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Key Notes

  • COVID-19 and the State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service

    COVID-19 and the State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service

    Our KLAS Users' Group officers contacted some KLAS users to ask them to share how their library / organization is faring and what policy, service, or other changes they may have enacted in response to library closure or limited staffing related to Covid19. We welcome submissions from any KLAS user who wants to share their experience during this time. Please contact Chandra Thornton, President, KLAS Users' Group or Drea Callicutt, Keystone Systems if you're interested in contributing a post.

    Our next guest blog post in response to this request is from Michael Lang, Director, State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service.

    March 16 – March 20: The Scramble


    Kansas Talking Books began quarantining incoming items on Monday, March 16th. Our initial procedure was to disinfect all incoming items, scan them into a quarantine shelf, while wearing gloves, and let them sit for seven days. We did this for one week.

    On Tuesday, March 17th at 4:00 p.m., Kansas Governor Laura Kelly held a press conference announcing the two week closure of all state offices beginning Saturday the 21st.

    We emailed all of our residential facilities and individuals to alert them to our closure and encourage them to order more books and/or sign up for BARD. We identified heavy users and assigned them more books. We encouraged any patrons who called to order extra items. We discussed increasing out nightly cutoff for all patrons but weren’t sure we could get that many books pulled. For the next three days, we pulled twice our daily average. On Friday afternoon, Keystone ran a second round of nightly autoselect, and we did a full second pull.

    Regrettably, this left patrons without email addresses and who didn’t call in underserved during, what would become, a four-week period with no outgoing items. Many of our patrons also don’t realize we are part of a state agency and might not have realized the governor’s order to close applied to us. This news was also overshadowed in the same press conference that she announced the closing of all school buildings for the rest of the school year.

    March 21- April 5: The Shutdown


    For the following two weeks, staff went home with instructions not to work. Our voicemail message started that we would reopen on the 6th. Our mail was delivered as usual to Emporia State University, where we are located, and held in the mailroom separated by date received. During this time, Emporia State University closed all buildings to the public.

    I monitored emails and signed patrons up for BARD when possible.

    April 6 – April 19: The Reset


    State employees were instructed to return to work on April 6th, remotely if possible or on site if not possible but deemed safe, to provide missions essential functions. I returned to work with a skeleton crew of rotating circulation staff. Circulation staff checked in the books and equipment that we received during our two week closure.

    RA staff began working from home, accessing their voicemails and returning call from their cells phones using blocked numbers. Eventually, we were able to get 3 of the 4 remote staff’s VOIP office phones hooked up in their homes. They are able to receive and return calls from their office numbers. The fourth person has a work issued cell phone so that she no longer has to call from a blocked/unknown number. RA staff continued to assign and reserve books for patrons during this time. They also encouraged patrons to try to use BARD as uncertainty in our operational status remained.

    Additionally, with all campus buildings locked down, the postal service is not delivering to campus. ESU staff pick up the mail on Monday and Thursday. We were informed on April 13th that they would no longer be picking up our books and equipment but will still pick up our paper mail on Mondays and Thursdays. I must go to the post office to pick up our items.

    April 20 – Present: Doing the Best that We Can


    On April 20th, we began mailing out books and machines. In those first two days, circulation staff prepped and pulled almost 5,000 items and I delivered 56 bags of mail to the post office using my mother-in-law’s Ford Ranger. I am now delivering and picking up mail at the post office daily. We are allowing returned books and machines to sit untouched for at a minimum of four full days in our library before being handled by staff. Monday’s mail is sorted on Friday, Tuesday-Thursday on Monday and Friday’s mail gets sorted on Tuesday. It’s really messing with our daily procedures but we’re making it work.

    The State Library has a contract with Splashtop, which provides remote access to desktop computers. During the week of April 20th we were able to get remote staff set up so that they can work on their desktop computers remotely from home. This allows them to access our network drives, networked printers, and some of our audio editing software. RA staff are also prepping for summer reading, cataloging, and editing audio as time allows. They will be working remotely until at least June 1.

  • COVID-19 and the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

    COVID-19 and the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

    Our KLAS Users' Group officers contacted some KLAS users to ask them to share how their library / organization is faring and what policy, service, or other changes they may have enacted in response to library closure or limited staffing related to Covid19. We welcome submissions from any KLAS user who wants to share their experience during this time. Please contact Chandra Thornton, President, KLAS Users' Group or Drea Callicutt, Keystone Systems if you're interested in contributing a post.

    Our first guest blog post in response to this request is from Danielle Miller, Director & Regional Librarian, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library.

    COVID-19 and the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library


    Gues
    We are all experiencing a crisis most of didn’t imagine we would be in, and might not have felt adequately prepared to manage. These are unprecedented times and our libraries are vital resources for our patrons, yet many of us are finding we are having to stop, decrease, or modify services to our patrons in response to the pandemic. Washington State was the initial U.S. coronavirus epicenter. Home to the first case of coronavirus, and the first death on February 29th was in King County, where the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) is located. On March 2nd there were 14 more cases, 6 more deaths, and schools began closing. In response to the growing concerns about patron, volunteer, and staff safety, that same day we implemented new procedures in handling our mail. All books, including DBs, braille, LP, and any new items, were checked in or processed using gloves. Incoming materials were then set aside and marked with the date and were quarantined (not put into circulation or inspection) for eight days. PCC or our proto Duplication on Demand patron cartridges were checked in like others, using gloves, and then the cartridges were disinfected and received new (previously unused, or not used for a period longer than 8 days) mailing containers. Machines were disinfected and also dated and set aside for a period of eight days before going back into circulation.

    On March 3rd we sent a message to our volunteers about all the safety measures we were implementing at WTBBL and letting them know they only needed to come if they felt comfortable doing so. We were open and operating as normal, but adding precautions for everyone’s safety. Our maintenance custodian was disinfecting all door handles, tables, water fountains, and frequently touched surfaces at least three times a day. The surfaces and chairs in the audio recording booths were being disinfected throughout the day. We added Kleenex and hand sanitizer in multiple locations throughout the building, as well as adding hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in the audio booths. We also put up notices in the building and at the volunteer sign-in station describing the precautions we were taking. We did see a decline in the number of volunteers coming to the library, but many still came, especially volunteer narrators and reviewers.

    By March 15th, there were 772 confirmed cases and our Governor announced that all entertainment and recreational facilities, including bars and restaurants, were to close. The next day, WTBBL closed to the public and all volunteers. All staff continued to come to work and perform their regular duties and we continued circulation of materials as usual while following the safety measures previously outlined. On March 17th, the number of cases had jumped to 1,009 and we were anticipating that the Governor would soon issue a stay-at-home order. Worrying we would could be sent home at any time and not be able to send out materials, we decided to do a surge in our circulation to push our extra books to our patrons.

    For all patrons with cutoffs between 4-16 books, we increased them all by four books. Our average daily circulation is between 1,200-1,500 items and we raised our daily circulation cutoff from 2,500 to 4,000. So on March 19, 20, 23, and 24, we did circs of over 4,000 digital books. More than we have ever done! This push got four additional books, over 16,000 cartridges to almost 4,000 patrons. We had started our push to get extra books out just in time, as on March 23rd, Governor Inslee announced a “stay home, stay healthy,” order effective March 25th, and currently in effect until May 5th but may yet be extended.

    Beginning March 25th, all staff started working remotely. We are checking our voicemail remotely, encouraging people to sign up for BARD if that is an option for them, checking and answering our WTBBL email, approving BARD applications and providing BARD support by email, and posting to our social media. Some staff are also working on various cataloging projects, our Audio Book Production Department staff are working on editing and review as they can, and we have some transcription work for our Braille Department in progress.

    For many staff, they are working on taking trainings and staying current on email. For the most part we have not been able to access the building, but as of April 15th, we were able to resume the delivery of our returned book mail and our First Class mail. On our first day we received 20 hampers of books. We will be receiving our mail delivery daily and I will be going in three days a week to process First Class mail. Unfortunately, we are unable to send out any books at this time. We are all hopeful we can begin to return to work and start circulating books again on May 5th. The digital divide experienced by so many of our users, and the many, many voicemails begging for books we can’t send demonstrate what an essential service our patrons believe we are. As soon as we are given the all clear, we’ll be ready to be all hands on deck to get through all our returned materials and start sending out books again, so that all may read.

  • COVID-19 KeyNotes Blog Posts to Date

    COVID-19 KeyNotes Blog Posts to Date

    COVID-19 has thoroughly upended almost all of our "typical" workdays, routines, and daily lives. It's affected each of us in very different, but very substantial ways. This Spring brought changes to how Keystone and many of our libraries operated. We've seen shifts in patron service models, circulation policies, and staffing scheduling and environments. In the last month, some agencies began to open back up and deal with the repercussions of limited staff, quarantining materials, backlogged items waiting to check-in, etc. while others may be facing another shift as state reevaluate their plans to reopen with the newest surge of cases. No matter where your organization or staff are in this process, we're doing our best to continue supporting you. Yet, we also know we aren't the ones dealing with the day-to-day, and only others in similar circumstances can relate and offer the best advice for you at this time. Therefore, today I am taking some time to again share relevant COVID-19 related KeysNotes blog posts from our staff as well from other KLAS Users.

    The posts are in order from oldest to most recent.

    Keystone Authored KeyNotes COVID-19 Related Posts:


    • Important Coronavirus Info
    • Working Remotely Tips & Tricks
    • Working Remotely Tips & Tricks Part II
    • A Note from James, plus Tips & Tricks Part III
    • Tips & Tricks - Back to the Stacks

    Yet, we also know we aren't the ones dealing with the day-to-day, and only others in similar circumstances can relate and offer the best advice for you at this time. Therefore, here are the words of your colleagues written in response to our request for input about what policy and procedural changes they've made in response to this unprecedented shift in how we all function.

    KLAS Users Authored KeyNotes COVID-19 Related Posts:


    • COVID-19 and the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
    • COVID-19 and the Florida Braille and Talking Book Libraries
    • COVID-19 and New Mexico State Library, Library for the Blind & Print Disabled
    • COVID-19 and the California Department of Education Press
    • COVID-19 and State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service
    • COVID-19 and TN RCVI
    • COVID-19 and the Arizona Talking Book Library & Instructional Resource Center
    • COVID-19 and NC LBPH
    • Bonus Post


    In March, Keystone staff shared something a bit more lighthearted and published some of their favorite recipes to cook in their home kitchens while self-isolating. You can check them out in this post: Keystone Quarantine Kitchen

  • COVID-19 Updates

    COVID-19 Updates

    Previously, we've shared a number of guest blog posts on how COVID-19 is affecting KLAS libraries and resource centers. Since then, there has been plenty of re-opening, re-closing, and re-evaluating as each state and all of their associated agencies work to find the best course of action.

    We recently reached out to our original guest bloggers for an update on their situation. Read on to see how things have progressed in Washington, New Mexico, and Kansas.

    And if you would like to share how your library / organization is faring, and what policy, service, or other changes you have enacted in response to Covid19, we still welcome submissions from any KLAS user. Please contact Chandra Thornton, Past President, KLAS Users' Group or Drea Callicutt, Keystone Systems if you're interested in contributing a post.

    Sam Lundberg, New Mexico State Library for the Blind & Print Disabled

    I said in my original post that New Mexico would be able to hold at current levels, and that's basically what we've done. Books are going out and coming in, processed by two staff members who are never in the building at the same time. We're also answering the phone live thanks to call forwarding and Google Voice, providing full RA service from home. Small, random things like sending out a paper application are more difficult than they were before, but we're in a sustainable place.

    The only real change we've had is that we're finally wrapping up our conversion to DoD. After 9+ months of slowly transitioning patrons one conversation at a time, we're finally bulk converting our remaining patrons. It is very exciting to finally be going fully to Scribe for book delivery, although the fate of our carousel system is now very much an open question.

    (Read the original New Mexico post)

    Danielle Miller, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

    On June 2nd, our Governor approved a waiver request for the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library to begin circulating books and materials during Phase 1 of our “Safe Start” plan. On June 4th, we resumed circulation with four staff returning to work to join the director. We had over 40 mail bins of returned books and equipment that still needed to be checked in and thousands of patrons waiting for books. Working as a team, everything was checked in and everyone was served in record time. Circulation was operating normally, with all staff wearing PPE and following safety protocols. The director was still checking voicemail daily and responding to patrons, and most staff were still working remotely.

    When our county moved into Phase 2, on June 29th, more staff were able to return to the library. We were able to start answering the phones and resume regular readers’ advisory. Some staff continue to work from home and the library is still closed to the public and to volunteers. We are busy answering phones, circulating books, continuing work in our Audio and Braille Departments, and all staff at the library are helping with book inspection daily. We are looking forward to the time we can have all of our staff together and slowly bring our volunteers back. Ensuring everyone’s safety is the highest priority, and we want to do what we can to avoid another disruption in circulation.

    (Read the original Washington post)

    Michael Lang, State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service

    Present: Still Doing the Best that We Can

    We are still working with the model we implemented in April.

    The circulation staff and I are working on site. We are allowing returned books and machines to sit untouched for a minimum of three full days in our library before handled by staff. The good news is that mail is again being delivered and picked up at our building by the USPS. No more daily runs to the post office in my mother-in-law’s truck.

    RA staff are still working remotely; answering phone calls, emails, updating catalog records, editing audio, creating book lists, and looking for online continuing education opportunities. Our VOIP phones and splashtop connections are saving us from the early frustrations we were having. If there is something they need to do onsite, they can schedule a time with me to come in to work. They will return onsite fulltime when the following criteria have been met:

    • The ESU Memorial Union is open
    • Lyon County enters the phase out stage of Gov. Kelly’s Ad Astra recovery plan
    • The State of Kansas enters the phase out stage of Gov. Kelly’s Ad Astra recovery plan

    Our volunteer recording program is on hold until further notice. Circulation staff are recording our local magazines to keep them as current as possible.

    Cases are currently trending upward in Kansas. On July 15, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that public schools will not reopen until after Labor Day.

    Emporia State University buildings are scheduled to reopen to the public on August 3rd, masks will be required for everyone on campus. Students will return beginning August 12th. They’ve shut off the water fountains in our building.

    I feel like we’re managing to serve our patrons pretty well. The turnaround time is a little slower for books, but increasing cutoff limits for underserved patrons keeps most people in books. Most patrons have been very understanding. I think our biggest loss will be outreach. All outreach events for the year are cancelled. Trying to find new avenues to reach prospective patrons is difficult. If you’ve got any advice, we’d love the help.

    (Read the original Kansas post)

     

     

  • Customized Browse Tables

    You probably know that you can move and sort columns in basically any browse table in KLAS; however, did you know that it is also possible to add or remove columns as well?

    When you export a browse table, you have the option of exporting either Visible or All Fields. As that suggests, each browse table includes many columns that are usually hidden. KLAS Customer Support can adjust your library’s configuration, hiding or revealing these columns. While simply moving columns is sufficient for most situations, it affects only the specific user that made the change. A customized browse, on the other hand, affects all users at that branch.


    If there are columns that are never needed by your library, you could save the time and confusion of having every reader advisor move them to the far end of the table. For example, columns for the “local branch,” “main branch,” and “all branches” are useful for multi-branch systems, but single-branch systems only need one of the three.

    Even better than removing columns is the option to add columns. If there is a column in the “export all fields” results which you would like to be included in the table (for all users at your branch), Customer Support can make it visible. A few columns that libraries have requested are:

    Email Address in Patron Find


    If you send your newsletter by email or want to alert all patrons in a certain city to an event, you can make exporting the email list faster and easier by including patrons’ Email contact in the Patron Find.


    Title Status in Book Search


    If your Reader Advisors want quicker access to whether a book is Active, In-Process, or BARD Only, the Title Status column can be added to the Book Search Results.

    Have you noticed any columns in the “export all fields” results that your library would like to see in the visible fields? Have any visible columns been confusing your staff, and ought to be tucked away? Contact Ks7 to request a customized browse table—make sure to specify which browse you are working with, the column you need, and where you would like its default location to be. A screen cap is always helpful!

    And if a customized browse table is too much commitment (or hasn’t been approved by your supervisor), brush up on how to move and sort columns to make the best of what’s already there.

  • Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Update

    Disaster Preparedness & Recovery Update

    As thunder sounds over the Keystone offices and we enter peak hurricane season, it seems like a good time to revisit our Disaster Preparedness and Recovery procedures.

    We’ve posted about this before, and the 2018 Post is still applicable, so feel free to have a look back at that one. But technology is ever-evolving, and we’ve been keeping up. Here’s an overview of some changes:

    7.7 Procedures


    The back-end changes in KLAS version 7.7 mean that creating and restoring backups is a different process from 7.6. As 7.7 was being created, new procedures were researched, tested, and implemented to ensure that data would be well-maintained going forward.

    Cloud Storage


    We have increasingly been pivoting to storing back-ups in the cloud, so that they are safe and retrievable no matter where disaster strikes.

    Keeping that data secure and private is of course a high priority. We’ve also done extensive testing on the best methods for generating those backups and restoring them, so we can be confident that all the data is being kept, that it’s refreshed on the right schedule, and that we can get it back in place on our local servers ASAP if needed.

    Finally, those cloud servers need routine maintenance and updates. As we need more of them, that has made a lot more work for Lee, who keeps on top of regular system updates for all of our servers including the cloud-based ones. So, he has also implemented a new system that will allow him to enter commands or initiate updates in one place, and have them out to all of the cloud servers at once. (I wouldn’t mind something like that for my chores... imagine doing one load of laundry and when you’re done, two loads are clean!)

    New On-Call App


    Finally, our on-call staff have switched to a new monitoring app, ensuring that they will continue to be notified right away if something goes wrong with the servers and any emergencies can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

  • Donating For Good

    John Owen - Donating For Good - Covid19 Plasma

    It was only a matter of time. In December one of our own, John Owen, contracted COVID-19 and spent two weeks off of work fighting it. Thankfully he recovered and has not experienced any of devastating or long-term side effects.

    Troubled by the lack or therapeutics available to COVID patients John jumped at the chance to help one of the most vulnerable communities. As soon as he was able, he donated his plasma that now contains the antibodies that can help those who are critically ill have a better chance at recovery.

    John said this about his plasma donation:

    “I’ve done it once and found out that I can continue to donate plasma every seven days until my annual limit. One small needle prick and an hour in a recliner is nothing compared to the chance that my donations can help critically ill patients have a fighting chance at recovery. This disease is no joke, and I am so thankful that my wife and family have so far been spared.”

    Some photos John took during the donation procedure and of his "badge of honor" stickers. 

     John Owen Covid19 plasma donation

     John Owen Covid19 plasma donation

  • Downtime Update

    Downtime Update

    What a week!...and it’s only Tuesday.

    As I’m sure all of you know, one of our servers decided that 2020 was just too much for it and bit the dust on Monday morning. Our 7.7 customers dodged the worst of it--we’ve been moving everyone to newer servers as they migrate to the new version--and have seen little disruption. Unfortunately, the rest of you have had significant downtime, and we apologize.

    We attempted to resuscitate the server without success. At that point, our disaster recovery procedures went into effect: backups were recovered and our valiant IT and Dev team spent the rest of the day and night porting them to a new cloud server and getting everything rebuilt. Since then, we’ve been working with everyone to get VPNs pointing to the new server location, correcting settings to restore printing and reports, and doing a whole lot of troubleshooting. (All while Nancy is also running an Administrators Training.)

    Up next: finish getting all the WebOPACs and WebOrder systems back online and functioning normally.

    So, while we know this process hasn’t gone as quickly as hoped, please be assured that we are doing everything we can to get you back in business ASAP. Thank you all for your patience and assistance!

  • Duplication on Demand: What works best for you?

    Duplication on Demand: What works best for you?

    Many KLAS libraries are already wrestling with (or soon will be) the challenges of reduced space to house their collections and / or less circulation and support staff. With these issues and other in mind, we designed KLAS' Patron Centric Cartridge functionality to provide library staff with the ability to quickly select and reproduce a specific set of books onto a cartridge for a specific patron.

    While this works well for many libraries, we know this is not the best option for ALL organizations.

    In our discussions at Keystone, we have identified at least three different duplication on-demand workflow scenarios including two patron-centric and one title-centric:

    1. A single cartridge tied to a single patron which is reloaded with books for that patron each time it is returned.
    2. Cartridges that are loaded with titles based on a single patron's preferences but are not tied to one in particular. Rather, whichever cartridge is available at the time is loaded with the patron's books.
    3. Cartridges loaded according to inventory (Examples: The Harry Potter Series, Nonfiction titles added in the last 30 days, 1 year of Southern Living)

    Some questions we have as we prepare to move forward with providing additional duplication-on-demand functionality within KLAS are:

    1. Do any of these options appeal to your organization and how it operates more than another?
    2. What considerations do you think need to be made for each?
    3. What specific challenges and / or benefits do you think you may see from operating under each?

    Please share your answers / thoughts / feedback on the "Duplication on Demand: What works best for you?" klausers.com discussion forum thread.

  • Duplication Supplies

    Interested in moving to a Duplication on Demand service model, but not sure how you’ll get enough cartridges and other supplies? There’s help available! NLS is offering supplies to all network libraries that are willing to transition to zero copy allotment--whether they plan to implement Gutenberg or Scribe.

    Many of you have already heard about this and some have already put in their request, but please read on anyway—we’ve worked with NLS to make sure we’re accurately covering all the important details.

    On top of that, we’ve developed a worksheet to help you plan your implementation process, including when you will need additional supplies.

    Just the Facts

    When you are ready, you can order from NLS:

    • Up to half of your total need for cartridges and containers.

    (Total need is calculated based on 5 cartridges per active audio patron, so half works out to 2.5 cartridges and cases per active patron.)

    • Pre-printed cartridge and container labels with your library information


    In return, you will need to work towards full duplication service. NLS expects libraries to zero out their copy allotment within 12 months of implementing duplication on demand.

    Good Stuff to Know

    Be aware that your supplies will arrive in one shipment on pallets. This is intended to be a lifetime supply, so please be prepared for a large shipment proportional to your patron base.

    The cartridges will have the standard “white cartridge” passphrase, and will need to be reset to the peach passphrase using the NLS device, or using the Repurpose mode of the Gutenberg.

    NLS encourages libraries to repurpose cartridges and containers from their existing collections to make up the other half of their need, and they can loan Scribe libraries a stand-alone device that will unlock white cartridges for re-use. The cartridge is then re-locked with the peach passphrase, so it will continue to be protected. (Check out our Thursday Tip on High-Capacity Cartridges for the trick to easily identify the best cartridges to keep for duplication.)

    Timelines

    NLS can only get so many supplies ordered and distributed per month. Currently, they are asking for two month’s lead time.

    Being clear about your timeline and need will help NLS prioritize orders, as will holding off on requesting supplies if they will not be needed soon. NLS will also ask Keystone to confirm that we have an “authorized commitment” to proceed and a clear implementation schedule in place, so please coordinate with us before you make your request for duplication supplies to NLS.

    To help you estimate when supplies will be needed, and in what amounts, we have developed the attached worksheet. Take advantage of our experience with several implementations, and have a look! Of course, we know you may still have questions or need more help making your estimates, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for assistance.

    Worksheet

    The attached questionnaire is intended to help guide you through planning your implementation of a Duplication service model using Scribe or Gutenberg, including generating estimates of supplies needed for the initial stages, specific goals, and action items.

    It will be most useful before contacting NLS to order supplies.

  • Exciting News! Scribe to unlock NLS cartridges

    A key is inserted into an unlocked padlock.

    Keystone is excited to announce that we've signed an agreement with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) to allow our Scribe Duplication on Demand system to unlock the white, pre-loaded NLS cartridges for repurposing.

    Our developers have already begun working on adding this feature to KLAS and expect the initial release of this new functionality to be in the next month.

    We plan for the unlock process to be very simple. When you plug a cartridge in to the Scribe to duplicate onto it, the Scribe will check to see if the cartridge needs to be processed. If the cartridge is one the system hasn't seen before, it will process it, ensure we can unlock it, and then follow the NLS guidelines setting the passphrase to be consistent across the network for all repurposed NLS cartridges.

    For any cartridges that can't be processed as part of duplication, there will also be a separate mode which allows staff greater control, ensuring all cartridges can be processed and unlocked.

    We know this functionality is something our current and future Scribe libraries have been hoping for, and we're thrilled to now be able to bring it to you! Be on the lookout for a Weekly Wrap-up in the near future which will detail exactly which KLAS release includes the capability for Scribe to unlock ALL NLS cartridges. 

    Please be sure to let customer support know if you have any questions about the timeline or implementation process.

  • Future IRC User Relevant Events

    Future IRC User Relevant Events

    Today's KeyNotes blog post is all about upcoming IRC / IMC KLAS user-relevant events, including:

    • IRC KLAS Administrator Online Training
    • KLAS IRC / IMC Users' Group Session at the virtual APH 2020 Annual Meeting
    • 10/22/2020 KLAS IRC Users' Roundtable

    2021 KLAS Users' Conference

    Read on for more details about each of these...

    IRC KLAS Administrator Online Training 


    In September, we conducted our first online KLAS Administrator's Training session. Next week's blog post will share details and feedback about how it went. Before that, however, I want to share the news that we are planning to offer it again and want our next session to be IRC focused. The thing is... we need your help to figure out when to schedule it so it works best for those attending.

    The training is held over the course of a week, Monday through Thursday, with two sessions each afternoon (to allow participants to join from any time zone), and includes pre-class worksheets that we recommend filling out to prepare for each session and a printed Administrator's Reference manual which will be mailed to you. This training is limited to attendees who have a KLAS Administrator role, including the authority to change records and policies for their KLAS system. If you fit this description and wish to participate, please complete this short survey to help us determine the best time to offer it.

    Administrator training costs $600 per attendee, but the online format means that there is no longer any need for additional travel costs.

    KLAS IRC / IMC Users' Group at APH 2020 Annual Meeting


    We hope all IRC / IMC staff who registered for the virtual APH 2020 Annual Meeting plan to join us for the KLAS IRC / IMC Users' Meeting at 10 AM ET / 7 AM PT on Thursday, October 8. This year's session is limited to one hour because of the compressed conference schedule, so our plan is to:

    • present some highlights of what we've added to KLAS for IRCs, and what's coming next
    • share some news about upcoming IRC focused training
    • have a bit of time for Q&A

    10/22/2020 KLAS IRC Users' Roundtable


    10 22 2020 IRC Users RoundtableAdditionally, knowing the limited time we will have during the APH Conference, the KLAS Program Committee decided our next KLAS IRC Users' Roundtable will be held Thursday, October 22 at 3 PM ET / Noon PT. We're excited to announce that Jared Leslie, AZ IRC, will be moderating the session. We hope it will be an opportunity to continue the discussion on any topics we don't have time to fully address during the APH meeting, provide more time for users to share feedback and tips and tricks, and an additional opportunity to demo new features and functionality.

    • Log-in information will be posted to the KLASUsers e-list and in the "Upcoming Webinars & Roundtables" article approximately one week prior to the roundtable.

    2021 KLAS Users' Conference

    Finally, we want to remind you that we're are in the process of planning an in-person 2021 KLAS Users' Conference (with the knowledge that we need to be willing to adapt and change depending on the state of COVID-19). At this time, the plan is for it to be held at Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville from June 29-July 1, 2021. This will be our first biennial conference AND the first hosted by an Instructional Resource Center. Accommodations information will be available in the near future.

    We sincerely thank Dr. Kathy Segers, Director of Accessible Instructional Materials and Outreach Services, Tennessee School for the Blind for being willing to host for 2021 KLAS Users' Conference. We look forward to working with you to plan an informative, inspirational, and rewarding experience for all our attendees. The Program and Logistics Committees are already actively meeting with the goal of bringing you a well-planned conference offering opportunities for sharing great ideas and learning new ways to use KLAS to help improve the services your organization provides.

  • FYI for NLS Libraries - FY2020 Statistics

    FYI for NLS Libraries - FY2020 Statistics

    NLS has requested that we (and the other NLS providers) extract and submit some data for them to review. For each of our NLS Libraries, we will be providing NLS with the following statistical information on October 1.

    We will be generating these data files for NLS and submitting the information to NLS directly, so you don't need to do anything. We will also send a copy to each library, so you know what was sent to NLS and can review the data for your own information.

    Readership: a list of all patrons that received materials from the library during Fiscal Year 2020. The list will include the Patron PIMMS ID, whether they are marked Individual or Institution, and whether they received at least one of the following during FY 2020:

    • Digital Audio book
    • Hard Copy Braille book
    • E-Braille brook
    • or Network Library collection item

    Note that audio and hard copy braille readership activity includes both books circulated by the library and magazine subscriptions sent by NLS. Network library collections include large print books, descriptive videos, and local magazines. BARD download activity is not included, as NLS already has that information.

    Circulation: a count of all circulations this year broken out by library and by medium: Talking Books on Cartridge; Hard Copy Braille; and E-Braille on Cartridge. Circulation counts include counts for book/monograph circulation only. Local magazines/serials sent on cartridge are not part of these counts.

    Note that Audio circulations are a count of the number of titles sent on cartridge instead of the number of cartridges sent. Hard copy braille circulations count the number of volumes sent, e-braille is the number of titles sent.

    A note about the Readership & Circulation Report: Be aware that the number of people in the Readership list we provide to NLS probably will not match the total from your Readership & Circulation report. The R&C report total includes all accounts that you have updated that year, even if they did not receive something. With that in mind, if you have questions about how these lists do and do not line up with your R&C report, please let us know.

  • Getting Smart about Series

    A bookshelf containing the Chronicles of Narnia series, surrounded by other books.

    This is a guest post by Sam Lundberg - Reader Advisor for the New Mexico State Library for the Blind & Print Disabled, and current President of the KLAS Development Advisory Committee.

    We’ve had a lot of interest recently from across the community for Nightly AutoSelect to be more “series smart,” and not send book 3 in a series before a patron has had book 1.  I’m among the chorus that’s been asking for this since the beginning of DoD, but I think it is worth talking about exactly how we want this to work.  There are a lot of different ways that Nightly could be series smart, each with a different impact on the patron experience.

    I’m going to lay out a few of the ways that I’ve thought of, along with advantages and possible drawbacks. I’d love to hear what others have been thinking on this subject, and I’m sure Keystone would appreciate knowing exactly what we want, rather than a vague mission to make it better.

    As a preface, I have no idea how practical any of these solutions are from a programming side.  I’ve tried to lay out specific rules that an algorithm could follow, but that doesn’t mean they would be easy, or even possible, to put in place.  Some of these rules may also bog Nightly down to a crawl, requiring more time to run each night.  This is a thought exercise to figure out exactly what we, as a community, want, rather than a menu of actual possibilities.

    Option 1 

    1a) “First in the series only”

    • When Nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “series sequence” field and excludes any book with a value greater than 1.

    This is basically what is accomplished by libraries that use a “Sequel” subject code.  Autoselect wouldn’t send out any sequels, which would exclude a large number of books from popular authors who write primarily or exclusively series. For context, I just ran a query and found that 321 of the 564 mystery titles we’ve added this year have a series sequence between 2 and 999.

    Since this would be based on a Nightly setting, it would be library-wide rather than patron by patron.  However, if KLAS also adds the ability to customize Nightly Functions by Serve Code, you could create an “AutoSelect No Sequels” serve code and an “AutoSelect All” serve code and select the appropriate one for each patron.

    1b) “First or next in series only”

    • When Nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “series sequence” field and excludes any book with a value greater than 1 UNLESS the patron has a “HasHad” for the previous book in the series..

    Like 1a, except that subsequent books in a series can be sent if the patron is caught up in that series.  This would help increase the available possible selections for series-heavy genres like Mystery.  However, there is no mechanism for a patron to catch up on a series once they have missed a book, or for new patrons to get started on a long-standing series, without a specific request or Series preference.


    Option 2

    2a) “Not this book, but this series”

    • When Nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “series” field and instead sends out the earliest book in that series not marked as “Has Had”.

    The idea here is that, instead of sending out book 7 in a series, Nightly would go back and send out book 1 (or book 5 if the patron had the first four books already).  This method would ensure that patrons are still able to access series books, but will always do so in order.

    However, because the book Nightly initially found isn’t being sent out, there is no “Has Had” record added to that title, so Nightly will keep finding that book and sending books from that series over and over and over.  How much of a problem this is will be very contextually dependent.  If you use “Latest First” service for Subject, the books Nightly finds will change constantly.  

    But if you use “Earliest First” and don’t update your KLAS ID Ranges often, then nightly will check the same books every time.  For instance, if your KLAS ID range starts at DB090000, Nightly will find Joanne Fluke and Stuart Woods at 90001 & 90002 respectively, so patrons with a mystery Subject preference would receive those entire series in rapid succession under this scheme.  And given the prevalence of this sort of long-standing series, patrons may receive a large number of older titles as they are bumped back 20, 30, 50 books in a series.

    2b) “Not this book, but where I left off this series”

    • When nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “Series” field, locates the item with the highest series sequence in that series with a “Has Had” record, and sends the next book.

    2a would fill in gaps if a patron skipped books or started with book 15. 2b wouldn’t fill in gaps, but would select the next book after the highest numbered book the patron has read.

    For example, if a patron has read books 1, 2, 4, and 8 in a series and Nightly wants to send them book 10, 2a would instead send book 3, while 2b would send out book 9.


    Option 3

    3a) “Not this book, but this series, but not too often”

    • When Nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “series” field and instead sends out the earliest book in this series not marked as “Has Had” UNLESS a book in this series is already in the Service Queue or a pending order, in which case Nightly will skip this title and series.

    See Option 2, except that the frequency of a series being sent is gated by the length of the service queue, rather than the frequency the queue is refilled.  If the patron’s service queue is 30 books long, you know there will be at least 30 books between each book in a series.  However, this makes more sense for long running series than for short trilogies.  I could see wanting to have different behaviors based on the length of the series, but that is getting complicated to keep track of.  Keep in mind, this only applies to Subject and possibly Author.  Books selected by Series, Request or Reserve would not have this same gating.

    3b) “Not this book, but this series, but not too often, and picking up where I left off”

    • When nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “Series” field and instead sends out the next book after the highest number book in the series marked as “Has Had”, or book 1 if the patron has not read any books in the series.  UNLESS a book in this series is already in the service queue or a pending order, in which case nightly will skip this title and series.

    Like 2b, this option just differentiates between filling in the gaps in a series or continuing from the highest numbered book a patron has read.


    Option 4

    4) “This book and this entire series”

    • When nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the “Series” field and queues all unread books in that series.

    This could work well for shorter series, especially trilogies with a tight story, but would create a very hit-or-miss situation when dumping an entire 20+ book series.  As with 2b, I worry that having a cutoff point for different behaviors would create confusion and unexpected outcomes.  I think it would be possible to catalog our way out of this problem, flagging series as either a tight story or as episodic/procedural, but that isn’t something every library, including NM, could commit to.  This rule would also need to differentiate between sequence 0 books (which are often more a collection and less a series) and numbered series. 

    Practically, I don’t think this could work as the default option given the sheer quantity of long-running series, but I could see this as an alternative that specific patrons would want to opt-in to.


    Option 5

    5) “Just care about what is in the Queue now”

    • When Nightly picks a title by Subject, it checks the Service Queue for any books in the same Series.  If another book in the queue is in the same Series and has a higher Series Sequence, the new book is placed ahead of the book already in the queue, rather than at the end.

    Basically, if Nightly is trying to add book 2, and book 3 is already in the queue, book 2 is slotted just ahead of book 3, rather than at the end of the queue.  This would only address the issue of patrons being sent books out of order in immediate proximity, such as when several books in a series are added at once by the NLS.  Limited potential help but also limited potential harm.


    So what option (listed above or something else entirely) would you want?  

    A big consideration is do we want this to be patron-by-patron?  Or do we want it to be library-wide?  And what do we want to be the default behavior vs. the opt-in behavior?  Should this apply only to Subject selections, or Author as well?

    Personally, I’m in favor of option 3b “Not this book, but this series, but not too often”.  I think it addresses the core problem of books being sent out of order while avoiding any big drawbacks.  It isn’t perfect, and will be clunky for short series, but that’s what Author Preferences and Reader Advisors are for.  That said, I’m sure there are all sorts of circumstances I’m not accounting for that should be considered.

    What are your thoughts?  How, exactly, do you want Nightly to be series smart?

  • Guiding Us Forward

    Guiding Us Forward

    Our developers have been very busy lately, implementing Gutenberg, ironing out eCommerce, and gearing up to start converting IRC / IMC customers to version 7.7, among other things.

    But amidst all of that, we’re still listening for your feedback—and even relying on it more than ever!

    So here are a few notes on how you are helping guide us forward.

    1. KDAC (KLAS Development Advisory Committee


    KDAC has some new members! A big welcome to Sam Lundberg of New Mexico Talking Book Library and Shawn Lemieux of New York State Talking Book & Braille Library, and thank you so much for lending us some of your time!

    So, what goes on in a KDAC meeting? We spend a lot of the timesharing what we’ve been working on that month (making your KDAC representatives a great source of “insider information” about what we’ve been up to), as well as our plans and expectations about what’s coming up next. Through all of that, we’re listening to their feedback and taking notes about what they think of new features, what questions they think need to be addressed, and their suggestions on prioritization.

    We also frequently have questions for them: should we pursue Option A or Option B to fix a specific issue? How can we make this or that easier? If we did things this way, would that cause any problems for you?

    KDAC has been a big help in steering and refining our development, so I’m especially excited to find out what the new voices will bring to the table this year.

    (Want to learn more about KDAC, view a list of all current members, or review the new guidelines? It’s all in the KDAC Article.)

    2. Webinars & Other Non-Conference Stuff


    I’ve been happy to do several Q&A webinars with the Users’ Group, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback (thank you all so much!)... but I don’t want mine to be the only voice you hear.

    Are there topics you want to hear about, or something you’d like to share? Whether it’s a new initiative at your library, your experiences implementing Duplication on Demand, or a discussion focused on a specific area of KLAS (like Serials or Accounts), we want to hear your topic ideas!

    If you’d rather collaborate with another user or a Keystone expert, don’t hesitate to suggest it anyway; we’d be happy to help out or help you find someone who can.

    A very easy way to weigh in on all this is to fill out the 2019 KLAS Users' Conference Follow-up Survey! Yes, even if you didn’t attend the 2019 conference!

    If you’ve completed the survey and think of something new, or something that didn’t fit in the form, you are also very welcome to email us at Keystone or any of your Users’ Group officers, or you can post about it on the Discussion Forums.

    However you go about it, thank you for helping guide us and making KLAS and your Users’ Group better and better!

  • Gutenberg is Coming!

    For this week's Key Note, I wanted to highlight a reply that James Burts recently posted to the forums--it's exciting news and we don't want you to miss it!

    "We will be adding support for Gutenberg from KLAS. Time will tell if Scribe has any purpose beyond being a valuable testbed for our duplication efforts, but we have certainly heard loud and clear that you all want us to integrate KLAS with Gutenberg.

    However, in order to be able to do this, there are some foundational parts that must be in place first. The biggest and most important of them is what we are calling the "Duplication Queue". The Duplication Queue is just what the name implies-- a prioritized list of titles to be duplicated to cartridges. We are adding to the nightly routines to make sure every patron's Duplication Queue is automatically filled with books that the patron would want. This automatic selection will function with similar rules as the current nightly auto-select to allow KLAS to pick books to be added to the duplication queue, but with a few very important differences from what nightly currently does.

    1. The duplication queue will be books that the system has selected in advance.
      • The system re-fills the queue the night after a patron receives a duplicated cartridge.
      • Once titles are on a patron's duplication queue, entries can be added, re-prioritized, or deleted whenever you want. This will allow the RA's (or the patron themselves) to modify the items queue as they want--- like you can adjust the items in your NetFlix wishlist.
    1. The selection of items in the duplication queue will be based on the full BARD collection, not just the titles you have available in inventory (which is how the current nightly programs operate).
      • We are basically needing to create a process very similar to our nightly selection routines, but with some significant differences. The two processes are having to be somewhat aware of each other, and make sure they don't step on each other's toes. (for a simple example, if a patron returns a cartridge and is now due for service, we don't want both systems sending both a book from inventory/turnaround as well as a cartridge from Duplication on Demand.) Weaving these systems around each other is the cause of much of the difficulty in the Duplication Queue.


    Having the automated selection of books for the duplication queue is a huge step. It takes away the current need to manually click the "Serve Patron" button, and pick the books that will be written to a cartridge. Having a manual step to select books would severely hamper the ability for Duplication on Demand to scale to support a collection-free workflow."

    We want to make sure that KLAS' Gutenberg integration doesn't just work, but works well. That means a smooth workflow for selecting titles and duplicating the cartridges, and it also means tracking what actually happened at each step along the way. As part of our integrating with Gutenberg, we will be making sure that enough information is recorded to be able to track down issues, troubleshoot bugs, and answer patrons' questions, such as "Why didn't I get this title?" and "What was on that cartridge?"

    The developers are hard at work, and we expect that the Duplication Queue should be finished in late September / October. Then they will work on tying that piece into the Gutenberg itself, which could take another couple of months. The current estimate is that they should be done sometime in December / January.

    We expect to deliver a robust process that will work with Gutenberg (or other hardware) to provide your patrons with the right titles at the right time--with the right amount of work needed to run it.

    In the meantime, please continue to contact us with your questions, workflow preferences, and suggestions!

  • Happy Holidays from Keystone

    Happy Holidays from Keystone

    We wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season! May you in find joy and warmth in the holiday lights and comfort knowing a new year is just around the corner! From our homes to yours...here's to a cheerful holiday and a fresh 2021!

    Our office will be closed Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, 2020 in observance of Christmas. Regular support hours will resume on Monday, December 28, at 8:00 AM ET. The office will also be closed on Friday, January 1, 2021 for New Year's. Regular support hours will resume on Monday, January 4, at 8:00 AM ET.

    If you need to arrange special support hours for these days, please call or e-mail us as soon as possible.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Well, it's going to be an unusual holiday season this year, but may you all find some joy and celebration. Even more importantly, we hope you and your loved ones stay healthy.

    In these difficult times, we're grateful to be here for all of you. We have a fantastic users' community, and we're looking forward to supporting you through the winter and hopefully to brighter and easier days ahead.

  • Happy Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Happy Thanksgiving, KLAS users!

    This fall, we're very thankful for YOU, and I'd like to do some specific thanks-giving:

    Thank you to everyone who reads our blog posts, social media feeds, or Thursday Tips on the forum. You help us to feel connected to our community. You help keep me learning new things to share with you, and when you reply — with a question, an addition, even just pointing out a typo -- you let me know you really are out there. You are all so valuable! I hope you will all stick around with us, and let us know if there's anything we post you want to see more of!

    Also, thank you to everyone who volunteers their time and expertise to keep the KLAS Users' Group running. From our amazing officers to our hard-working conference committees to our intrepid KDAC members: we couldn't have a Users' Group without you, and KLAS would be worse off for it in so many ways. We are truly grateful for all of your efforts — and I'm particularly thankful that I get to work with you!

    Finally, thank you to the early adopters! Those brave souls who volunteer to help us field test new versions and new features help us provide a better, more stable KLAS to everyone. For example, North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped's support of the Scribe's development and their ongoing testing will ensure we will get high-capacity duplication implemented on schedule. With their help, we will be able to develop and support both Scribe and Gutenberg with a KLAS workflow that really works because they've spent the time, effort, and frustration putting the Alpha version through its paces.

    So, here's one more great big "Thank You!" to each and every one of you, from me and from all of us here at Keystone.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Hot off the Press: Part 1

    Hot off the press

    Welcome to the "Hot off the Press" blog series from guest blogger, Teresa Kalber. Teresa is the Network Systems Administrator at Colorado Talking Book Library. In this series, she will be sharing her library's experience being one of the first two KLAS libraries to implement NLS' Gutenberg equipment.

    Hot off the Press: Part 1

    A little delayed, but as promised we are sharing our experience of converting over to Gutenberg duplication as our main circulation method. This first installment will cover our pre-planning steps.

    Our Director has been excited about using duplication on demand since she first heard about it. Knowing this and also knowing our KLAS server was reaching end of life and would not support KLAS 7.7, I began conversations with both our IT department and Keystone as early as December 2018 with a plan to have our server replaced by June 2019. I also started discussions with our security officer and our network administrator about DoD to ensure we would be able to use the equipment on our network without issues.

    In May 2019, we found out we had been chosen to be the self-hosted pilot site for Gutenberg integration with KLAS. Our IT department had set-up a new virtual server for me and agreed to allow Keystone to submit an image to be placed on the server to run KLAS. Their caveat was that they would not provide support since the software didn’t conform to standards. Since they have never provided support for our servers anyway, I didn’t see this as a problem.

    Things we needed to think about between finding out about the pilot and getting the Gutenberg equipment in September:

    • Placing an order for additional mail cards beyond what NLS provides
    • Preparing cartridges and containers to use for DoD
      • Placing labels on unused cartridges and containers
      • Stripping labels from used cartridges and containers and replacing with new labels
    • Notification of patrons – we did a blurb in our newsletter and that was our only notification to patrons.
    • Selecting patrons for the pilot (if you do one)
    • When to start new patrons on DoD (we started new patrons when we started the pilot)
    • When to zero out copy allotment so no new books come
    • How to cut-over patrons once the pilot is complete
    • Initial default number of books on a cartridge and default number of cartridges (We used 10 books/3 cartridges per patron as our default)

    Both NLS and Keystone have documents of things to consider during planning stages. NLS also has a great overview of the necessary IT requirements. Once I received this document, I forwarded it to our Security Officer and Network Administrator to ensure there would be no problems in using the Gutenberg equipment on our network. I think opening these lines of communication early helped the process go more smoothly.

    We were finally able to convert to KLAS 7.7 on August 19, 2019. This gave us about a month to iron out any issues before receiving our equipment from NLS on September 20th.

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