Hoopla Digital is free to any East Greenbush or Schodack resident. If you are a resident of East Greenbush or Schodack and your card is denied, please come to the circulation desk at the library with proof of your current residence.
Hoopla differs from OverDrive because there are no holds or waiting lists. If you are browsing and see an e-book or movie that you want to check out, you can check it out right then and there without having to wait.
You are allowed three checkouts per month. This includes all types of media. The loan period starts from the moment the title is borrowed. Titles will be automatically returned at the end of the loan period and there are no late fees. Additionally, you are able to re-borrow the same title once the lending period has ended. Here are the lending periods for various media types:
e-books/Comics/Graphic Novels – 21 days Movies/Television – 72 hours (some content 48 hours) Music – 7 days Audiobooks – 21 days
This sounds great, you may be saying to yourself, how do I sign up? Well, it’s easy! Starting December 2, 2019, head over to Hoopla’s website or download the app to your device, and create a free account. All you need to sign up is an email address and your library card number.
Once your account has been created, you’re ready to start streaming and/or downloading content. You can view Hoopla content on a computer, your smartphone, and various other streaming devices such as: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Android and Amazon Alexa (smart speaker).
If you check out an e-book, the book must be read within the Hoopla app.
If you are unable to borrow materials and you have not reached your monthly three item limit, please contact the library.
If you have any questions, you can contact Hoopla staff directly via email through the app and they will respond within 24 hours.
On June 1st, the library will launch its new events calendar/room reservation system! We’ve been working hard to find and configure a new calendar for our users that has all of the latest features.
Because switching calendars can be tricky, we decided to coordinate the launch with the beginning of the summer newsletter cycle. Our newsletter came out earlier than usual because of the upcoming holiday, so some of you may be confused by the fact that many of the events we advertised do not appear on our calendar. Fear not! You will be able to register for events as soon as the new calendar goes live. For those of you signing up for events that are available on our current calendar, our staff members will move your registration to the new calendar on launch day.
Stay tuned – we will be posting instructional videos and documents for using the new system the day before we launch.
There is a new mobile app from the Upper Hudson Library System. The app has many neat features including the ability to search for and place holds on library items, access your library account, see scheduled events, contact your local library, and much more.
The app is available for Apple and Android devices. To download the app, open the App Store on Apple devices or the Google Play Store on Android devices and search for “UHLS Mobile.”
When you open the app for the first time, you’ll get a pop-up asking to allow notifications. You will get another pop-up asking you if you’d like to let the app use your location. Using your location makes it easy to locate a nearby library if you are out and about. Once you’ve chosen your notification and location preferences, you’ll be asked to select your preferred library. After you have selected your preferred library, you will get a conformation of your choice.
After choosing your preferred library, you will be taken to the main menu, which lists all the things you can do on the app.
Popular This Week
The first thing you’ll see is a sampling of books that are popular this week. Tapping on “see all” next to the book jacket will bring up a complete list of books that are popular this week, and from there, tapping on a title will give you more information about the book as well as the ability to request it.
Search and Request
The first option on the main menu is “search the catalog.” Tapping on this option will bring you to the search screen, where you can search for library items by title, author, subject, or keyword. You can search by tapping on the top center dialog box and entering your search term.
Once you start typing, a list will appear with items that match your search query. If you tap on a particular title, you will be taken to the Item Details screen. From here, you can see details about the item such as a summary of the item and which libraries have copies of the item available. You can also place a hold on the item by tapping Place Hold. If you choose to place a hold, you will need to login with your library card number.
You can tap back in the top left corner to see your search results or to perform another search. To get back to the main menu, you can tap back again or click the home icon on the bottom left of the screen.
By selecting My Account on the main menu, you can review your library account or your Overdrive account. To login to your library account, click on login under library account. Once you login, you will then see a summary of your account, including the number of items you currently have checked out and how many items you have requested.
You can tap on Checked Out to get a list of items you currently have checked out. On the list of checked out items, to renew a particular item, tap on the title. You’ll be taken to a conformation screen telling you if your renewal request was successful. Tapping on Requests will bring up a list of your requested items. If an item is ready to be picked up, there will be a message with “status: ready to be picked up” underneath the title, as well as the date it must be picked up by. If the item is not ready to be picked up, you will only see the library branch where you can pick up the item once it is available.
Another neat feature of the app is the Barcode Wallet. If your library has the proper scanning technology at the checkout desk, you can use the app in place of your library card when checking out items at the library. You can enter a library card number along with a label identifying the cardholder for each family member for easy access.
Once a person has been added, tap on their name to bring up their card.
You can also bring up the bar code screen from My Account on the main menu, and choosing view barcode.
OverDrive and Online Resources
By tapping on OverDrive on the main menu, you can download e-books and e-audioBooks. Selecting Online Resources gives you easy access to Flipster (for digital magazines), Gale Virtual Reference Library (for always available non-fiction eBooks), Heritage Quest (for online genealogy research), and Mango Languages (to learn a new language).
By tapping on BookLook on the main menu, you can scan the ISBN number bar code on the back of any book. The app uses your device’s camera to scan the ISBN number and then searches the catalog to see if it is available at the library.
If you are interested in upcoming events at the library, choose Events from the main menu. You then have the option to see only East Greenbush Community Library (or whichever library you chose as your preferred library) events or you can view all shared events from area libraries.
Wondering when the library is open? Tap on Location & Hours to see library hours and directions or to quickly call or email the library.
Social Media Integration
If you want to connect with the library on social media, select Connect with Us from the main menu. You’ll be given a link to the library’s social media pages including Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you want to call or email the library directly, choose Contact Us from the main menu. If you would like to view the library’s website, you can quickly access it by selecting Library Website from main menu.
Your Preferred Library
If you want to change your preferred library, on the main menu screen, tap on libraries in the bottom right corner and your preferred library selection will be cleared. You’ll get a message that your preferred library was cleared and if you tap below the conformation message, you can select a new preferred library. If you have the app location set to on, it will list all of the area libraries in order of the distance from your current location.
Have you downloaded the new app? Let us know in the comments.
All libraries in the Upper Hudson Library System are getting a new language learning service called Mango Languages. What is Mango Languages you ask? It’s a fun and easy-to-use language learning program that can help you learn over 70 different languages. The program allows you to go at your own pace, so you can take your time or speed through depending on your preference. There are a wide variety of languages offered, everything from common languages like Italian and Chinese to less commonly used languages such as Biblical Hebrew and Scottish Gaelic. There are also a number of specialty languages like Medical Spanish and Oktoberfest German. Mango also benefits ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) with 17 ESOL courses.
It’s easy to get started. You can create an account using your email address and start learning right away. Once you have created your account, you can select the language you would like to to start learning.
You can click the green Get Started button or mouse over the three lines in the upper left corner and click on languages. Once you choose your desired language, you will get different options depending on your language selection. For example if you chose Spanish (Latin American), you can select Mango Conversations, Legal, Text Talk, Medical Spanish, Romance, Spanish for Librarians, and a selection of films that can be used to assist with language learning.
You can exit a particular course at any time and you can pick up where you left off the next time you log in.
Mango offers pronunciation demonstrated by professional native speakers of the language. You will be able to hear words in any language at both a conversational speed and at a slowed down, easier to understand speed. In addition to learning the language, users will find cultural notes in each chapter, which help provide context for language usage.
Both understood and literal translations are available, and both translations are color coded. This helps users see how sentences are structured. In other words, Mango teaches grammar without the user ever noticing.
If you would prefer to learn on the go, Mango offers an app for Apple devices and Android devices. Once it has been downloaded, you can access the app with or without an internet connection. Before you use the app without an internet connection, make sure you have downloaded the courses you wish to access. This can be done in the app by going into My Courses, choosing the language you are learning, and selecting “Download All” from the Chapter list or choose a particular lesson you would like to download by tapping the green arrow icon.
To access the lesson you wish to download rather than continue the lesson, tap on Mango Conversations: (Whichever Language you are learning) to access the download list.
Once the lessons have been downloaded, you can access them the same way, by going into My Courses and tapping on the name of the language you are learning.
You can also opt to learn by watching foreign films with the Mango Premier feature. Please note this feature is only available via desktop learning, not on the mobile apps.
In the past, you may have used Overdrive to check out digital versions of magazines. The library is switching over to a new service called Flipster, which is much easier to use.
You can access Flipster by following the link on our website, or by typing in https://goo.gl/NW0iAu into the web browser on your computer or your mobile device. Once you are on the main page, you will see a list of current magazine issues, as well as a sidebar that lists various categories such as Computer, Entertainment, Sports, and more. You can also search for a specific magazine or by keyword.
To view one of the magazines featured on the front page, you can click on the magazine cover and the magazine will open in a new window in your browser. If you are browsing via category or looking for a specific magazine via search, you will get a list of results. You can click on Read this Issue under the magazine you’d like to view.
Once you’ve accessed the magazine, you can read it directly in your browser.
Once the magazine has opened in your browser, there are several ways you can navigate the issue.
If you want to navigate the magazine, mousing over All Issues will bring up the Table of Contents. If there is a specific article you would like to read, you can click on the title listed there.
To search the magazine, you can type your keyword or phrase into the search box above the magazine logo on the right side of the screen. Search results will appear in a list with the search word or phrase highlighted.
In that menu, you also have the option to view back issues of that magazine. To view a back issue of the magazine, click on the issue you’d like to view under More Issues. The cover of that particular issue will come up in the upper right and from there you can click View.
You can also navigate by mousing over Pages, which will show groups of pages in the magazine. Clicking on a particular page image will take you to that page. Clicking on the left and right arrows will turn the pages forward or back in the issue. If you would like to zoom in on a page, you will see an icon that looks like a magnifying glass with a plus sign when you mouse over the page. Clicking when you see the magnifying glass will zoom in on that area of the page. If you would like to Print, you have the option to print just the pages in view, or all pages. Mousing over Print will allow you to choose what you would like to print. Mousing over Settings will allow you to choose whether you would like to view one page at time or if you would like to Zoom Out when you turn the page. There is also an option to fit the view to your screen, based on the height or width.
Please note that there is no offline viewing option for desktop computers. You must maintain your internet connection to read to magazine unless you are using the Flipster app for tablets and smartphones.
If you are on a mobile device, there is another viewing option. The Flipster app is available to download in the Apple App Store (for iOS devices), the Google Play Store (for Android devices), and the Kindle Store (for Amazon devices). To download the app, search for Flipster in your device’s app store. Once you have downloaded the app, you can access the magazine you would like to view via your device’s web browser, and then click the three lines in the top left corner. This will bring up a menu and from there you can tap Open in App.
You’ll get a conformation message asking if you want to open in Flipster. Clicking on Open will open the magazine in the Flipster app. You will see a list of all the magazines you have downloaded, as well as if they expire within a certain amount of time. You can re-download the same issue once it has expired. If you are finished with the magazine, you can click the trash can icon to remove the magazine from your device. Once the magazine has finished downloading, you can tap on it to view. The gray bookmark with a percentage shows how much of the magazine you have read.
Once you have tapped on the magazine, there are several ways you can navigate through the issue. To turn the page forward or back, you can swipe left or right. If you tap on the three line menu icon in the top right corner, a table of contents will be displayed. Tapping on any of the article names will bring you to that article.
Another neat feature of the mobile app is that if you click on Text View in the top right, you will get a text view of that page or article with only the text of the article, minus any pictures or ads that would appear normally. To switch back to the regular view, click on page view in the top left corner. Below is the same page in regular view and text view.
Clicking on Library in the top left corner will take you back to the home screen where all the magazines you have downloaded are displayed. Another bonus of using the mobile app is the ability to view the magazines later for offline reading, as you don’t need to be connected to WiFi to read the magazines once they’ve been downloaded. When opened in the app, the magazine will automatically open to where you left off. If you would like to download back issues of magazines to view in the app, follow the process listed above on your device’s web browser to access the back issue, and then click the three lines and Open in App to download the issue to your device.
There is no limit to the number of magazines you can download to your device or view on your computer. If a magazine downloaded to your tablet expires, it can be re-downloaded at any time. Once a title is expired, there will be an expired icon and will appeared greyed out. Certain weekly titles will expire in two days and certain monthly titles will expire in one week.
Flipster is a free service provided to you by the library. You do not need a mobile app to view a magazine. Even if you are on your mobile device, you can just view the magazine in your mobile web browser. Both the mobile version and desktop versions of Flipster website allow you to search within a magazine, however you cannot search a magazine within the mobile app. You can print from the Flipster website, but not from the mobile app.
If you’ve ever checked out anything electronically (an eBook, a digital audiobook, a digital periodical, or a streaming movie), then you have used OverDrive. On November 9th, OverDrive will be getting a facelift, with new features and a brand new look. This post will go over the changes in the new layout.
If you’d like to check out what the Upper Hudson Library System’s new OverDrive page will look like, you can check it out here: https://uhls.overdrive.com. This link will continue to work once the site goes live. You can also go to the current OverDrive page and you will see a red bar across the bottom with a link to the preview site.
The first change you may notice is the login screen.
There are two new options: using your OverDrive account to login or connecting via your Facebook account. An OverDrive account syncs your progress through titles, your saved libraries, and your bookmarks across multiple devices. Keep in mind that whichever way you sign in, you will need to enter your library card number.
Once you have logged in, you will see a drop down box appear.
There is a new icon that looks like three books. Clicking on this icon will always take you back to your account. There is some new terminology here also. The section of your account that listed the items you currently had checked out was called Checkouts. They will now be referred to as Loans, which you can see appears first on the drop down box.
Searching and Browsing
If you are browsing the site, you can click on Subjects in the top left corner. This will bring up the entire library collection, organized by subject. Once you’ve clicked on Subjects, you also have the option of narrowing down the list by format (eBook, Audiobook, Video, or Periodicals). Clicking on Collections with bring up a drop down box that allows you to easily see things like new additions and popular titles, organized by format. You can click on the magnifying glass icon to bring up a search box. When you click on it, you’ll also get a link for the Advanced Search feature, if you want to limit your search by specific criteria. Searching directly from the search box will now use an auto complete feature.
Whether you’ve narrowed down by subject or searched by a specific keyword, you will notice changes in the way the results are shown.
There will be text across the top of each book jacket picture showing the item’s availability. You will see a blue bar with Available if an item is available and can be checked out right away. There will be a blue bar with Borrowed if you currently have the item checked out. If you currently have the item on hold, On Hold will be written on a white bar. If the item currently has a waiting list, you will see Wait List across the top. If the item has Wait List shown, there are no current copies available for check out and you will need to put the item on hold if you’d like to borrow it. If you’d like to add an item to your Wish List, you can click on the little ribbon shaped icon with a plus sign. You can also see the format of the item listed under the title and author.
If you click the icon with the three dots, you’ll get three options: Read/listen to a sample of the item, View More Details (where you can view more details about the item, such as a plot summary, the available formats and more), and You May Also Like, which gives you recommendations based on that item. Clicking on the book jacket or the title will also take you to the more details page.
Checking Out an Item and Placing Holds
You can click the borrow link under the jacket picture to borrow the item. Once you’ve clicked borrow, you’ll get a blue notification bar across the top of your screen that tells you when your loan ends, as well as a link to your Loans page, where you can download the item to your device.
If you go to the item’s page to check an item out, you have the option of choosing the lending period. On the blue borrow button, you’ll see an arrow. Clicking on that will bring up a drop down box, allowing you to choose whether you would like to check the item out for 7, 14, or 21 days.
Placing an item on hold has changed slightly. You can click the Place a Hold link under the picture of the book cover or from the item’s more details page. You’ll get a conformation popup that your hold has been placed, which lists the email address where you’ll be notified, along with a link to manage all the holds you’ve currently placed. You’ll also get recommendations that are currently available for check out based on the item you’ve just placed on hold.
There have been a few changes to the my account section of OverDrive. Once you’ve chosen which format you want to download, a little button labeled How to Return will appear under the item. This will give instructions on how to return to the item early, based on which format you’ve chosen.
In the Holds section of your account, you can view the items you currently have on hold.
The date the hold placed will be listed across the top. Near the bottom, you have the option to edit the email address where you’d like to be notified once the item is available, to suspend the hold to a particular date, and to delete the hold. Clicking on the three dots near the top right corner will give you the same options as we saw earlier: to read/view a sample, view details, and recommendations based on that title. You can also see what number you are on the waiting list, as well as the format of the item on hold.
Settings and Help
The option to choose whether you want to automatically check out an item is now found in settings. You can check or uncheck this option. Whenever you make any changes to your settings, they are automatically saved.
If you need help using OverDrive, there is a help link on the top right corner of each page. You can also get assistance by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under help you’ll see FAQs, a getting started guide, a link to contact support, and more. Clicking on Get Support will give you the option of going to the OverDrive support site, which has getting started guides, videos, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips and more. You’ll also get the option to contact the library for more specific questions.
What do you think of the OverDrive’s new look? Let us know in the comments.
Our latest public catalog has some new features that we are excited to see patrons using. One of these features allows patrons to “tag” items in our catalog. The purpose of adding a tag would be to make an item easier to find. For example, if I ran a book club at the library, I might want to add the tag “EG Book Club” to every title we discuss. That way, any patron searching the catalog for “EG Book Club” would find all of those books grouped together in the results.
Recently, we have discovered that there may be some confusion about the nature of tags in our catalog. Given some of the community tags we’ve seen, it appears that patrons believe them to be private. Consider the following example:
Clearly, this is a patron’s note to self and not meant for public consumption. Unfortunately, there is no way we can let the patron who added it know that a more effective way to accomplish this privately would be to use the My List feature of the catalog, which we will outline in a moment.
Other patrons may think tagging an item is a way to communicate with library staff:
I assure you that no staff member will see this unless they find it by accident. If you have created your own tags assuming they were private, please help us clean up the catalog and protect your privacy by deleting them.
If you would like to make personal notes to yourself on items in the catalog, there is a more elegant way to do this. It involves an additional click or two, but there are many more options available to you when you use this method. For example, when you add items to a list, you can request them all at once or one at a time. You can also create multiple lists and organize them as you wish.
You can use “My Lists” to save lists of items that you wish to revisit for later use. The content in these lists is stored until you remove it. In “My Lists”, you can create folders to group your stored titles in ways that help you to organize your content. Titles stored in “My Lists” can be viewed and retrieved by logging into your My Account and using the “My Lists” link. Login to My Account and the search for an item you wish to add to your list. Click on the icon to “Add to cart.”
When you have gathered all of the items for your list in the cart, click on “My Cart” next to your name in the upper right of the screen.
Click “save to list” and either create a new list or save to a list already created and confirm. To see your lists, return to your account details by clicking on your name when logged into the catalog. Select the “My Lists” link to view the lists created. Click on a list name export it or request/delete items on the list.
How would you use the tagging feature in our catalog? Let us know in the comments.
There has been a change in terminology in the user account section of the Upper Hudson Library System’s Digital Collection. What was formerly called Bookshelf has been changed to Checkouts. This is the section of your account where you can view all of the digital items you have currently checked out.
If you are accessing your downloaded materials through the Overdrive app, they will be listed under the Bookshelf heading. Please note that books downloaded for use on a Kindle or in the Kindle app will not be listed on the Overdrive Bookshelf.
Windows 10 was released to the general public on July 29, 2015. Since then, various issues and concerns have popped up among its users. One big concern is the telemetry (remote data collection) that is built into Windows 10. Windows IT Pro has written an article on how to turn off telemetry not only in Windows 10, but also in Windows 7 and Windows 8. Makeuseof has also written a number of articles regarding privacy concerns in Windows 10 and has links to various tools to help users change their privacy and telemetry settings. Relating to the privacy issues, KrebsonSecurity has addressed the concern that a default setting in Windows shares your WiFi connection with contacts you have in Outlook, Skype, or Facebook and offers suggestions on how to turn this feature off and make your WiFi network more secure.
If you are finding learning the ins and outs of Windows 10 a bit daunting, TechSoup has written a blog post that has information on the basics of Windows 10 and its features.
Throughout the course of several updates, Windows Update, the program that keeps the Windows operating system up-to-date, may have downloaded the Windows 10 installation files without the knowledge of the computer user. If you have noticed that your computer and/or internet connection has been slower, this may be the cause. Luckily, makeuseof has written an article that addresses what to do if the Windows 10 installation files have been downloaded to your computer. Sophos has also written a blog post related to removing unwanted Windows 10 installation files.
Have you downloaded Windows 10 yet? Tell us about it in the comments.
Windows 10 was released at the end of July, though you have probably been hearing about it for much longer than that. Even if you haven’t been keeping up on tech news, Windows 7 and 8 users will have noticed an icon on their desktops urging them to reserve their free upgrade. Microsoft states that this will be the last operating system they release. Going forward, Windows will provide all updates free of charge and do away with supporting multiple operating systems. In fact, some users will be forced to install updates whether they want to or not. While this will be helpful from a security and support standpoint, it could spell trouble if any of those updates go awry. If you have a genuine copy of Windows 7 or later, upgrading to Windows 10 will be free for a year. After that, you may need to pay for the upgrade. However, to clarify, there will be no charges after upgrading to Windows 10. Some readers have seen “free for a year” and assumed that Microsoft would start charging Windows 10 users after a year. That is not the case.
There is a lot of information about Windows 10 out there, and I have done my best to sort through it and provide links to some of the more helpful resources available.
Don’t want to upgrade, and you’re tired of that reminder icon in your taskbar? You can get rid of it.
Not sure if you want to upgrade? Learn more. Here are some compelling reasons to upgrade. Though, you may want to wait until the general public helps Microsoft work out a few more of the bugs before taking the plunge, yourself.
Instead of starting from scratch, do you want to upgrade while keeping all of your settings and apps? Check out this article.
Because of third-party software concerns, the library will not be upgrading its public computers to Windows 10 for some time yet. However, I am planning to upgrade one of our staff computers in order to test the new operating system and help me answer questions patrons might have about their computers and other devices. If you have any questions or comments regarding Windows 10, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Welcome to my long overdue update on the software situation in the library. Since our library system (UHLS) moved to a new library management software at the end of March, the system’s techies have been working hard to get the kinks out of the new system. Believe it or not, there are still several modules and functions that are still being configured. The purpose of this post is to let you know which issues are still outstanding and where to get help if you need it.
Some people are still experiencing minor issues receiving their notifications. Most commonly, emails are not received. Make sure to check your spam folder. Even if you have already “rescued” a library email from your spam folder and marked the sender safe, emails can come from different library email addresses. You may need to add several addresses to your email whitelist before the emails will stop going to junk mail. If you are not receiving notifications and you have already checked your spam folder, please contact the library and let us know.
Some patrons have pointed out that phone notifications do not mention the library where their items are being held. This can be an issue for power users who pick up items at multiple locations. At this time, there is no fix for this issue. We suggest that patrons who are unsure where their items are being held login to the online catalog and click their name in the upper right corner of the screen. On the left menu of the next screen, select “holds.” Any items showing “ready for pickup” under status will also list a pickup location.
2. Prompts to request specific items
In some cases, when requesting an item, a patron is prompted to request a specific copy of an item, even though all of the copies are the same. This is a cataloging issue that all of the libraries are working to fix. Reports of this issue are few and far between, but it still happens.
3. Blocked from placing a hold
On our previous system, patrons with outstanding charges on their library cards could place holds on items and would be prompted to pay down their fees when checking out an item. The new system no longer allows holds for any card not in good standing. Unfortunately, we cannot control this. If you are blocked from placing a hold, call the Reference Desk (477-7476, option 4) and we can override this restriction and place the hold for you.
4. Checking out an OverDrive item through the library catalog
Previously, we had two separate catalogs for our physical items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) and digital items (OverDrive). While the two separate catalogs still exist, our new library catalog contains our digital items as well as physical. You can even check out and download most digital titles without leaving the catalog! To test this, search the catalog for a title. In the left menu, look under “format.” If the item is available as a downloadable audiobook or e-book, there will be options for “downloadable e-book” or “downloadable audiobook.” You may need to click “more” to see all available formats.
If you are looking for a magazine or streaming video, the format categories are less helpful. Downloadable magazines show up as “downloadable e-books” and streaming videos show up as “DVDs.” Check the individual record for more clarification:
If you click on “Check out with OverDrive”, you will be prompted to sign in if you haven’t already. Then a window will pop up confirming checkout:
After you select “check out”, you can immediately download the title by selecting “Get eBook” if you are using the device you would like to read/watch on.
Otherwise, you can download it later by logging into your account in the OverDrive catalog. Occasionally, an error message will display, and you will need to go to the OverDrive catalog and sign in to download, anyway. We’re working on that, too.
5. New item notification
We had more direct control over our last system, which allowed UHLS to create add-ons that would use the power of our library catalog to provide extra features for patrons. One of these add-ons was the ability to subscribe to a “New Items” feed. This feed would notify subscribers when a new item was added to the catalog. The popularity of this feature was made clear to us by patrons who were very frustrated when it disappeared. UHLS knows how much patrons want this feature, and they are working to bring it back. Because there are still some higher priority bugs to work out with the everyday functioning of the catalog, this feature may need to be on the back burner for a while. However, it is definitely on the to-do list.
6. Getting help
We have created several types of training resources to help you navigate our new catalog. Our Online Catalog Help page includes short videos and text instructions for common tasks, as well as a print-friendly (PDF) guide to using your library account online. Of course, if you’d rather get assistance from a live person, our reference librarians are always happy to help. Give us a call (518-477-7476, option 4) or stop by at your convenience.
Again, we’d like to thank all of our patrons for their patience and understanding during this time of transition. What are your thoughts on the new catalog? Have you discovered a bug not discussed here? Let us know in the comments.
Last week, the Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS) upgraded its catalog and patron management software. We were unable to remain with the old software, as the vendor had stopped supporting it years ago and it was really showing its age by failing in critical ways. Moving to a new library management software is an enormous project that takes lots of planning and configuration. In fact, the project has several phases, and it will remain ongoing for several months. While the new software has many exciting features for both patrons and staff, many of them are not yet available and will roll out over time.
Phase One Complete
Because this was not simply an upgrade to our current software, but changing software entirely, much of the battle here was getting the data from our current system to move successfully and meaningfully to the new system. I won’t bore you with the details, but at times this can be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
The priority for our first day working live in the new system was to make sure that we could check items in and out and they would attach/remove appropriately with a patron’s account. Now we are identifying glitches that may have occurred in translation (a.k.a. stuff that got lost or broken in the move) and working to fix them. If you believe something may be amiss with your patron account (lost requests, inability to login to your account, etc.), please let us know ASAP so we can investigate and fix the issue.
Getting Help with the New System
Another part of phase one of the project is staff and patron education. The library staff has been trained on the new software, but it will take time for us to get used to using it. We truly appreciate your patience, as transactions at the checkout desk and information desk may take longer than usual. If you would like help searching the catalog or managing your account, please see our catalog help page for videos, text, and a printable guide, or our YouTube channel for videos only. If you would prefer to walk through the new catalog with a librarian, please visit the reference desk, and we’ll be happy to show you the finer points of the new catalog and answer any questions you may have.
Phase Two Underway
The next part of the project is to integrate the new software with our other library software and turn on additional features. Here are some examples:
We have integrated our online article subscriptions (databases) with the catalog, making it possible to search for digital newspaper, magazine, and journal articles right alongside our physical books, music and movies. Unfortunately, there is still a bit of an issue getting these articles to display consistently when accessed through the catalog. Until we work this out, you can search the databases separately from our online resources page.
OverDrive, our service for downloading books, audiobooks, magazines and streaming video, is currently partially integrated into the catalog. Some, but not all, titles show up with links that will open the separate OverDrive catalog for checkout. In the coming weeks, a feature will become available that will show all current OverDrive titles and allow you to check them out without ever leaving the main catalog!
Libraries that use software for managing public computers, printing, self-check machines, and point-of-sale systems (taking payments) are working to make sure that this third party software communicates effectively with the new system. At the East Greenbush Community Library, these particular services are up and running. Your experience may vary at other libraries.
Aside from the issues above, the following missing features have been brought to our attention. Issues we may be able to fix have been submitted to UHLS support.
The My Account login page does not offer an option to save your barcode.This has been addressed. There is now a check box you can click if you would like the browser to remember your barcode.
The New Items feed is no longer available. We are aware of how important this feature is to our patrons, but are unsure if this can be configured as part of the new system. It is on the list of features to explore.
When viewing the catalog in the Internet Explorer browser, the input fields on the login page are too short (though they do accept a full barcode), and sometimes the popup windows become transparent and don’t respond to clicks. So far, we have only seen these issues in IE. If you experience these issues, we recommend using an alternate browser, such as Firefox or Chrome.
We Appreciate Your Feedback
As always, your feedback on the new system is important to us. We want to make sure your library experience is a positive one. In the first week, we received a lot of feedback at our service desks, which helped us report issues we may not have seen otherwise. Have questions or comments about the new system? Please let us know in the comments below.
If you have placed a request on an item in our catalog, you may have noticed that your request was automatically suspended. This is a temporary measure to ensure that the migration to our new catalog software goes smoothly. By temporarily suspending requests until we go live on the new software, we will reduce the likelihood that items will get lost in transit during the change. Your requests will automatically reactivate when we go live with the new system on 3/31/15. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the Upper Hudson Library System is upgrading its catalog and patron management database. The new software, named Sierra for staff and Encore for patrons, has some great features that we are very excited to offer. As with any software migration (I’m not being overly dramatic – it’s an industry term), there will be some major differences between how the system runs currently and how it will run after we go live on the new system.
In my last post, I focused on some of the new features Encore will have for patrons. This post is dedicated to the issues you need to know about, actions you may need to take to preserve your account information, and the timing of planned interruptions in service.
New Rules and Actions You May Need to Take
With our current system, patrons can suspend a request for an item if they want to place a request but make sure the item doesn’t show up when they cannot pick it up. In Encore, patrons can only suspend (now called freeze) a request if there are no checked in items at any location to fill the hold. In order to time future requests, we suggest patrons use the new “Reading List” feature when logged into their account in Encore.
If you currently have suspended requests in your account, they will be activated automatically when we move to the new software on 3/31. You will need to either re-freeze the items or move them to your reading list.
Currently, if your account is not in good standing for any reason (too many fines, too many overdue items, expired card, etc.), you are blocked from checking out physical items and using our computers. In the future, you will be blocked from ALL functions, including downloading digital items, placing requests, registering for events using your library card, and using online resources that require you to enter your library card number. We would have preferred to keep the old policy, but this is one way in which the new software is inflexible.
If you have an email address configured in your account, you can have your checkout receipt emailed to you rather than printed.
Items currently saved in patron accounts under “My Lists” will NOT be moved to the new system. If you save items there, print or email yourself the list prior to 3/27 in order to preserve it.
There is a chance that you may need to reset your PIN on the new system. In the future, library staff will not be able to see patron PIN information in plain text in a patron account. Staff will be able to reset a PIN, but not determine a current PIN.
3/16/15 – We will pause taking requests for materials until we go live on the new system (3/31). This will help us minimize errors with items in transit and on hold for patrons during the move. Traditionally, this is where most of the errors in transition would be.
3/27/15 – We will pause taking new patron registrations and item renewals. We will resume registering patrons and renewing items on 3/31.
3/30/15 – All UHLS libraries will be offline. Patrons will be able to check out physical materials (with library cards only – no Driver’s Licenses will be accepted on this day), but digital downloads will not be available. Also, other online resources that require a library card number will not be available. Item check-in, fine/fee payment, card signup/replacement, and any other in-person or online account management services will need to wait until we go live with the new system on 3/31. There will be a procedure in place so that public computers can still be used, and our “old” catalog will still be available for reference at http://vufind.uhls.org, though item status will be out of date.
If all goes smoothly, the libraries will be live on the new system when we open for business on 3/31. It is unlikely that online services will be restored before that. Of course, with a project this size we expect some glitches, but we will do our best to keep our users informed of any changes in the plan along the way. If you have questions, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to find answers for you.
Though this blog has been quiet for a while, big changes are happening behind the scenes in the Upper Hudson Library System. UHLS includes all of the public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer Counties, and we are all working together toward a giant change in how our system is managed.
Currently, the libraries use a software named Horizon to manage all of our patron and item data. This software is at the core of all of our online functions and sharing capabilities. We are excited to announce that last year, the system voted to move to a new library management software – Sierra and its public-facing catalog Encore. Sierra/Encore is a newer system with a much more robust set of features for both staff and patrons. The change is currently set to happen at the end of March, though that may change as the deadline gets closer.
While migration from one software to another happens fairly regularly in libraries, it is still an enormous undertaking. Because terminology and functionality differ between the two programs, you would not believe how many things need to be considered, planned for, tested, and checked over and over! We are doing our best to think of everything, but there are bound to be some glitches along the way. Even if the transition is completely smooth, the new software will probably need to be tweaked for a few weeks while we get it customized just right. Whenever possible, we will alert patrons of outages and issues as soon as possible on our website, Facebook and Twitter locations. Your patience is very much appreciated. As always, we welcome your feedback on the new system once we get it in place.
Here are some new features that will come with Sierra:
OverDrive integration – checkout and download our online materials right from the catalog
Option to email receipts/date due slips instead of printing
Option for SMS (text) notifications [edit 3/5: This feature will not be available when we go live on 3/31, but will be implemented soon thereafter.]
More reliable electronic notifications
Option to save your checkout history
Option to tag catalog items and search by tag
Better mobile interface
Enhanced account security – this will likely require a new PIN, but we are not 100% sure.
Please note: patrons who use the My List feature in our current catalog will need to print their list(s) or email to themselves before the software change happens. My List items will not be transferred to Sierra.
If you have questions about the new system, please post them in the comments below.