Automation

INFOhio Library Automation

INFOhio provides an integrated library system with a suite of products and tools to provide the best library user experience for Ohio’s PreK-12 students and teachers. The materials below are for anyone automated with INFOhio or considering automating with INFOhio and using SirsiDynix, INFOhio's integrated library system software.

Learn more about the BLUEcloud Library Services Platform with this flyer.

Make the most of the applications in the BLUEcloud Library Services Platform by completing the classes in INFOhio's BLUEcloud Learning Pathway.

INFOhio delivers support for its integrated library system through INFOhio Providers at each local ITC. Most ITCs have additional planning guides to assist their customers, including any specific equipment recommendations.

INFOhio Supports Remote Learning

If you are wondering what administrative library tasks you can and should do while schools are meeting remotely and preparing to dismiss for the summer, please visit the section below on Library Administration During Remote Learning and contact your INFOhio Provider.

For more information on how INFOhio supports remote learning, please see our Remote Learning FAQ and Keep Calm and Carry On with INFOhio.

Resources for Schools Automated with INFOhio

Weeding Tips

Library Administration During Remote Learning

If you are wondering what administrative library tasks you can and should do while schools are meeting remotely and preparing to dismiss for the summer, contact your INFOhio Provider. Your INFOhio Provider can help you with these tasks and more! To learn more about each of these items, please click the link:

Working with Administration to Arrange for the Return of Library Materials

With the announcement that Ohio’s students will not be returning to the classroom for the remainder of the school year, you might wonder what is the best method for getting materials returned to the library. While there is no “one size fits all” approach as each district and building is different, here are some ideas that may help alleviate the potential loss of materials. The main goal of any policy should be to keep patrons and library personnel as safe as possible.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to reach out to your administrators (Principals, Superintendents, Boards of Education, etc.) and begin to work on a plan together for a procedure to return materials or even a plan to prolong checkouts throughout the summer.

Here are some options and suggestions to think about and bring up in any meetings you have with school policymakers.

Option 1: Permit materials to be returned, but don’t require it. This would involve extending due dates through the summer. Carts or bins could be placed in and around the school building for collection purposes.

Option 2: Require everyone to return materials at the end of the school year. Collection procedures would need to be put in place, protecting those returning materials and handling the materials.

Option 3:
 Only require seniors (and those leaving the school system) to return materials. Seniors could be required to return materials before receiving their diploma or they could be waived for any missing materials. All other patrons would be given an extended due date with materials being returned in the fall.

Option 4:
 Require those leaving a school building to return materials. This would include not only seniors but also those moving from one school to another. All other patrons would be given an extended due date with materials being collected in the fall.

Option 5:
 Return certain types of materials but not others. Does your library circulate Chromebooks or other types of equipment? What about textbooks? These are costly items that you may want to inventory, sanitize, and/or repair before fall. Other items, like books or magazines, could continue to be checked out to patrons until the fall.

Option 6: Because of closures, maybe the school library is open periodically throughout the summer to gather materials or even continue to circulate materials.

While this is a small sample of ideas and suggestions, they can help you begin to plan your own policies and procedures. Please contact your INFOhio Provider with any questions or to discuss any of these options further.

ALA and CDC Recommendations for Library Materials that have been Returned

What is the safest way to handle materials that are returned to the library? How can you ensure that the materials leaving the library are safe to send with children into their homes?

ALA’s Pandemic Preparedness page provides library-specific policy suggestions and more universal resources such as guidelines from the CDC.  Please visit http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/pandemic-preparedness to learn how you can protect yourself, your library patrons, and your library materials during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also during seasonal influenza outbreaks.

Work with your school administrators to identify book carts (or other carts), and storage totes to be used when materials are returned to maintain social distancing recommendations. Additionally, be prepared to store materials in a secured room for 5 to 14 days before allowing them to circulate again. Of course, you should wash your hands or use sanitizer regularly, both before and after handling materials, to minimize the spread of the virus.

Additional Guidelines:

ALA Guidelines: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/how-to-sanitize-collections-covid-19/

Institute of Library and Museum Services Guidelines: https://www.imls.gov/news/covid-19-research-partnership-inform-safe-handling-collections-reopening-practices-libraries

CDC Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html

Curbside Circulation: Supporting the Curriculum with Library Materials when Students are Learning Remotely

One current concern is related to the return of library materials. That concern is certainly understandable, but don’t forget that a primary focus of the library is supporting the curriculum. The education of students has certainly changed during the last few months, but our mission of providing them with the best education possible has not.

As Ohio is gradually re-opening businesses, perhaps your library is now going to focus on getting more materials into the hands of students, especially those who are having connectivity issues. If your library is planning to continue circulating materials, contact your INFOhio Provider to discuss policies and procedures. Examples:

  • Some libraries are using the “Holds” feature to encourage students to select materials that are needed but using this feature might require adjustments to policies to allow holds on currently available items. 
  • Other libraries are simply accepting voice mail messages to retrieve items from the shelf, check the items out to the students or staff, and arranging for pickup the same time that lunches are being distributed. Using the Special Due Date Helper as items are checked out can be beneficial in such cases.

(Learn more about Holds or the Special Due Date Helper in Check Out Items by visiting https://www.infohio.org/library/workflows-handbook/category/handbook-circulation)

Reminding Students About Outstanding Library Materials

Has your school system established procedures for students to return school-owned materials? You can use an INFOhio report and the WorkFlows software to email students and parents to remind them what is checked out.

By default, the INFOhio report “CIR: Overdues and Notices” reports on items that are overdue. However, by adjusting the report settings, it can include everything that is currently checked out and contain a custom message with the date, time, and location of where materials can be returned. Be sure to work with school administration to establish the policies for your school.

For many schools, student and parent email addresses are imported from the school information system (ProgressBook, PowerSchool, Infinite Campus, etc.) into Symphony. This gives WorkFlows the ability to generate notifications as an email message on behalf of the library staff. It is recommended that you run the “PAT: List Users” report found on the INFOhio tab of the reports section of scheduled to confirm that email addresses have been populated for your students.

Finally, you will need to inform your technology staff to ensure that email generated from sirsi@itc.infohio.org will not be blocked by the school’s email filtering system. If you need assistance setting up the reports for your library, please contact your INFOhio Provider.

Preparing for the Start of the 2020/21 School Year: Changing Policies To Be More Lenient 

Even though you are focusing on the last few weeks of the school year, you are encouraged to also look ahead to start of next school year.

When circulating materials to students in the fall you will likely encounter students that have items checked out from the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, you could be faced with entering the over-ride code for many checkouts.

Consider having your library circulation policies temporarily changed to:  

  • Allow students to have additional items to be checked out at one time.
  • Allow students to not be blocked when they have overdue items. Alternatively, change the due dates of materials still checked out to be due in mid-September.

These settings can be modified to make checking out items easier at the start of the school year and later switched back to the original settings once your students have had time to return materials from the 2019-2020 school year. It is strongly encouraged that a district-wide policy be established to make the process easier to communicate with staff, students, and parents.

As you work with school administration to establish the policies, contact your INFOhio Provider to implement the changes on your behalf.

Value of Items Currently Checked Out

Library staff have expressed a concern that they might be asked to not worry about collecting the items that are in the possession of students. School administrators might feel it is in everyone’s best interest to simply absorb the cost associated with the items, but they should have all of the facts before making such a decision.

The INFOhio report called “Value of Collection”  can be used to report the value of items that are currently checked out of the library. This report will give your administration valuable data regarding how much it will cost the school system if they make the decision to not actively pursue the return of library materials, and how it might impact the library budget as a result.

If you or your administration would like other details to help with the decision-making process, please reach out to your INFOhio Provider to learn what other information can be shared.

Suspending Reports

Running reports is part of our daily routine, but some reports should be suspended promptly. In particular, reports that generate overdue notices and reports that impact holds should be suspended.

To suspend any of your own reports, including overdues and notices, you can do the following:

Go to the Scheduled Reports within WorkFlows, select the Suspend… option. Select all reports to be suspended. You will notice that the scheduled report is then boldfaced to indicate it is suspended. When ready to resume the report, you can again go to Scheduled Reports but this time select the suspended report before selecting Advanced… where you will have an opportunity to unsuspend the report and set the next time the report is to run. Brief instructions are also included in the Schedule Reports guide in the WorkFlows Handbook. You can contact your INFOhio Provider to assist you with this process as well.

Even if your school system does not regularly use holds, your INFOhio Provider will still have some holds-related reports running on their administrative side, including those that expire holds. To help prioritize tasks, please let your Provider know promptly if your school system uses holds functionality and your Provider will suspend holds-related reports accordingly.

Installing and Using WorkFlows at Home

School systems are each establishing their own guidelines in regard to whether school staff can be in the building. If asked to work from home, can you use WorkFlows on your home PC or Mac? The answer is Yes!

To install WorkFlows on your home computer, do the following:

  1. Go to this page of the INFOhio WorkFlows Handbook.
  2. Look for the INSTALLATION column where you will find Installation instructions.
  3. Click the version you need (Mac or PC).
    a. Click the Download link to download the WorkFlows installation files.
    b. There is also an accompanying Guide with step-by-step instructions.
  4. When you install you will also need to know the following:
    a. IP Address (server name): itcname.infohio.org
    b. Port number: contact your Provider for this
    c. Your username and password
  5. Finally, if you need to print barcode labels don't forget to download and install the Free3of9.ttf barcode font from this same handbook page.

Collection Development and Weeding

Whether you are working from home or are permitted to be in the school, you might consider reviewing your collection:

  • Which titles are not circulating and deserve to be promoted when students return, or possibly weeded? 
  • Which titles have been used so often that acquiring additional copies is justified?
  • How many items do you have that are considered LOST or in REPAIR?
  • Which items on the shelves do not have an associated price?

There are a number of entries in the Favorite Reports section of the WorkFlows handbook that can assist with answering these questions. Take a few moments to review them here.

If you have any questions about which reports might best meet your needs, do not hesitate to reach out to your INFOhio Provider. 

Using the BLUEcloud Learning Pathway

Have you had an opportunity to explore the BLUEcloud interface? If you have some downtime, explore all of the INFOhio Learning Pathways that are part of INFOhio Campus, including the BLUEcloud Learning Pathway.

The BLUEcloud Learning Pathway includes classes on Circulation and Cataloging (with an ISearch class coming soon!).

As you explore the learning pathway and are ready to give BLUEcloud a try with your own database, contact your INFOhio provider to request set up and access to the BLUEcloud environment.

If you do not have time available but are interested in learning more about the BLUEcloud suite of products, consider reviewing the flyer available here.

Linking to INFOhio Resources

To use most INFOhio resources, students need to start with the INFOhio website so they can be properly authenticated. To link to specific INFOhio resources on a school website, use the URLs you see on INFOhio's Resource Links page. If you are helping colleagues with links, please point them to INFOhio's Resource Links page rather than pointing colleagues directly to LMS links that contain "passthru" in the string. LMS links may not behave as expected.

Logging Into the INFOhio Website

Most students will not need to manually log into the INFOhio website from home; we can log most Ohio users in automatically using cookies and geolocation. However, to help those users who may be using a mobile device or security software that does not allow IP recognition, share your district's INFOhio username and password with students and parents. For students receiving print materials, consider printing your INFOhio username and password on these customizable labels and sticking them on papers or devices your students will be using at home.

If you don't know your district's INFOhio username and password, you can look it up here: https://www.infohio.org/login.

INFOhio has additional staff responding to username and password requests during this time. Username and password requests are automatically generated when a user tries to log in and isn't automatically recognized.

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