Here are specific things that we will need to get your library up and running with Evergreen. Your project manager will work closely with you to make sure that you both understand your library’s organization, your goals and how the system can best meet them.
1. Your library Information
Balsam Mentor: __________________________
Balsam Project Manager:____________________
Local Technical Support: ____________________
- Balsam Website mainebalsamlibraries.org
- Balsam Listserv: https://groups.google.com/a/maineinfonet.org/forum/#!forum/mainebalsam
- Evergreen system manual (SITKA): https://docs.libraries.coop/sitka/
- MSLN: http://www.msln.net/contact.php
4. Working environment
Here are the “Environmental” things you will need
- A reliable, reasonably high-speed internet connection.
- At least one Windows or Apple computer (not a tablet or mobile device) for cataloging and circulation. It should have a reasonably current version of the operating system. You may wish to have another for OPAC use by your patrons. If you have an extensive children’s collection, you may also wish to have a computer for the “KPAC”.
- One or more USB barcode scanners. (Hand scanners are available for as low as $25. Good quality scanners may cost up to $100. An example is the NuScan Scanner for about $50 from Amazon adesso nuscan 1200)
- The Computer should have these programs loaded:
- Google Chrome as the Web Browser
- “Zoom.us” for screen sharing
- A spreadsheet program (Microsoft Excel – costs money, free alternatives include LibreOffice (https://www.libreoffice.org/ or OpenOffice.)
- Printers are not absolutely necessary, unless you routinely plan to print receipts. You will eventually want a printer for reports, overdue lists, etc.
As you catalog you will identify a location for each item. You can define as many different locations for your items as you like. You define locations by:
- The physical location in the library
- The Circulation rules for the item (e.g. All DVD’s circulate for 1 week only), and
- If you are a public library, with reference to the annual state reports. Here you will need to identify adult vs. Juvenile items, and Printed vs. Media (dvd’s, audio, etc.), Many libraries use a location naming scheme like this:
- Adult Fiction
- Adult non-Fiction
- Juvenile Fiction
- Juvenile non-fiction
- Adult (and juvenile) DVD
- Adult (and juvenile (Audio)
Of course, you can add your own locations for your own needs.
6. Loan Rules
Loan rules determine, for each patron type, how long an item can be checked out, whether fines are to be charged and other related matters. You have almost unlimited choices on how to set up your loan rules. This can become quite complex but, we will work with you to exactly define these rules. For now, you might want to give some thought to:
- How many different “types” of items do you have (e.g. DVD’s vs. Books, vs. “New books”)
- How many different “types” of patrons do you have? (e.g. patrons, students, staff, faculty, etc.)
- For each:
- How long can an item be checked out?
- How many renewals are permitted?
- Every item should have a price. What will be the default price?
- Will you charge fines?
- What is the daily fine rate?
- What is the maximum fine?
This is a good time to take a look at your patron records. Are there some patron records that you should delete? (They have moved away, etc.). Should any of the records be updated? (new addresses, etc.). Also, the new system will be able to email your patrons on overdues, holds ready for pickups, etc. So it might be a good time to collect email addresses. Finally, Balsam supports several patron types:
- Resident Adult
- Non-Resident Adult
- Resident Juvenile
- Non-Resident Juvenile
You will need to map each of your patron records to one of these patron types.
With all of this information in hand, you are ready to work with your Balsam project manager and mentor to implement the system.
8. Mastering the System
Balsam’s Evergreen is a powerful, sophisticated library management system. It is packed with features and capabilities that can satisfy almost any library’s needs. Getting started you will need to know the basics of:
- Circulation, including patron management and overdues management
- Later you will probably be interested in reports – information on your collection, your patrons and circulation.
- Ultimately you may be interested in using Evergreen to help manage your acquisitions and bookings.
Each of these capabilities has a great variety of features to provide a great deal of flexibility. So – a lot to learn. But, you don’t have to learn everything at once, or all by yourself.
Our usual approach to getting you up and running is to work closely with you in a one-on-one setting to make sure that you are confident that you can work with each feature. As you work, you will have lots of questions along the way. We expect that you will call our support staff, with even the smallest question. In many instances, we will connect you with our screen sharing program so that we can look at your screen together.
Besides personal one-on-one support, there are a number of useful materials available. The Balsam Website should be your “GO TO” for most of the information you’ll need to use the system. In addition, and one of the great advantages of being part of the larger Evergreen community, there are several community wide resources available. One in particular that our libraries find especially useful is the SITKA manual (above), made available by a sister consortium in British Columbia. We invite you to take a look at all of these resources. They will come in handy as you use the system.
Finally, as you work with the system, please pass along your comments and suggestions on things we offer to provide even more useful materials for your use.