[minervacirc] Holds numbers in Minerva

sleahey@mcarthur.lib.me.us sleahey at mcarthur.lib.me.us
Fri Aug 3 14:28:04 EDT 2012

Hi There--

I've been surprised by the absence of any reaction on listservs to the  
disappearance of holds numbers in the Minerva catalog.  Although I  
understand why the change was made, every time I help a patron with  
the catalog it strikes me again how unfortunate it is for our users.  
It'd be great to have some discussion about this before the Minerva  
Circulation meeting on the 10th.

First of all, it's extremely misleading for patrons to have NO idea  
how many holds have been placed on a given item.  Of course, in an  
ideal world it would be like the old days when we could easily see how  
many copies existed in the system so that we could compare numbers of  
copies with numbers of holds.  But a savvy patron can open up a search  
to the whole Minerva catalog to see how many copies exist.  Presently,  
however, if patrons look for I, Michael Bennett, for example, it  
appears that nobody is waiting for it and that it should be available  
as soon as the local copy is returned.  It seems clear that patrons
would be better served to know for starters that there are 77 people  
already waiting for that title.

Of course library staff are able to maneuver in Millennium to see the  
numbers of holds onvarious editions of a particular book and help  
patrons decide between regular print, large print, audiobook,  
electronic resource, etc.  But I don't think we want to foster a  
system that makes patrons more dependent on us than necessary.   
Furthermore, many patrons won't know to ask for help, or will be  
accessing the catalog from home. And also, haven't we been asked to  
avoid placing holds from Millennium when possible?

I've realized since holds numbers disappeared that I've been using  
those numbers as a selection tool of sorts.  When I weigh whether to  
purchase an item, it matters to me how many holds have been placed on  
it system-wide.  If few people are waiting for a recent release and it  
doesn't sound all that important I'll put off buying it; but if there  
are dozens of holds on that
same book I'll probably purchase it to support the system.   
Admittedly, I could retrieve that information through Millennium, but  
that seems unnecssarily clunky.

I'll be eager to hear others' opinions on whether or not holds numbers  
should be displayed.


Sally Leahey
Assistant Director
McArthur Library
Box 346
Biddeford, Maine 04005

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