TexShare Courier Service Working Group Minutes

March 10, 1998 

Sheraton Dallas Brookhollow Hotel 

Dallas, Texas 

Members present:  Gary Ives, Chair, (UT Medical Branch at Galveston); Kathryn Connell, (UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas); Kay Garsnett, (Our Lady of the Lake); Una Gourlay, (Rice University); Frances Roppolo, (University of Houston Clear Lake); Carolyn Thorne, (Dallas County Community College); Rebecca Linton, (Texas State Library Liaison); Jo Anne Hawkins, TexShare Management Team (UT Austin General Libraries). 

Absent:  Rachel Robbins, (University of Texas at Arlington); Mike Robinson, (Sul Ross State University). 

Guests:  Bonnie Juergens, Executive Director, Amigos (TexShare Management Team); Susie Thompson, TexShare Project Support Specialist, Amigos. 

1.  Introductions, greetings, houskeeping matters. 

Chair Gary Ives welcomed the group to its first meeting with new membership representing the expanded TexShare and asked members to introduce themselves. Susie Thompson announced plans for lunch and advised the group to request reimbursement for travel expenses within 30 days. 

2.A view from the "Trouble Desk." 

Susie Thompson distributed a TExpress Progress Report on the use of the courier service. With few exceptions, the service has been operating smoothly and usage has increased steadily. As of March 9, 1998, there were 82 TExpress participants, including Amigos and the Houston Public Library, although there are more actual participants than 82 when community college districts' libraries are considered. Most libraries are on a 5-day a week schedule, with ten or twelve on a 2-day a week schedule. 

Susie said some libraries are producing their own TExpress labels, which is acceptable if the labels are consistent with those produced centrally by Amigos. She reported the first lost TExpress book, which she expected would eventually resurface. She noted confusion in some quarters over libraries with similar-sounding names, such as UTSA and UTHSCSA. She said that she had received calls from many out of state libraries which want to join TExpress! 

The group said a map of hub cities would be helpful. Susie said she would ask Rue Ramirez, who maintains the TexShare Web site at UT Austin General Libraries, to produce one. Concerning various college and university holidays, Susie advised that temporary rescheduling of CEDS couriers should best be handled individually with specific couriers, rather than globally with CEDS. 

As new libraries join TExpress, their fees are being prorated with libraries opting for 5-day service paying $154/month for the number of months remaining through December 1998. 

3. Immediate issues (also including Agenda Item 5, Current and immediate future status of TExpress; and Item 7, Role of the Working Group to bring TexNet libraries into TExpress) 

Bonnie Juergens provided a comprehensive review of her concerns for planning for TExpress for next year. Shawn Fagan, TExpress representative from the courier Corporate Express Delivery Services (CEDS), supports the program and is working toward its continuation. The program as contracted for this calendar year is considered to be in pilot mode. A shortfall in CEDS revenues, due partially to CEDS' need to use Federal Express to serve Sul Ross at Alpine, is being remedied by a supplement of $6,000 from TexShare funds with the approval of TSL Librarian Bob Martin. Bonnie has conferred with Mike Robinson at Sul Ross, and they are working to resolve the situation. 

Bonnie expects an increase of at least 10% in CEDS's fees for 1999. She expressed concern that the increase may be more than 10%. Negotiation factors are that CEDS no longer has the AHE courier contract and that other courier services in the state are being replaced by TExpress. Bonnie also expressed concern about the possible adoption by CEDS of the California courier model, where courier service is priced per stop, plus a charge per pound or per package. Our courier service is ponying up on the banking delivery business statewide. Bonnie is working with Shawn to develop an Amigos-wide service, and, as part of that, she noted that CEDS' next expansion may be Oklahoma, which is part of Shawn's territory. 

Bonnie noted that in addition to the Sul Ross situation, there are questions about adding the ten TexNet Centers to TExpress. Shawn would like to have some statistics on potential use from these libraries, particularly information about weight of packages. Rebecca Linton distributed a handout, "TexNet Center ILL Activity SFY 1997" for the group's review. 

Bonnie announced that the Houston Public Library, one of the ten TexNet libraries, will join TExpress on March 16 in a pilot mode. HPL will pay for only one stop and will distribute materials within the HPL system using an internal courier, as it has done in the past with the HARLIC courier service. This Working Group will be asked to decide how soon and how far to expand TExpress to other TexNet libraries. Bonnie will check with Shawn to determine whether he needs additional statistics beyond those in Rebecca's handout and whether sampling may be required. 

Bonnie said Bob Martin commented favorably in a TexShare Advisory Board meeting concerning the possibility of seeking funding to totally subsidize TExpress and of the great value of this low tech, high touch aspect of resource sharing. 

4. History of TExpress. 

Jo Anne Hawkins provided background and a brief history of TexShare and TExpress as well as some insights into the present management and organization of the resource sharing program. 

6. After accomplishing lunch, Item 6 on the agenda, the WG returned to continue their discussions. 

8. TExpress statistics. 

Gary Ives led the discussion of statistics.  Presently the instruction to TExpress participants on the TexShare Web is to maintain the following statistics: 

* Borrowed-Returnable received via TExpress Courier 

* Borrowed-Nonreturnable received via TExpress Courier 

* Loaned-Returnable sent via TExpress Courier 

* Loaned-Nonreturnable sent via TExpress Courier, 
with a note that the working group will inform participants when and how these statistics will be collected. 

After considerable discussion, the group recommended that statistics be collected only for: 

* Packages sent via TExpress Courier 

* Packages received via TExpress Courier, 
although there may be a need to sample for more specific information at some point, the information most needed is the load on and use of the system. 

Gary said he will send a memo to TExpress libraries to request that they submit statistics they have maintained from the date they began the service through April 30, 1998. He will also inform TExpress libraries that starting with May 1, 1998, statistics collected will be simplified as noted above. 

Gary volunteered to receive statistics through December 1998, with statistics to be collected by TSL subsequently on a schedule to be established consistent with other statistics TSL collects and compiles. 

9. Service quality review 

The WG recommended that service quality continue to be monitored by Amigos as was already being done, in consideration of the fact that Susie Thompson's location at TExpress Command Central provided an effective means to monitor it. 

10. Use of TExpress to return books borrowed with TexShare Cards 

TexShare ILL Protocol Working Group Chair Nancy Paine had asked the WG to consider a solution to the problem of borrowers who borrow materials directly with TexShare Cards but return them via TExpress. While this means of return is discouraged and borrowers continue to be personally responsible for these materials, the materials need to be identified so they will be routed properly when they reach owning libraries. 

The ILL WG recommended that flags be designed and produced to insert in these materials to expedite proper routing. The WG supported the ILL WG's recommendation if it is not cost prohibitive. Susie Thompson said that she would seek estimates of the cost of producing flags. However, the WG went on record that this action did not change the basic philosophy of the original programs and requested the TexShare Card Working Group to reemphasize the tenets of the original program in communications to participating libraries. Jo Anne said that she would convey this message to the Card WG, for which she is also responsible as a member of the TexShare Management Team. 

11. Open floor wrapup. 

Susie noted that the cost of TExpress labels is being included on libraries' Amigos bills. The WG questioned how labels will be provided in future. 

Jo Anne said that she will ask her staff to establish a mailing list for the members of the Working Group to expedite communication. She will inform the members of the name of the mailing list. 

The group agreed that its next meeting would probably be via a conference telephone call, time to be announced. 

Gary adjourned the meeting at 3:30 PM. 

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