meg Massey, Interlibrary Loan  

As part of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Penn State has been engaging in conversations with the consortium about how we are (or are not) sharing our special collections materials.  According to the presentation, A Tale of Three Projects: Sharing Special Collections Materials Via Resource Sharing, a survey was released in April 2017 to gauge the level of sharing between BTAA ILL departments and their Special Collections departments.  While the survey found that 12 out of 15 institutions shared articles from Special Collections, only 8 out of 15 shared loans from Special Collections.

After conducting this survey, the BTAA formed the Interlibrary Loan-Special Collections Task Force, which included representation from four BTAA Interlibrary Loan departments, and three Special Collections departments, including Penn State’s Matt Francis, Associate Head of Special Collections.  This task force worked together to create the Big Ten Academic Alliance: Principles and Protocols for Interlibrary Loan of Special Collections Materials.

Locally at Penn State, we’re already working to implement the recommended practices in this document by looking for ways to say yes to requests for items in Special Collections.  Before this document was created, our Interlibrary Loan department already had established protocols for requesting materials from Special Collections, both for our own PSU patrons and for borrowing libraries.  Working with Special Collections, we recently were able to revise our procedures to remove “automatic no” collections (such as the Blockson and Gaines Collections) so that we can really evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis to see if it’s possible to share that item in some way.  We appreciate this opportunity to collaborate with the Special Collections department to make these rare items more accessible to our Big Ten partners and beyond.

To learn more about sharing Special Collections materials through Interlibrary Loan, listen to the audio recording of A Tale of Three Projects: Sharing Special Collections Materials Via Resource Sharing, which was presented at this year’s OCLC Resource Sharing Conference.  Brian Miller, a member of the BTAA ILL-Special Collections Task Force, shares about the Task Force and their work to create this important document during his portion of the presentation.

Access Services recognizes employees at annual luncheon

Access Services staff photo 2018

Access Services (pictured in the Franklin Atrium) held its annual award luncheon on May 22, 2018

Submitted by: Meg Massey

Access Services held its 14th Annual Service Awards and Luncheon on May 22, 2018.  Staff  enjoyed lunch together and had the opportunity to welcome new colleagues and celebrate those that reached library service milestones.

New staff members: Matthew Cinquino, Jamilyn Houser, Matthew Mangarella, Meg Massey, Michael Petrisko , Carrie Vance, Gabriel Uriarte and Jean Voigt

Staff member library service milestones:
15 Years: Ann Snowman
10 Years: Nichole Corrigan, Melody Gehlbach and Erica Noel
5 Years: Benjamin Blakeslee-Drain and Yelena Likhonina

Barbara Dewey, Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, was a special guest at the luncheon.

Annex request fulfillment rate hits an all-time high!

BY: Ann  Snowman

Last month the successful fill rate for 626 items searched reached a 100% fill rate averaged across three facilities.

One metric among many the Annex tracks is the rate of success in finding an item requested via the Onshelf Hold Items Report (I Want It). For a collection of its size and age a fill rate topping 85% is extraordinary. Furthermore, parts of the collection have moved multiple times compounding the opportunity for errors. In recent years, Annex staff have undertaken several
projects to steward the collection in a way that would increase the fulfillment rate. Barcoding projects, some reorganization of materials, and new standards set for reshelving and intake of
collections had an impact. As a result, the fill rate for the month of February reached 100%.

Success rates have been inching higher for some time. By way of comparison, for the period January-December 2017, the fill rate for 8,073 items searched was 99.576%, averaged across the three facilities. In January 2018, the fill rate for 645 items searched was 99.48% averaged across the three facilities.

As we phase into a new inventory system we anticipate our ability to locate requested items to improve even more so that those high success rates become standard.

Changes coming to periodicals circulation Aug. 14

The Access Services Council Requesting Periodicals Subgroup is pleased to announce that on Monday, Aug. 14, the item type PERIODICAL will change from a 24-hour loan period with no renewals to a 7-day loan period with one renewal.

In addition, patrons will also be able to place holds on University Park items with the PERIODICAL item type. (Penn State Law periodicals will continue to be able to have holds placed on them only by law faculty.)

These changes are possible due to the large percentage of titles we have electronically and to the ease and speed of receiving articles through Interlibrary Loan. Periodicals at the campuses also will circulate for a week with one renewal but will not be holdable at this time. The expectation is that, as individual campuses become ready, they will request to have their periodicals holdable as well.

If there are periodical titles that units feel should retain the current 24-hour loan period with no renewals and no holds, they can utilize the new PERIODSPEC item type. PERIODSPEC is now available in the drop-down list of item types in WorkFlows. Unit heads can have their staff change the item type of periodical titles they want to keep closer tabs on from PERIODICAL to PERIODSPEC at this time.

Selectors: If you choose to designate a title and all of its volumes as PERIODSPEC please alert Serials Cataloging (UL-SERIALSCAT@LISTS.PSU.EDU) and Serials Ordering (UL-SERIALSORDERING@LISTS.PSU.EDU). The aforementioned groups will work along with the Bindery to ensure newly acquired materials are given the appropriate item type.

Training Bulletin 49, Requesting and Circulating PERIODSPEC Items, provides information on this new item type for Libraries staff who work on a service desk.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Requesting Periodicals Subgroup: Shane Burris, Chris Holobar, Eric Novotny, and Linda Struble. We would like to acknowledge the leadership and contributions of James Keyzer-Andre (Chair) on this project.

–  submitted by Linda Struble, information resources and services supervisor-manager

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.

Inside Access: Looking for answers? Ask the experts

by Ann Snowman, Access Services

Looking for answers? Ask the experts:
Contact UL-SIRSI-CIRC-RESERVE@LISTS.PSU.EDU with questions about Circulation and Course Reserves functions in WorkFlows.

Contact UL-BCATEAM@LISTS.PSU.EDU for information about running circulation or collection management reports.

Contact Greg Berky, Billing Specialist at with questions about bills, invoices, collection agency, and payroll deduction.

For questions of policy, standard practices, and management of circulation and course reserves, contact Chris Holobar, Manager Lending & Reserve Services, or Ann Snowman, Head, Access Services,

Inside Access: Revised Access Services Training Bulletin #22

by Fay Youngmark, Penn State Harrisburg Library

Access Services Training Bulletin #22 Processing the daily Clean Hold Shelf List Reports has been revised. It is now recommended that staff use the Discharging wizard to process materials that appear on these reports. In addition to the new procedure, this training bulletin also includes guidelines on what to do if users ask us to hold their items longer; what to do if you cannot find items on the reports; and best practice ideas for managing materials on your location’s hold shelves.

The Clean Holds Shelf List reports are used to manage materials on holds shelves at all library locations. They run Monday-Friday and are emailed to library staff. The Clean Holds Shelf List reports are not comprehensive. Items only appear once so it important to process materials promptly.

Important: Materials listed on the Clean Hold Shelf List reports have available holds automatically removed and current locations changed to match the materials’ home locations. To prevent staff from searching for and marking as ‘missing,’ materials that may be on holds shelves at other locations, it is important to process materials listed on the Clean Holds Shelf List reports daily.

Access Services Training Bulletins are located on the Intranet at

If you have any other ideas for training documentation, please contact the Circ-Reserves Expert Team at

Inside Access: Revised Access Services Training Bulletin #11 Notes Field

by Fay Youngmark, Penn State Harrisburg Library

Access Services Training Bulletin #11, “Notes Field” has been revised to include updated guidelines for when for when to use the notes field and how to enter and view the information in WorkFlows. The notes field allows circulation staff to document patron interactions and decisions about circulation transactions. The information recorded in this field is useful to staff throughout University Libraries. When patrons visit different library locations, or they change their campus affiliation, information about unique circulation transactions, such as fee waivers or claims return issues, is readily available at each circulation desk.

Access Services Training Bulletins are located on the Intranet at

If you have any other ideas for training documentation, please contact the Circ-Reserves Expert Team at:

Inside Access: Interlibrary Loan Shipping Task Force: A cost savings initiative

by Carolyn Muse, Interlibrary Loan

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Shipping Task Force Committee was charged in August 2016 to reduce duplicate packages being shipped to the same institution on the same day. The members of this committee are: Bernie Whitehill (Chair), Tracy Deitrich, Carolyn Muse, Alissa Mann, Tracie Wickersham, and Jennifer Funk. This was a good time to examine ILL’s shipping practices since ILL recently moved shipping of all packages under the IDS (Interlibrary Delivery Service of Pennsylvania) Nationwide Shipping Initiative. The Initiative allows us, as an IDS member, to mail materials via IDS to libraries regardless if the library is an IDS member. The yearly IDS member fee is based on the number of packages sent the previous year. Reducing the number of packages shipped per day should result in overall IDS shipping cost savings.

The task force evaluated methods to improve distribution of out-going mail loads, reduce the number of duplicate packages, and to help ensure that packages adhere to a 30 lb. weight limit, an IDS restriction. The committee collaborated with Receiving Room staff to assign out-going ILL mail on separate carts, e.g. Big Ten, IDS and Commonwealth Campus Libraries (CCL), and designated specific pick-up times to suit the Receiving Room’s schedule.

side of interlibrary loan cart for mail going to the Big Ten libraries

The Interlibrary Loan Department and Receiving Room finalized the current out-going mail pick-up times in October:

  • Morning (~ 9:00 a.m.) —
    First Class/International/UPS and materials with letter codes (e.g. CLU, TXA).
  • Afternoon (~1:00 p.m.) —
    First Class, DSL-Carlisle and IDS materials with number codes (e.g. IDS 189 corresponds with University of Pennsylvania).
  • Afternoon (~2:00 p.m.) — Big Ten materials (formerly CIC).

IDS daily shipping reports were analyzed for one week in March and July, and then for each week in October and November. The data from March and July were pilot studies to compare a heavy work day for spring semester versus a slow work day during summer session II. The data from October and November were analyzed more in depth to determine any differences in package weights and duplicate packages. After implementing the current shipping methods in October:

  • Total duplicate instances decreased by 44 percent / CCL duplicate instances decreased
    by 49 percent.
  • The occurrence of combined packages totaling over 30 lbs. decreased by 31percent. CCL packages totaling over 30 lbs. decreased by 40 percent.

Duplicate packages will not be completely eliminated due to other departments contributing to the daily out-going mail loads; however, Interlibrary Loan will continue the current shipping protocols in place and evaluate if any changes are needed.

Inside Access: ILLiad email enhancements

by Shane Burris, Interlibrary Loan

Changes have been made to two ILLiad email notices to enhance user access to ILLiad.

One change is to the ILLiad courtesy notice (due date reminder). The email now contains a link which can be used to request a renewal directly from the email rather than link to the ILLiad main menu, which then requires the patron to navigate to checked out items and then to the item record to renew. We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in patron questions regarding renewals since implementation. Below is an example of the email:

sample text from an ILLiad email regarding due date and renewal

The other change is to the email notification patrons receive when an article is delivered electronically to their ILLiad account. There is now a link in the email which goes directly to the .pdf of the article, once again bypassing the need to navigate through multiple screens to access the article. A second link will still take them into ILLiad to view the listing of all their available articles. Below is an example of the email:

sample text from an ILLiad email about article receipt with link to portable document format

Please contact Interlibrary Loan at with any questions or comments.

Inside Access: New training bulletin for circulating BOOKSPEC items from the Annex

by Sarah Billman, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library

1,917 holdable BOOKSPEC! One could end up at a circulation desk near you!

Access Services Training Bulletin #43: BOOKSPEC Items from the Annex describes methods for circulating BOOKSPEC items housed in the Annex. BOOKSPEC items from the Annex are normally to be used in the library, due to high replacement costs. However, it also allows circulation points to use judgement to make exceptions to the default circulation period in response to patron need. Exceptions may be made locally.

The training bulletin encourages library staff to alert patrons at time of checkout about the material’s replacement value.

Training Bulletin #43 can be found on the Access Services Training Bulletins staff page at

Inside Access: New training bulletin for retiree library privileges

by Ann Snowman, Access Services, User Services

Access Services Training Bulletin #25 Retiree Library Privileges provides clarification on this topic. Because we anticipate the question will arise often over the next few months, we took some time to compile OHR policy and Libraries policy in a single document.
Training Bulletin #25 can be found on the Access Services Training Bulletins
intranet page at

Inside Access: ILL Purchase Express

by Carolyn Muse, Interlibrary Loan

A service offered by Interlibrary Loan for 14 years that few are aware is our ILL Purchase Express. Following established criteria based on the Libraries’ collection development policies, Interlibrary Loan may purchase a book instead of requesting it through ILL.

ILL Purchase Express is used in the instance when a current book title is not found to be available from another library. Through a cooperative arrangement with the Libraries’ Firm Orders staff, Interlibrary Loan staff will place an order for a book to fulfill an interlibrary loan request. Once the book arrives, it is added to the Libraries’ collection and the book is placed on hold for the patron.

In 2015 and 2016, 299 books were ordered and sent to patrons via this service. Forty-four percent of those were for Commonwealth Campus patrons and 40% percent of those were for University Park patrons (including 8% for the Branch Libraries and 7% for Faculty/Staff Office Delivery patrons). Of those 299 books, Interlibrary Loan placed orders for 221 patrons. Forty-eight percent were for faculty, 23% were for graduate students and 17% were for staff.

The criteria for ILL Purchase Express is located on the Interlibrary Loan Staff site under Borrowing Links: ILL Purchase Express.

You can also find ILL Purchase Express on the Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Privileges site.

Inside Access: World Campus delivery facts

by Carolyn Muse, Interlibrary Loan

World Campus Delivery is brought to you by Interlibrary Loan—the same department that provides patrons’ materials via Faculty/Staff Office Delivery! All graduate and undergraduate students who meet registration criteria are eligible for this service. Patrons can request for materials by these methods:

  • The CAT—patrons can select Penn State-owned, circulating materials via “I Want It” and choose “World” as their pick-up location.
  • ILLiad—if any desired materials are either not available on any of our
    campuses’ shelves or not owned by Penn State, patrons can access Interlibrary Loan’s database search system.  All patrons must be registered with the Libraries as well as in ILLiad to able to order materials.

The items ordered through both methods are checked out in Interlibrary Loan and mailed via UPS to each patron’s home address. As of last year’s fiscal year (2015-2016), a total of 1,029 items were mailed (an average of 19 items/week, 66% “I Want Its”, 7% EZ-Borrow and 27% Borrowing).

Interlibrary Loan has been mailing materials to patrons since 1998 and currently serves more than 1,500 students. Graduate and undergraduate students are equally distributed (undergraduates=765; graduates=768). All fifty states plus Canada are represented in our databases.

The top ten mailing destinations are:

  • Pennsylvania (26% of patrons)
  • California (8%)
  • New Jersey and Virginia (6% each)
  • New York and Texas (5% each)
  • Florida (4%)
  • Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina (3% each)

If you know any undergraduate or graduate student who is eligible for World Campus Delivery or wishes to learn more about this service, here are some helpful links:
World Campus & Distance Researchers (from ILL webpage):

Penn State on-line/World Campus:

Inside Access: Faculty/staff office delivery update

by Carolyn Muse, Interlibrary Loan

This year begins the fourth year of Interlibrary Loan’s Faculty/Staff Delivery Service. Since Trends in Faculty/Staff Office Delivery Service was published in the February 8 Library News, the statistics for the 2015-2016 academic/fiscal year have been completed and compiled.

  • From 2013-2014 to 2014-2015, there was a 52% patron number increase and a 31% increase in all materials sent (32% increase in “I Want Its,” 17% increase in E-Z Borrow, and 26% increase in ILL Borrowing materials).
  • From 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, there was a 22% patron number increase and a 15% increase in all materials sent (15% increase in “I Want Its,” 28% increase in E-Z Borrow, and 2% increase in ILL Borrowing materials).
  • As of June 30, 2016, there are more than 620 patrons actively using the service. An average of 125 items are checked out and mailed each week.

The continued success of this service is attributed to Interlibrary Loan’s steadfast commitment to supplying materials in a timely manner, overwhelmingly positive feedback from our current patrons, sustained word-of-mouth between departments and periodic,strategic advertising. Interlibrary Loan will begin another round of advertising at the beginning of Fall Semester by placing bookmarks detailing our service to patrons who have not yet signed up.

If you know of any faculty or staff members who wish to sign up for
this service, here are some helpful links:

Office delivery services for UP faculty & staff:

Returning material: