Koha support during Covid-19

by Aleisha Amohia

As we transition into Alert Level 4 and New Zealand enters a lockdown, libraries across the country are closing. Similar closures are occurring or expected in Australia as well.  The Catalyst Koha team are all working from home, available to help our libraries cope and respond to COVID-19.

How Catalyst can help

We are offering the following tasks free of charge as a one-off as libraries respond to the pandemic or prepare to close their doors:

  • Bulk-extensions on due dates for items currently out on loan
  • Stopping overdues, fines, and other notices from sending
  • Stopping fines from charging to patrons
  • Waiving fines in a batch in the database.

If we haven’t done these tasks for you yet, please email us, here are the contacts for Australia and New Zealand.

 

Providing us with key details will help us complete your requests faster, such as:

  • The desired due date for items currently on loan (we recommend six to eight weeks in the future, for extra preparedness)
  • If there are any current checkouts for which you do not want to update the due date
  • Whether your library is closing, and if yes, when
  • Which fines you would like to waive, for example, fines for a specific patron category, or balances over a specific amount.

 

Some libraries are also doing the following themselves within Koha:

  • Changing the closed dates in the Koha calendar
  • Manually waiving fines
  • Changing circulation rules, so that changes will be applied to all future circulation, too
  • Manually specifying a due date, forgiving overdue fines, or allowing automatic renewal when circulating
  • Adding a news item to the OPAC to notify users of the library’s open/closed status.

Community Solution

Some libraries are taking this opportunity to further promote online services. One brilliant example provided by one of our libraries is that of creating a new “Online only” borrower type. This service is for those who may not be members, but while isolated, realise they could catch up on some reading. Customers can register easily online and are immediately able to access the library’s electronic content, such as eBooks and eAudiobooks. If this innovative solution seems like something you’d like to adapt for your library, we are ready to make it happen asap. If you would like to share what ideas your library is implementing at this time, we would enjoy hearing from you.

Working with the Catalyst Koha team

Our team, long accustomed to working remotely, will continue to do so while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4. For those of you doing the same, please feel free to contact us with any queries, and even start new projects while your usual workload is somewhat reduced.

 

If you would like to know more about our capacity to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of your services through this period, get in touch through email, whether you are in Australia or New Zealand.

Kia ū, kia māia, kia manawanui,

Koha Team.