TexShare Courier Service Working Group Minutes

February 18, 1999 

The General Libraries 

The University of Texas at Austin 

The TexShare Courier Service Working Group met at 9:30 AM in the Conference Room of the Perry-Castaneda Library, the General Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin, on Thursday, February 18, 1999.

Members present:  All members were present, including Chair Carolyn Thorne, Dallas County Community College District; April Bennington, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Jackie Crinion, UT San Antonio; Kay Garsnett, Our Lady of the Lake University; Lee Hilyer, Rice University; Rachel Robbins, UT Arlington; Mike Robinson, Sul Ross State University; Frances Roppolo, University of Houston Clear Lake; TSLAC Liaison Rebecca Linton; TexShare Coordinating Council Liaison Jo Anne Hawkins; and guests Gary Ives, Texas A&M Medical Library, immediate past chair; and Nancy Paine, UT Austin, chair of the TexShare ILL Working Group. (April arrived at 10:30 AM, after being delayed by fog at Houston Hobby Airport, and Rebecca joined the group about noon after participating in an interview for the TexShare Coordinator position at the State Library.) 

Items distributed included:

  • Minutes of the WG's conference call meeting of October 8, 1999
  • TexShare Courier Service Working Group Roster
  • TexShare Coordinating Council Roster
  • TexShare Advisory Board Roster
  • Programs and Participants: Service Choices for All TexShare Members (printout from the TexShare Web)
  • TExpress Libraries, December 1998 (printout from the TexShare Web)
  • TexShare testimony from Lee Hisle (email of the text of Lee's presentation to a legislative committee in support of TexShare)
  • Planning Your TexShare Program at the TLA Conference (Memo from Michael Piper)
  • Working Group Reports: TExpress Courier Service Program (report by Jo Anne Hawkins to the TexShare Advisory Board meeting of January 22, 1999)
  • TexShare bill introduced (email text of H.B. no. 1433 introduced by Rep. Bob Hunter)
  • TExpress Status Report (report and log of reported problems from Susie Thompson of Amigos)
  • Printouts from TexShare Web pages with references to TExpress

Carolyn Thorne began the meeting by greeting attendees and asking members to introduce themselves. Kay Sewell of the General Libraries took digital photos of the group, one of which may be put on the TexShare Web.

Jo Anne Hawkins provided a brief history of TexShare, referring to some of the items mentioned above.

Carolyn gave the group a history of TEXpress, noting that the first courier, Corporate Express Delivery Systems (CEDS), which operated from November 1997 through December 1998, had been supplanted by Marquis Messengers (MM) on January 1, 1999. Like CEDS, MM is also based in Dallas, a plus when Bonnie Juergens of Amigos was suddenly required to negotiate the 1999 contract with a new courier after CEDS experienced a corporate takeover in December and did not follow through with its previous commitment for an extended contract.

Nancy Paine, who will participate in the TexShare program at the TLA Conference on Friday, April 23, in Dallas, gave a preview of the testimonial she will present concerning TExpress. Nancy also commented on the importance of proper packaging for items sent via TExpress and asked for a recommendation from the WG to ensure the use of jiffy bags, rather than inter-office envelopes, which are used by some libraries. In addition, she noted the importance of proper labeling and suggested that including the OCLC/DocLine code on the label for medical libraries will help to distinguish multiple libraries on the same campus. Other strategies include Rice's inclusion of the requesting library's address in the OCLC constant data record, which the group agreed should be mandatory.

The WG reviewed Susie Thompson's TExpress Status Report on the first six weeks of MM service and her newly devised problem log to help her follow up on problems reported by participating libraries. Mike Robinson reported on Sul Ross' decision to withdraw from TExpress in 1998 as a result of CEDS' inability to provide timely service to the campus. It is hoped that Sul Ross will rejoin TExpress when prompt courier service can be assured.

Gary Ives commented on the challenges of collecting TExpress statistics from participating libraries, a task he took on when he chaired the Working Group. Some libraries were unaware of the requirement to report statistics, which are not maintained by the courier in order to keep costs as low as possible. Other libraries were confused about the nature of the statistics to be collected and how and to whom to report them. Gary still intends to compile statistics reported to him for 1998.

Susie Thompson notified TExpress libraries on February 8, 1999, in a message concerning TExpress invoices for 1999, that statistics on outgoing and incoming packages should be reported to her. According to Amigos' contract with TSLAC, collecting and compiling TExpress statistics is a responsibility of Amigos. Eventually, responsibility for these and some other TexShare statistics will be transferred to the Resource Sharing Division of TSLAC.

Bonnie Juergens had requested advice from the WG in regard to a participating TExpress library which declined to collect and report statistics. Although members commented that this library was setting a bad precedent, they did not think that cutting off the library from TExpress would be the best approach. Instead, the WG recommended that a strong letter be sent to the library's director from Michael Piper or Bob Martin that emphasized the importance of the statistics in justifying the program and in requesting expanded funding from the Legislature.

Members reported on their libraries' experience with TExpress, with the consensus that the service is generally reliable and much less expensive than other methods of transportation. There were some problems during the transition from CEDS to MM, primarily because CEDS did not follow through on some shipments when their subcontracting couriers were fired. There have been a few instances of wet or damaged books.

Rebecca Linton asked about TexNet libraries, of which three, Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, are TExpress participants on a pilot basis. The other seven: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Lubbock, and San Antonio, may be interested in joining the program. WG members decided to support the inclusion of these libraries in TExpress if it is feasible to do so.

Jo Anne commented on TExpress' minimal presence on the TexShare Web, referring to printouts from the Web listed above. In response to her request for information to include, members suggested:

  • TExpress flying boot logo as a clickable design element
  • Guidelines for TExpress operation
  • Link to TexShare ILL Protocol
  • Instruction to properly identify both ILL and non-ILL shipments
  • Encouragement to use TexShare bookmarks to identify individual loans
  • Information about where and how to acquire labels
  • Statistics reporting requirement
  • Statistics electronic submission form
  • Sexy but brief description of TExpress
  • Include all TexShare statistics somewhere on the Web
  • Hotlinked email capability for members of the WG and for Susie Thompson
  • Brief history of TExpress and description of how it works from MM's perspective

Mike Robinson volunteered to help with the design and text of a web offering. Jo Anne will forward 1996 and 1997 minutes of the WG to Rue Ramirez of UT's Digital Library Services Division, whose staff maintains the TexShare Web.

The WG recommended that each working group prepare a brief history of its program to be included on the Web. Generally, TexShare needs more and better PR and an expanded Web presence.

Carolyn asked the WG for reports on hotels, etc., and where to meet if another face to face meeting is required this year. The group prefers Austin, and one member reported that her bed and breakfast, Carrington's Bluff, was excellent and charged the state rate. The group may meet next in a telephone conference call, which will be set up and paid for by TSLAC.

Carolyn adjourned the meeting at 2 PM.

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