Library Lingo Explained

We sometimes forget that not everyone understands our language when we talk about holds, requests, NEXT, KOHA, and so on. Even though there will not be a quiz, we will know whether or not you have been paying attention. We have decided to start Library Lingo Explained in our biweekly column in the Courier Tribune and copy them to our website, so here it is;

We will begin with: NEKLS = NorthEast Kansas Library System, a consortium of 14 counties of NE Kansas. Seven regional library districts were formed in Kansas in the 1960s. Within NEKLS there are 117 member libraries. NEKLS provides our software and hardware service, training and maintenance; tech support; grant funds; continuing education for librarians; website support; and more. Oh, and they oversee the statewide Courier Service.

 We continue Library Lingo with NEXT, which is the name of our shared catalog system. Our system was formerly called NExpress; that’s why it is on some of your library cards. It was upgraded a few years ago. There are 52 libraries in Northeast Kansas in the shared catalog.  These 52 NEXT libraries are similar to a branch library system; sharing resources but remaining autonomous. The shared catalog allows access to so much more than just a single library could offer. There are over one million items in the shared catalog for our patrons to borrow – imagine how many shelves that would take?  Not all libraries in Northeast Kansas are part of NEXT; Topeka – Shawnee, Johnson County, Wyandotte, and Lawrence Public are just a few of the libraries that are not in our shared catalog. Not all regional library systems have shared catalogs, so we feel very fortunate to be a part of NEXT. If you are interested in learning more about the shared catalog and how to use it, just ask the librarians. We will be happy to help. It just takes a few seconds to make sure your account is set up on our end in order for you to begin searching for and requesting items. If you are having trouble using your current account please let us know so that we can get you back online.

 To us courier means a statewide delivery service that transports books and circulating material between libraries all across Kansas. Seneca Library has five day a week courier service, some libraries have two to three. Each day our courier driver brings items that you have placed on hold and items being returned. Our courier driver begins his day at the Topeka hub, travels through Westmoreland, Waterville, Blue Rapids, Frankfort, Marysville, Seneca, Centralia, Corning, and Onaga, then returns home. The driver doesn’t just deliver books to libraries. He also delivers US mail to post offices, flowers to the flower shops, pharmaceuticals and supplies to hospitals and pharmacies, and sometimes FedEx orders to addresses that are “off the beaten path”. He really is quite busy. The statewide courier service was established by staff at NEKLS and is still administered by staff there. Kudos to our great Northeast Kansas Library System for having such foresight years ago! This great service allows us to easily get material that is not found in our shared catalog, but that is available within the state. 

  Our next Library Lingo phrase is HOLD. When we place a hold on an item we are basically putting your name on a waiting list. The Holds queue has changed over the years, and now functions better for our local patrons. Items on hold in the shared catalog are all on one list, and when you ask where you are on the queue we tell you the number overall. If our library owns the item you have requested then your hold will most likely be filled with our item. This is usually a much shorter list and wait time. It sounds complicated, but we have it figured out. It is never an inconvenience to place a hold for you. One of the best parts of the shared catalog is having so many items available for our patrons. What do you have on hold?

SUSPEND. When putting items on hold, there is a column labeled Suspend, which is very handy. If you are using the online catalog and know you want an item, but aren’t quite ready for it, just suspend the hold. When you are ready, click Resume and that will put the item on an active hold list. We do this often for patrons who are reading a series or watching a TV series on video. We place holds for the whole series and then resume the hold for the next book or season. You can do this at home also. It saves time having to look up a whole series each time. If you have any questions about the online catalog or how to use Suspend and Hold just ask the librarians. 

Hold Shelf: It is not a literal shelf, but rather a space where we hold items that you have requested. When items come in via the courier, they are scanned into the software. This lets us know which items are here at patron request. We then place the item on the Hold Shelf until patrons pick them up. Items can remain on hold for seven days, but if not picked up, are returned to the lending library or passed to the next patron on the waiting list. When we offer to put an item on hold for you, it is just another thing we do on a daily basis.

Share-It: The Kansas State Library uses software called Share-It to power their online catalog. When we cannot find the item you want in our shared catalog, we turn to the state library. This catalog includes public, academic, and university libraries across the entire state. There are millions of items within easy reach; let us help you find what you want or need. We also have a source that can get materials from out of state. In 2022 we received borrowed materials from Oklahoma, Texas, California, Colorado, and Arkansas. What can we help you find?