Security feature coming on June 1, 2022

Katie Greenleaf MartinCirculation, Evergreen, FAQs, News, Tech Tip, Training

To improve security, SPARK is going to be removing the ability of expired staff accounts from logging into the system starting June 1st. LibAdmin users will be responsible for maintaining staff accounts for their locations. To make sure you are notified, please make sure your work email address is in your SPARK login account. READ MORE

Katie Greenleaf MartinSecurity feature coming on June 1, 2022

SPARK Feature Highlight/Library Spotlight – April 2022

Katherine DannehlTech Tip, User Groups

When you’re a SPARK library, you have access to more than an Evergreen ILS.

PaILS wants to inspire you to use the tools we provide to their fullest potential, so we’re highlighting some of the ways you can do that!

Today’s topic is ChiliPAC booklists: scan it, share it, and alphabetize it!

You can curate booklists in ChiliPAC to share at story time, for a holiday, or for another special event or theme.

By designating “staff users” through ChiliFresh’s admin panel, you can even center your staff booklists on your OPAC! You’ll see that in action in today’s library spotlight.

You and your library members can share lists directly to social media, download in PDF format, or scan a QR code to bring up the booklist on your phone.

One of the more recently added ChiliPAC features was suggested by a SPARK library: click a button to view a booklist in alphabetical order!


Easton Area Public Library has been doing an amazing job using staff booklists to make recommendations!

The screenshot in today’s feature highlight (above) is from EAPL Erin Morrow’s LGBTQIA+ Voices booklist.

There are many more booklists to inspire you on Easton’s “Latest staff lists” carousel, which you can see on their OPAC homepage.

Current events, popular films & television, even a “For Fans of Wordle” list! EAPL is being super creative, and we are so impressed!


We also must shout out Scranton’s Victoria Ryan-Price, who is getting involved with the Evergreen community!

On Wednesday of this week, Victoria presented at Evergreen’s Acquisitions Interest Group meeting, sharing how to submit purchase requests using the acquisitions module.

You can find a recording of Victoria’s presentation here. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Victoria 😊

Katherine DannehlSPARK Feature Highlight/Library Spotlight – April 2022

PaILS 2021 – the year at a glance

Katie Greenleaf MartinEvergreen, News, PaILS, Uncategorized

Hello SPARK libraries!
We here at PaILS have put together a little ‘snapshot’ report of everything we had going on in 2021 — we hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for everything you do to provide excellent library services in Pennsylvania!

PaILS 2021 report

– Katie, Katherine & Elizabeth

Katie Greenleaf MartinPaILS 2021 – the year at a glance

Welcome PaILS/SPARK’s Newest Team Member!

Katie Greenleaf MartinNews, PaILS

The PaILS team is thrilled to inform you that Elizabeth Davis will be joining the team as our Support & Project Management Specialist!

We know she will be a wonderful asset to our consortium – please join us in welcoming her!

Elizabeth Davis has been a member of the SPARK community since her library migrated in 2015, and she has chaired the Reports committee for 4 years.

Most recently, Elizabeth worked as Head of Digital Services for the Scranton Public Library. She earned her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and has worked in public libraries since graduation.

Elizabeth lives in Scranton with her husband and their three cats.  Elizabeth is learning to bake when she’s not hiking or trying to knit.  She can be reached at elizabeth.davis @ starting February 14th! 😊

Welcome, Elizabeth!!


Katie Greenleaf MartinWelcome PaILS/SPARK’s Newest Team Member!

2022 User Group meeting schedule – SAVE THE DATE

Katie Greenleaf MartinPaILS, User Groups

Hi all,


This year, we’re breaking up the annual user’s group meeting into an event series!

Attached, and below, you’ll find a schedule! All events will be hosted online, recorded, and uploaded to our YouTube channel 😊

More information about each event is forthcoming. If you have any questions or suggestions about content, please contact the event host!


Date & Time Event Host
05/04/2022 11 am EST Interlibrary Loan Tessa Mitchell – tmitchell @
05/05/2022 10 am EST Cataloging Jonathan Moore – jonathan @
05/10/2022 2 pm EST Circulation Jessica Laganosky – jessical @
05/11/2022 1 pm EST Lightning Talks PaILS – pails @
05/17/2022 1 pm – 4 pm EST Official User’s Group Meeting PaILS – pails @


Looking forward to reconnecting and seeing you all there!

Katherine Dannehl (she/her)

Membership Engagement Specialist, PaILS

Katie Greenleaf Martin2022 User Group meeting schedule – SAVE THE DATE

PaILS welcomes Catherine Greenleaf Martin

Katie Greenleaf MartinNews, PaILS, Uncategorized

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System board of directors, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Greenleaf Martin as our Executive Director.  Katie has been serving in the position as Interim Executive Director and her technology expertise, professionalism, and commitment to the SPARK community and libraries in Pennsylvania is unparalleled.  We are very excited and look forward to continuing working with Katie. Her official first day is January 5th, 2022, and you can reach her at kgm @

Katie grew up in Tioga County, and her first ‘home library was the Mansfield Free Public Library. She lives in Hollidaysburg, PA, with her spouse and son – they enjoy sailing on nearby Lake Glendale. For the last 6 years, Katie has worked with the libraries in Blair, Bedford & Huntingdon Counties, starting with managing their migrations to SPARK.

Please help us welcome Katie!

Melissa A. Rowse

Vice President, PaILS

Katie Greenleaf MartinPaILS welcomes Catherine Greenleaf Martin

Job Posting: Executive Director for PaILS

Katherine DannehlNews, PaILS

PaILS Executive Director Job Description

The Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS) seeks a dynamic Executive Director with strong leadership and communication skills, strategic vision, and a track record of building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions. The Executive Director is the chief operating officer of PaILS, a non-profit corporation, and is charged with implementing the organization’s policies and programs, exercising administrative oversight of all the affairs and finances of the consortium, overseeing the technical operation of the Pennsylvania library open-source software consortium, known as SPARK, and developing and implementing long-term organizational and strategic goals.

(this position has been filled)

Katherine DannehlJob Posting: Executive Director for PaILS

Tuesday Teleworking Together

Katie Greenleaf MartinDiscussion Starter

We’ve learned that the original period of PA public library closure has extended through at least April 6.

During the first closure, which was announced more suddenly, if you hadn’t taken action by Saturday morning (closing as soon as possible was advised), PaILS applied a SPARKwide setting and implemented the Emergency Closing Handler with settings that we saw as a best practice to extend access, stop fines and overdues, and to extend the dates of items on the hold shelf.   If you had already applied the feature, your settings were not changed.  If you hadn’t applied it, PaILS staff took initiative and applied it from 3/2 – 4/6, which allowed forgiveness of a few accruing fines and pushed due dates to April 7 for library items to be returned without penalty.  We also turned off major patron facing notices and added a message to your catalog about the closing.

Now, there is more time for your location to apply the Emergency Closing Handler on your own to determine the best practice for your own organization. It’s a great and easy feature to apply.

Screenshot of Emergency Closing Handler in Action

Emergency Closing Handler in action


PaILS staff can provide support for your use of this feature, OR, if you haven’t applied it on or before April 5, the setting will be applied for you beginning with the date of your last closing end and extending until April 21.  We suggest this time frame because it’s a midweek day (Tuesday) and allows additional leeway for your patrons to get time to visit your library for material return and replenishment.  We probably don’t want to require all items to be returned on first day of opening–no matter how excited we all are to get back to working with the public.  If dates change, or closures extend, and libraries need to go longer, that’s easy to do.  It’s harder to reverse due dates to an earlier time.  Communicate your needs to us and we will continue to support your efforts to serve the public without contact.


In other news:

  • This morning, the Committee who had planned a great lineup for the Annual User Group Meeting will have a conference call to discuss alternative plans.  Many who had planned your stay at the Penn Stater for the event have already received a cancellation of your hotel reservation.  Will the Annual User Group Meeting go virtual this year?  Let’s see what happens next.
  • Today, PaILS will facilitate and host a Together at 2p.m. Time in the regular online meeting room!  Join us if you are working remotely and want to talk about the Emergency Closing Handler, remote work projects, or anything in the Evergreen software.
  • Again today, the PaILS Online meeting room is open for you to visit anytime.  The virtual meeting room isn’t constantly watched, and staff sometimes abruptly leave for phone calls, but if you need some together time in the room or to talk about a feature of the software, a data project, a workflow, or just to connect, the room is open.  Connection details and meeting information are available in emails sent to our membership listservs.

Cheer and best regards to you during this strange time.  Share more; have more.




Katie Greenleaf MartinTuesday Teleworking Together

Monday Motivation Moment

Katie Greenleaf MartinDiscussion Starter, PaILS

Hello SPARK Libraries,

I’m glad you are participating in the open source Evergreen software shared platform with many of your PA neighbors.  It’s better because we’re in it together.

If you have questions about your library settings in the software, reach out.  There are adjustments right now so items aren’t due, fines don’t accrue, and holds lists don’t populate.

The regular online meeting room I sent links to last week via the listservs will be open as much as possible this week for virtual gatherings and software support questions or group cleanup projects when you need it.   Jump in to say hello or ask questions.

Continue to use the Submit a Request link to submit your support needs during this time.

Some practical ideas for today:

  • Make a carousel of digital items in your collections.  The way to do this: Make a Record Bucket of the digital items in your collection that you want to feature.  Create Carousel from bucket.
  • Make a video or instructions for patrons that help them understand the baskets and lists features of the catalog.
  • Experience library service like a patron and try to update your account username and PIN and email.  Write instructions.
  • Email the teachers in your network and remind them of the online resources available.
  • Pick a few popular resources that are in POWERLibrary and consider creating/finding MARC records for them.
  • Promote your neighboring libraries online programs–people can choose to login to ALL the virtual story hours.
  • Run reports to analyze your collections, your records, your items, your users.
  • Make sure you heeded advice from others about how to suspend packages/deliveries and incoming ILL requests.
  • Write up a procedure or workflow from memory–document each step and how it is done at your location to make sure staff have consistent practices.
  • Plan big for a new future.   Maybe you can make time to review and revise policies/procedures in use at your location.  If you are thinking about Fine Free or Auto-renewal or a new policy for issuing online cards, start drafting new ideas so you can get your board’s approval on the changes.

Take care of yourself and your co-workers.

Reach out if you need any assistance during this strange time.  PaILS / SPARK Support and your vendor are used to working remotely to help with your ILS needs.




Katie Greenleaf MartinMonday Motivation Moment

Friday Fearless Focus on the Future

Katie Greenleaf MartinDiscussion Starter, PaILS

The most recent announcement about the closing of non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania did not have a stated end date.  It’s a good time to take a deep breath, and relax.  Take care of yourself and all those around you.  Be kind.

SPARK Libraries have shifted quickly, and are now providing different services to communities via online tools and resources and telephone.  Some staff are working from home, some are working in mostly empty buildings, and others are taking time to re-group while next decisions are made.  Many SPARK libraries are offering expanded digital resources and new ways of connecting with streaming story hours and programs.   As always, SHARE your ideas with others on the listservs, the forums, to fellow User Group and Committee members, in the online meeting room, or by submitting to SPARK Support for inclusion in the Knowledge Book.

Here’s a little re-cap of the last week:  And an update in our support book.

  • PaILS worked with our vendor to put a standard message about the closing, using the Maintenance Message portion of the public catalog.
  • If your location hadn’t applied the Emergency Closing Handler feature before Saturday on your own, it was applied for you.
    • This feature adjusted due dates and extended hold pickup time.
    • Overdue fees will not continue to accrue during closed days.
    • Patrons can place holds in your online catalog, to be queued up for when we return, but your daily hold shelf pull list will not populate unless you change a setting.
  • Standard patron facing notifications were turned off; an overdue or hold pickup notice isn’t useful to your patrons right now.
  • To increase digital access, patrons who were in a window of expiration had their expiration date pushed forward.  Many locations requested even more batch patron expiration date updates and those are being processed.
  • If you want to adjust your Group Penalty Threshold to increase it to allow those with higher fines to access digital services, ask Support.
  • Software maintenance was completed and many bug fixes were applied.
  • Library staff who are working have begun data analysis and cleanup projects.  We’re talking through ideas and continuing to make progress.

Thank you for all of your support and courage.  Embrace the future with your fellow SPARK Libraries together.

Katie Greenleaf MartinFriday Fearless Focus on the Future