During the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers in the library field have faced innumerable challenges. From closing their doors to in-person visits to having to adjust to a curbside drop-off/pickup system, the entire workflow of a library has been forced to change.
Auto-Graphics, Inc. addressed these concerns both internally and externally, which has led to permanent implementations in our products. Among other elements, increased adaptability has been key.
At the start of the pandemic, A-G product staff informed customers about the National Emergency Library, a temporary collection of books that supported emergency remote teaching and research activities while libraries were closed. We also assisted these customers with embedding access to that library from A-G’s integrated splash pages on their own websites. Especially where libraries did not have ample access to e-resources, this connection helped provide users with a source of materials they could access online during library closures.
Product staff made several key changes to the software to allow libraries more flexibility with the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. This included front-facing changes – like updating customer-wide homepages and FAQ pages with information regarding closures and changes to the borrowing process. More importantly, it allowed for internal setting configurations that could account for extended shipping windows and quarantine periods, and facilitate contactless relationships with patrons. For example: VERSO enhanced the checkout process with a new scheduling tool to accommodate future curbside pickups; and provided direct links to self-registration screens for libraries to embed on their websites, which allowed patrons to sign up for a library card from home.
SHAREit product staff conducted a refresher course for libraries on the tools and workflows for non-returnables (the borrowing and lending of copies or digital files.) For libraries that were not open to the public, providing a scan of a chapter of a book was a viable way to give users access to materials. For libraries who were able to lend their e–formats, A-G streamlined tools to initiate non-returnable requests.
SHAREit staff also scheduled an ongoing series of training webinars for library staff in lieu of A-G’s usual on-site, in-person training. The webinars are recorded and posted for all SHAREit staff users to easily access, with topics ranging from basic searching to complex ILL workflows.