[minervacirc] Holds numbers in Minerva

Davis, Kevin kdavis at southportland.org
Tue Aug 7 09:12:01 EDT 2012

I'll chime in here, as I did when the same message was posted to MELIBS - the discussion of this issue is happening on the Minerva-L list.


Chair, Minerva Executive Board
Director of Library Services
City of South Portland

-----Original Message-----
From: minervacirc-bounces at informe.org [mailto:minervacirc-bounces at informe.org] On Behalf Of sleahey at mcarthur.lib.me.us
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2012 2:28 PM
To: minervacirc at informe.org
Subject: [minervacirc] Holds numbers in Minerva

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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