Let's Talk about Fulfillment (I mean Alma, not life's purpose) 3/18/2022

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Friday, March 18, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Friday, March 18, from 2:00-3:30 central.

Sessions are scheduled for every other week, alternating between Tuesday mornings at 10:30am and Friday afternoons at 2pm.
Additional sessions of "Let's talk about Fulfillment (I mean Alma, not life's purpose)" are scheduled/have occurred.

Discussion and Q & A

  • Pending release update for known issue: "Alma problems with expired holds when items not 'transited' as Alma expects"
    • Ex Libris has let us know that this issue has been fixed and is scheduled to be part of the May 2022 release.
  • A patron reports that they received a book they didn't request- what should we do?
    • CARLI has a support ticket open with Ex Libris based on another report of this from another I-Share library.
    • Please send any additional examples to CARLI Support and we can add them to our ticket with Ex Libris.
    • Update- At some point in the request process, Alma made a second request for a non-requested title for the patron, but the patron's "real" request did stay active and the patron typically did receive the correct title they had requested (plus then a random bonus book). Ex Libris support has confirmed that they are also able to see this issue and development is looking into why that "bonus" request is being generated.
  • Is anyone using the booking request feature in Alma?
    • From what we've heard at CARLI support, 3-4 libraries have set it up and tested it.
      • COD, in a limited way for faculty to ask staff to place booking requests for a subset of their collection.
        • COD staff on call: We have equipment in LibCal, but for videos we are using the booking feature in Alma (but staff places the booking for them - patrons to not use directly).
      • TIU, tested for using to book study rooms (but decided to use LibCal instead for that particular purpose - easier for patrons to understand).
      • SIM is using it.
        • SIM staff on call: We set ours up, but not for patron use. The staff uses this for equipment booking requests (this was on paper before and we wanted it to be in Alma). We created a collection that just has equipment so they can see what we have if they are not on-site. Plus resource recommenders.
      • Lincoln Christian was also interested, but currently not sure of status.
    • Have you found a way to put a limit in for a certain kind of item per patron (what if you wanted one camcorder per patron, not one of each camcorder)?
      • There is a way to limit the number of charged items of a specific item type that a patron can have at a time, but that limit does not extend to bookings- it is for loans only.
        • You can limit the total number of Bookings that a patron can place, just not by item type.
          • This setting for limiting the total number of bookings is in Alma Configuration> Fulfillment> Patron Configurations> Patron Limits> Max. Bookings value.
      • The way to configure loan limits depends on how the items are cataloged.
        • If all items are on the same Bib:
          • You can adjust the "Parallel Loans" limit in the TOU that governs the transaction to prevent parallel loans.
        • If items of same type are on different Bibs:
          • If all of the items can be set to use a specific item policy, such as in this example, an item policy of "Camcorder" then in Alma Configuration> Fulfillment> Patron Configurations> Loan Limits, you can create rules to establish a limit based on item policy.
    • Alma does not send the patron a confirmation email when something is booked
  • Questions about Blocks in Alma
    • If I turn a block on in Alma configuration, will it be retroactive?
      • It depends on which type of block you are considering:
        • Threshold block:
          • Threshold blocks for certain types of activity/delinquency can be defined by patron group. Once a patron surpasses the threshold, further activity is blocked; either further loans in case of delinquency or further actions in case of activity limits.
          • These are set in Alma Configuration> Fulfillment> Patron Configurations> Patron Limits.
          • These blocks, once enabled, look at the patron's current activity/delinquency in relation to the limit once the settings are saved.
            • So for example:
              • If you adjust the limit for the Faculty user group to have a Max Cash limit of $10, as soon as you save the settings, any Faculty owing more than $10 will need an override to complete additional loans.
              • If you adjust the limit for the Faculty user group to have a maximum of 4 concurrent digitization requests, and the Faculty member already has 4> placed, they will be unable to place additional requests until they are again below the new limit.
        • Overdue block:
          • As part of the overdue notification process, it is possible to have a block applied to a user's record at the time that the item reaches the overdue delinquency determined in the profile.
          • These are set in Alma Configuration> Fulfillment> Physical Fulfillment> Overdue and Lost Loan Profiles.
            • These overdue blocks can only be set in the overdue profiles; they cannot be assigned in the Lost profiles.
            • When the item subsequently is set to Lost by a lost profile, the overdue block is removed by Alma.
            • For more information on setting up these blocks, please contact .
              Some documentation is available in the documentation Alma: Overdue and Lost Loan Rules and Letters, with associated configuration settings under the section heading "Step 1: Setting up User Block Definitions and Descriptions."
          • These blocks are applied for users as items become overdue as governed by the Overdue profile.
        • Manually applied block:
    • I added a manual block for an I-Share patron who has lost an item from my library.  Does this block affect the patron's ability to borrow through I-Share, or is this block only valid in our library?
  • Lost and Overdue Notices- how can staff get copies and be notified when notices go out to patrons?
    • There are several options:
    • CC/BCC for each letter:
      • In the configuration for each letter in Alma, there is a BCC and a CC field included on the labels tab.
      • If you enter an email address into that field, that email address will receive a copy of that specific letter.
      • If the email address is for an email-enabled paper printer, if configured correctly with your IT department, the email-enabled printer should be able to print a copy of the letter when it receives the email.
    • For Overdue/Lost letters specifically:
      • In each overdue and lost loan profiles, there is an option to to choose whether to "Mail" aka email the letter directly to the user, to "Print" aka send to an Alma printer, or "Both" to both email the patron and send a copy to a printer as defined in Alma.
      • The CARLI Office recommends choosing either "Mail" or "Both" so that the patron is receiving an emailed version of the letter.
        • If the printer as set up in Alma is an email-enabled paper printer, then "Both" should send a copy to the patron, and if configured correctly with your IT department, the email-enabled printer should be able to print a copy of the letter when it receives the email.
        • If the paper printer is not email-enabled, then you can set up an Alma Print Queue as a printer, and then staff with the Print Queue Manager/Operator role can go in and release the print jobs to the paper printer.
  • What do "Move Permanently" and "Move Temporarily" mean in the Configuration> Fulfillment> Request Pick Up Configuration?
    • In Alma, you have the ability to do Request > Move permanently or move temporarily.
    • The request pickup configuration determines whether you see it in the pick from shelf list.
      • Scan the item in and the scan in page will show you the temporary location (or permanent location).