TexShare Card Program Working Group Meeting

Wednesday April 2, 2003, 10 am - noon

Convention Center Room 209

Present: Tania Bardyn, Ricki Brown, Jackie Dodson, Larry Justiss, Suzanne McAnna (chair), Gene Rollins, Beverley Shirley, Brenda Tirrell, Barbara Valle


  • Introductions and brief library reports
  • Current status and future prospects for the Program
  • Card Program statistics
  • Return process for items borrowed by individuals through the Card Program
  • Card Program participation
  • Ordering supplies
  • Status of the exhibit proposal
  • Next meeting date

Action items

All, for further discussion/next meeting: review and clarify wording on circulation statistics to be reported; review and recommend updates for online FAQs; consider and continue discussion of user survey as an outcome measure; consider and continue discussion of allowing return of Card Program materials by courier

Beverley: invite Margaret Whitehead to next meeting

Suzanne: draft statistics reporting reminder text and send to Beverley

Introductions and brief library reports

Members present reported briefly on the TexShare Card Program at their libraries.

Suzanne (UT Austin General Libraries) said that their TexShare business continues to grow, with privileges issued to TexShare visitors up again by 11% so far this fiscal year, and circulation up 55%, after substantial increases last year. 70% of the total circulation in the Program is of General Libraries materials.

Gene (Harris County Public) remarked that it is a good service but that his library is not inundated with TexShare business.

Brenda (Houston Public) said that HPL is now participating in the Program. Their non-resident fee has been waived so they do not expect to issue many cards with the TexShare borrower type�most borrowers qualify for privileges other ways.

Tania (UT Health Science Center) said that medical libraries are pleased with the Program. Its use has decreased and public libraries� joining the Program has had no impact.

Jackie (Waco-McLennan County) reported that the bulk of TexShare business is the use of the Balylor library by public library patrons. Academic patrons do not tend to use the public library under TexShare auspices.

Ricki (Abilene Public) said that use of the Program is minimal. There have always been reciprocal agreements among the academic institutions in town.

Larry (Tom Green County) commented that the Working Group had originally been concerned about the influx of patrons to university libraries, but this has not happened.

Barbara (El Paso Public) said that in general the Program has been successful and there are no complaints from area libraries. El Paso Public Library issues its own cards and TexShare cards together.

The libraries represented on the Working Group, UT Austin excepted, do not do a large volume of TexShare business. Public libraries in particular, with the advent of the Loan Star Program, have other alternatives for granting free privileges to visitors.

Current status and future prospects for the Program

Beverley said that the 2002 statistics will be on the web soon. In 2002 25,563 cards were issued and there were 215,653 circulations. Cost to libraries to provide materials loaned via participation in the Program was estimated at $14,500,000. She explained that TexShare figures are used in compiling statistics and reporting to the legislature on number of persons served through resource sharing, number of materials provided (which includes circulations), cost avoidance, and cost per item to provide materials.

Beverley commented that the Working Group might be interested in talking with Margaret Whitehead, Library Development, about how the Loan Star and the TexShare programs complement each other. The Group expressed an interest in inviting Margaret to attend its next meeting.

Beverley remarked that since TexShare expenditures on the Card Program are minimal (for example, printing), the Program should not be affected by budget cuts in TexShare funding. She said that the Loan Star Program was the catalyst for many public libraries to join TexShare.

One of the issues of concern to many libraries joining the Program was that of loss of materials. The loss rate has been generally low. Brenda said that Houston Public had set a cap on the amount that it would expend for lost book reimbursement under the Program.

Card Program statistics

Beverley said that Card Program statistics submitted via the web page go into a database that needs some clean up. The State Library is not suggesting changes to the web page or the statistics to be reported. Suzanne asked if the members felt that any changes were needed in the statistics currently requested by the Agreement.

One issue is that, in order to avoid duplicate counting, libraries should not report in their TexShare statistics circulations to borrowers who are not actually getting their privileges through TexShare, even though those borrowers may possess a TexShare card.� There was some discussion of clarifying the wording in the Agreement on reporting circulation statistics to something along the following lines:

�Libraries should report number of items circulated to borrowers whose privileges are granted based on their TexShare Card.�

Suzanne agreed to send this item out to the Group by e-mail for further consideration and discussion at the next meeting.

The Group will also take a look at the FAQs on the web. These were developed a couple of years ago and have not been updated since.

Tania suggested that communications could be improved regarding the statistics reporting timeframe. Beverley explained that there is a very short time between the end of the fiscal year and the date by which statistics must be reported. A reminder in the early summer would be useful. Suzanne committed to compose some reminder text and forward it to Beverley for distribution.

Beverley introduced a brief discussion of some ideas from Margaret Whitehead on how to derive outcome measures for the Card program. Circulation counts, for example, are output measures; an outcome measure might be improvement of peoples� lives because of their use of the Program. There was discussion of a survey of TexShare Card users, and also of the usefulness of representative success stories, especially in communicating with lawmakers.

Margaret had suggested some sort of anonymous end-user survey, perhaps in postcard format, which could be distributed to borrowers at checkout, to be filled out and mailed back in. The Group had several suggestions for what to include on such a survey�for example, will the borrower use his or her card again? At how many libraries has the borrower used the card?--but some concerns were also identified. For example, not all libraries can identify TexShare borrowers as such at the point of checkout; and if cards were mailed to borrowers as well as stamped for return mail, there would have to be some way to cover the costs.

Beverley asked the Group to think further about this and to discuss it with Margaret at the next meeting.

Return process for items borrowed by individuals through the Card Program

Suzanne explained that the Courier Working Group had suggested to the TexShare Advisory Board that the Card Program Working Group be asked to consider allowing TexShare borrowers to return materials from other libraries via the TEXpress courier service.

The Agreement does not mention the courier service as a method of return, but specifies that materials should be returned either in person or by some form of priority mail. In fact, borrowers do sometimes return materials by the courier. The change would be to make the Agreement explicitly reflect that using the courier service is an acceptable return method.

In discussion, several members commented that they did not believe that this change would cause problems at their libraries.� It would save postage and users would appreciate the convenience.� Books returned this way should be identified as Card Program books to help expedite routing and check-in when they reach the destination library. Beverley said that the State Library no longer has a supply of the TexShare Card Program flags.

Libraries which accept materials for return this way would have to be participants not only in the Card Program but also in TEXpress. TEXpress rates are expected to go up with the reduction in the subsidy for the service, but it is still cost effective for many libraries. However, Beverley said that she expected that ultimately fewer libraries might use TEXpress.

Suzanne said that although her library wants to support this change in service, she has some concerns that the service might not work well for some portion of the very high volume of TexShare Card Program transactions done by UT Austin. Borrowers will expect that as soon as they return the books to any library, their responsibility ends. In fact, the receiving library will have no way to check the books in from the borrower, libraries normally do not log materials from other libraries they receive and route back, and there may be delays of various sorts before the books actually reach the owning library. If the borrower gets a bill because fines have accrued during this process, or because the books never reached the owning library, he or she may feel frustrated and ill served.� Suzanne said that her preference would be to expect the individual borrower to be responsible for returning the books early enough so that in most cases they reach the owning library by the due date; and for obtaining, from the library where he or she returns the books, some sort of documentation of return, in case the books do not reach their destination.

The Working Group agreed that we need to think further about the pros and cons of this issue and continue the discussion at the next meeting.

Card Program participation

After brief discussion, the Group agreed that the process of joining the TexShare Card program is incomplete until the lending policies of the newly participating library are on the web.� Mounting the policies should be coordinated with getting Program supplies, so that a library doesn�t start getting requests for cards before it can meet the requests. A good sequence may be (1) library submits lending policy, (2) library gets cards, (3) policy is mounted on the web.

Ordering supplies

Beverley said that libraries that request additional card supplies may be asked to base their request on previously issued cards. However, some libraries must stock cards at multiple branches and the number they need to do this may well exceed the number of cards they actually issue. An online form for ordering more cards may be developed: the Group thought this a good idea.

Beverley said that the State Library gets questions from libraries about whether they can simply reproduce their own cards; the answer is emphatically No, libraries should not do this. Issuing only the �official� TexShare card helps to protect against abuse of the Program.

Status of the exhibit proposal

Beverley said that no action had been taken on the proposal from a couple years back on a traveling exhibit to promote the Program. She said that the group might work with the Communications Task Force on such a project, but that the Task Force would probably want to modify the exhibit so it could be used to promote other TexShare programs. In discussion, the Group could not identify specific uses to which such an exhibit might currently be put in libraries. Members agreed that this was an excellent idea in the early days of promoting the Program, but that the need for this approach now seems to have passed, and that the exhibit idea should not be pursued further.

Next meeting date:

Thursday October 9, 10 am, at the Texas State Library in Austin.

Notes by Suzanne McAnna, 4/10/03� -rev.-


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