2019 Reports

Carrie ClearyDiscussion Starter, Reports, support, User Groups

2019 was an active year for PaILS members. 

Check out this list of top circulating collection titles from the combined SPARK libraries using Evergreen catalog in 2019.

Did your favorite title or author make the list?

Note: This list excludes circulation counts for things like the bathroom key or public computers that some libraries track use of using records and items.


Data accessed via the Reports Module of Evergreen is just one element that helps to tell our success stories.

Today, I ran and compiled 2019 reports to organize SPARKwide data to demonstrate the impact PaILS makes with our offering of open source software to members.


I’m thankful for the Reports Committee and for all SPARK Community participation.

Your participation helps build library relationships.  Together we increase confidence, understanding of library data, and find ways to save staff time with reports.

The templates you need for data reporting are available, or can be created if the data exists.

Let’s keep working together to find ways to use reports that make your workflows easier:

  • Ask a question by sending a message to the Reports listserv
  • Send in a support ticket detailing what the output you want from a report would look like and we’ll work on it and learn more together.


2020 Reports Plans and Ideas:

  • Project to better organize shared templates.
  • Assistance with 2019 Annual Reports: Help selecting templates and understanding report output.
  • Project to clearly define templates (or create new templates) that function best for your location(s) based on how you are set up in the system and what type of location you are.
  • Creation of new templates for cash/financial reporting sources.
  • Creation of templates for data cleanup projects.  Know that report output can only be as good as your data–some reports can be used to find outliers or errors.  Recurring reports can help meet your workflow needs.
  • Registration for Intermediate Reports Training on January 21 is full; links to attend the training will be sent before the session and the session will be recorded for those who can’t attend live.
  • Trainings, documentation, and one-on-one assistance–let SPARK Support and the Reports Committee know what is important to you.




Carrie Cleary2019 Reports

Job Opportunities

Carrie ClearyNews, PaILS

Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS) is a non-profit membership organization that provides access to a hosted open source Evergreen ILS software to a growing and engaged community of libraries in Pennsylvania.

We are seeking employees who are highly skilled, productive, self-motivated, and have a tendency to embrace change and automation through technology.

Successful candidates will work independently and on collaborative teams using remote communication technology tools and in-person meetings to solve problems and implement ideas.  PaILS staff keep up with current developments in technology and excel at customer service and support to help libraries around the state thrive.

Apply today for one of these positions:

How to Apply:  Send cover letter and resume as a single .pdf via email with subject line Integrated Library System Application Specialist or Member Support Technician to career@sparkpa.org.   Applications will be accepted until positions are filled with ideal candidates; review will begin immediately.

Carrie ClearyJob Opportunities

Pennsylvania Library Association Conference

Carrie Clearycalendar event, Opportunity for Community, PaILS

Stop by to see the staff of Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS) in Erie at the Pennsylvania Library Association Conference.

Come network with us.  Find our exhibitor booth or attend the SPARK Community presentation: SPARKing Relationships & Resource Sharing.

What do we offer?  A shared installation of the open source ILS Evergreen and a fantastic community of libraries and support resources.

What do we need?  Libraries to join us in serving patrons and meeting community needs.

Ask about PaILS Membership if you want to:

  • Embrace change
  • Improve work flows
  • Resource share
  • Network and problem solve with like-minded libraries
  • and Build a community around use of open source library software and technology.

P.S. Lugene will be bringing Mallo Cups.

Art at Ralpho Township Public Library

Carrie ClearyPennsylvania Library Association Conference

The Networking Game

Carrie Clearycalendar event, Opportunity for Community, Training

Free Webinar

Prepare to attend the upcoming Pennsylvania Library Association conference, an Evergreen conference, or a Committee, Town Hall, or User Group Meeting by participating in this online training.

The Networking Game:

Engaging with Colleagues at Your Consortia, Professional Associations, and Conferences

Oct 9, 2019 12pm EST

Register here:  attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6357355742617557515

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Even if you can’t attend the live webcast, sign up so you can receive an email with a link to the recording.


Weave your network

Perhaps the most valuable benefits of participating in a consortium, joining a professional organization, or visiting a conference are the networking opportunities.

Are you an experienced “schmoozer” who is comfortable chatting with strangers in hotel lobbies or are you intimidated by the notion of initiating a conversation even with people you work with? The Networking Game can prepare you for that next committee meeting, conference luncheon, membership event, or statewide or national convention, or the encounter with the nice stranger on the buffet line who makes funding decisions for a major foundation.

Learn about networking–information and idea exchange for mutual benefit–the Five Rules, and how to apply them in ways that are effective and respect the other person, regardless of your personality type or the situation.

This is a joint project of the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS) and Pattern Research, Inc.

Pat Wagner and her husband Leif Smith ran an international networking service for 25 years and facilitated dozens of networking events, from small salons to international conferences. Pat has been a trainer and consultant since 1978. She focuses on improving productivity and workplace relationships for libraries, higher ed, government, nonprofits, and small businesses.

Key Idea: Mutual Aid Works


  • Introduction: The Benefits of Networking
  • Five Rules and Their Practical Application
    • Be Useful
    • Don’t Be Boring
    • Listen
    • Ask questions
    • Play the Wild Card
  • Next Steps and Resources


  • Be prepared to share what you offer and what you need when you attend your next conference.
  • Build working relationships with new people and maintain and improve long term connections.
  • Build trust and respect with your professional allies.
  • Solve problems and locate new resources.
  • Build “team spirit” through shared experiences.
Carrie ClearyThe Networking Game

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Carrie ClearyCirculation, Discussion Starter

PaILS is prepared to help your location celebrate September as Library Card Sign-Up Month with some new fields/features available in the Evergreen 3.3 software when you register a patron.

Download and customize this 8.5 x 11 form:  Patron Registration Form Sample

Download and customize this small format form:  IndexCardSizePatronRegistrationForm

  • When was the last time you updated your library’s Patron Registration Form?
  • Does your current form reflect the Required Fields and some of the Suggested Fields like Preferred Name or Parent/Guardian?
  • Is the form in a good order for the patron to complete and for the staff to enter the data on your Evergreen screen?
  • Does your registration form (and local policy) allow you to collect a patron’s desire to allow another to pick up holds on their behalf? (This feature is also known as the Privacy Waiver.)
  • How do you handle collection of special stat cats?
  • Do you hand out Patron Registration Forms at outreach events or to realtors to include in Welcome Baskets, at Senior Centers, housing developments, at schools/day camps/day cares so people can bring in the form already completed?

Please share copies of Patron Registration Forms or other forms you are proud of with the SPARK Community via the mailing lists or the Committees. We can learn a lot by seeing great examples.  Perhaps you have a form in a different size or with other fields that are important–share it.

We have partly anonymized the forms shared here to represent a combination of ideas collected from a few other SPARK Community forms.   Thanks to all who shared and worked on this so far.

Carrie ClearySeptember is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Authority Control Project: Who is this Authority Anyway?

Carrie ClearyCatalog, Discussion Starter, User Groups

PaILS Project Title:  Authority Control 2019

What is Authority Control?  Here’s a page from Evergreen documentation that helps to begin to explain it.  It’s a significant detail for catalogers to understand.

Project Plan: A group of  community members with cataloging expertise and PaILS support staff will work with Equinox and Backstage to set up an Authority Control Profile.

Resources Needed:  Time of Community (accepted volunteers), Project Management Time, Leadership and Final Decision making approval, Online Meeting Space and Document storage, Place to Archive Project Results, Funds to pay Equinox and Backstage for data services provided.   These resources are committed.

Output Expected: Improved catalog accuracy through better understanding of Subject Authority rules that we can all agree upon.  This will make the next de-dup better and allow us to strategize to delete legacy records, much improved statewide searching through consistency and shorter lists.  I’m hopeful it will improve relevancy results of searches too.  This is a clean-up and analysis project.

Why are we doing this?  What is the expected change or outcome?  A better catalog for our customers and libraries to use when searching for items they want.

Timeline: This project was written to be completed by end of September 2019.  This was an expected plan to do this project on this timeline.

If you have questions about this project, the Cataloging listserv would be a great place to start a conversation.

Carrie ClearyAuthority Control Project: Who is this Authority Anyway?

Support and Ticketing Site Address Changing Soon

Carrie ClearyPaILS, support, System Maintenance

Be prepared, PaILS staff are in the process of moving our current support site and Help Desk software from http://support.sparkpa to an upgraded hosted server at HelpSpot.  The URL/address of the site will change to https://sparkpa.helpspot.com/

Please update your bookmarks and links to the site effective late evening July 18, or start of business July 19.

Roaring cat, because librarians like cat pictures.

There will be an hour or two when the site is not accessible, after 7p.m. on Wednesday July 18, but when it comes back, at start of business on Thursday, July 19, the support site will have SSL, more space, more speed, more logins, and be hosted on more up-to-date hardware and operating systems.

We will also soon release a new form to entering your Support Ticket question and will optimize the workflow of staff so we can better serve the community.  New chapters are being added to our knowledge books every day.

Thanks for being a part of our SPARK Community.

Carrie ClearySupport and Ticketing Site Address Changing Soon

Contacting Support and Queue Management Strategy

Carrie ClearyPaILS, support, Uncategorized

The SPARK Support portal is full of questions and ideas for implementing the most effective workflows and policies right now. We are also planning for the upgrade to 3.3. Please continue to be patient as we work through a long list. If you have an open request that you believe needs immediate attention, please call directly and we’ll set a priority timeline together. If something is stopping your success, PaILS staff wants to empower you to move what stands in your way.

Here’s a little update of things to come. Our support site is moving to a new host soon. Our timeline isn’t set in stone, as we are in a testing phase now. We are working with a trusted vendor who also supports open source projects to ensure it is smooth. We anticipate 2 hours of downtime on our support site. The new support site will offer access to 5 users. I anticipate for right now, the accounts will be assigned as: 2 to 2FTE PaILS staff members and 3 to Committee Leadership. We aim to build knowledge books and documentation that will offer support before, during, and after migration, as well as opportunities for the Community to share more of what you do. We learn from each other–that’s the best thing.

Support staff will be changing the way we categorize requests and will soon institute a priority rating system. Upon entry of a support request, you will have an opportunity to rate Urgency, Importance, and Impact: whether the issue effects just your location/system/a resource sharing consortium/all of SPARK/or the Evergreen Community. That will help us get the best results from our limited human time and prepare to hire new support staff in the future.

SPARK Support plans to post instructions for a sort of “Open Enrollment” period strategy for making certain changes. If you want to make a change to a shelving location, policy, or catalog link in the middle of a month, that’s fine, and that can happen, but some changes are best first tested, and then to be put into the live Production with the start of a month or quarter. We will offer “Review/Change Your Catalog Links” Month and “Shelving Location Analysis” Quarter, among other activities to encourage community participation. Having a clear change management process will make reports better and ensure we have communicated the changes and their impact on all stakeholders. I hope to present a draft of a calendar for community input soon.

The best is yet to come. Share more; have more.

Deck view: Looking into my garden: featuring coffee and just picked baby carrots.
Gardens and libraries grow with good plans.

Your work in libraries changes lives.

Thank you.

Carrie ClearyContacting Support and Queue Management Strategy

Resource Sharing Test Server soon to be version 3.3

Carrie ClearyEvergreen, Opportunity for Community, System Maintenance

SPARK has 3 servers, Production, Test, and Resource Sharing.

On Wednesday, June 12, SPARK’s Resource Sharing test server will be refreshed and upgraded to present Evergreen version 3.3.1–it will likely happen in the evening, so you will be able to try it out on or after Thursday, June 13.

Let support know if you want to volunteer to do some early testing on it. We are looking for community members to records short screen casts demonstrating common workflows and to create training documentation too.

Celebrate our SPARK open source community by participating.

Carrie ClearyResource Sharing Test Server soon to be version 3.3