[Michlib-l] MeL Minute: Lending Library Information in MeLCat

Norris, Sonya (MDE) NorrisS2 at michigan.gov
Thu Jan 24 11:24:32 EST 2019

[A close up of text on a white background    Description automatically generated]MeLCat is important to library staff and the residents of Michigan and it is a shared service in every sense of the word. From the resources we share with our colleagues across the state, to the feedback we receive that helps to make MeLCat function even more effectively, this service improves the lives of our patrons every day. The Library of Michigan and the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services are dedicated to constantly improving MeLCat. Recently we made an adjustment that resulted in a lot of feedback and we'd like to share what happened.

In addition to the many other MeL.org changes in October 2018, changes were made to the MeLCat request screen displayed to users after successfully making their request. In an effort to streamline and simplify that page, the potential lending library information was removed. We say "potential lending library" because the first library assigned the task of filling the request was sometimes not the actual lending library, and this caused confusion. Sometimes the book couldn't be located, or the book on the shelf was damaged, so it could not be sent out. Then, another library would be assigned the task of filling the request. When this happened, the expectations of the patron were not fulfilled and this could cause confusion.

The information was also removed to prevent MeLCat "shopping," which is when users cancel a request based on where the item was coming from in order to request it (sometimes many times!) from another MeLCat library in closer proximity. MeLCat shopping creates a lot of work for staff at libraries and filling MeLCat requests for libraries close in proximity does not necessarily mean users will get their items faster. MeLCat works hard on a careful process to make participation and workload fair for patrons and staff. Patrons can't be expected to know the intricacies of MeLCat processing, hence the "shopping," which was throwing a monkey wrench into the system.

Long story short, we opted to remove the potential lending library information. We know it was great for curiosity, but it wasn't always accurate, and more importantly, it was leading to problems that increased the workload for libraries across the state.

Thank you for your patronage of MeLCat. For any MeLCat questions or issues, please contact MCLS MeLCat staff at melcathelp at mcls.org<mailto:melcathelp at mcls.org>.

Brought to you by Megan Dudek of the MeL Team.

Supporting Michigan Libraries by Putting You First.

Want more information on MeL?  Stay tuned for the next MeL Minute available on many Michigan library listservs,  visit http://mel.org<http://mel.org/>, or sign up for the MeL Minute and other Library of Michigan e-mail lists via GovDelivery<https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MILOM/subscriber/new>. We encourage you to share MeL Minutes with your colleagues and networks.

MeL databases are available to Michigan residents or for Michigan library or school access only.


Sonya Schryer Norris
Library Consultant
Library of Michigan
Michigan Department of Education
Norriss2 at michigan.gov<mailto:Norriss2 at michigan.gov>


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