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

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

Welcome Adams County


The libraries of Adams County, PA went live with SPARK on May 23. Gettysburg, Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin, Carroll Valley, Harbaugh-Thomas, Littlestown, and the New Oxford Area Library are now part of our growing consortium. We’re excited to welcome them, and we’re looking forward to being a part of all the good things they do for library service in South Central Pennsylvania.

lugeneWelcome Adams County

Plan Ahead for Offline Circulation

Carrie Clearycalendar event, Circulation, support, Training

PaILS Director of Technology and System Support, Lugene Shelly will offer a live online training about Offline Circulation on Friday, June 7 at 11a.m.

Be prepared so that you and your staff are ready to respond if your Internet connection goes down or the SPARK hosted Evergreen application experiences a downtime.

Circulation–>Offline Circulation

Attend this session for a refresher of using Offline Circulation. You could prepare by reading Evergreen documentation or SPARK support documentation.

Attend this session and make a plan so your location is ready:

  • Review the steps: Create, Upload, and Process.
  • Do you know who is responsible at your location to download the Block List? How often is it done?
  • What logins allow the import of Offline Circulation transactions?
  • Do you understand the different types of Exceptions you may encounter?

Instructions for Joining our Online Meeting:

Training on Using Offline Mode
Fri, Jun 7, 2019 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 742-652-301

Carrie ClearyPlan Ahead for Offline Circulation

Want to Try a New Module?

Carrie ClearyAcquisitions, Booking, Evergreen, support

Did you or your staff attend the Evergreen Conference 2019 at the end of April and come home brimming with energy and inspiration to try something new?

Perhaps your library is now excited about using Acquisitions or Booking or even Serials.

SPARK support is here to help. If you are thinking of trying a new module that your location hasn’t used before, please contact us to start the conversation and tell us what you are planning. For first contact, submit a request or visit during SPARK Support LIVE.

Acquisitions: Start exploring on your own by reading the Evergreen documentation. Let Support know if you want to experiment on the test server to get a feel for things or start planning for implementation. The Acquisitions module in Evergreen has various administration pieces, such as EDI ordering, that will need to be properly configured. Notify support of your plans so we can work with our host, arrange for training, and network you with other libraries using the module.  Note: Support may need time to plan, so consider that in your project timeline.

Slide from Joy of Booking

Booking: The Booking Module can make room reservations, or equipment reservations, or other real item reservations easy to track and schedule for your library. This Evergreen module is the newest and may have a bug or two, but tracking reservations is a feature that many libraries have purpose to implement. Let SPARK Support know if you are investigating use of this resource and we can perhaps provide assistance or learn more along with you and our member libraries as we explore new workflow possibilities using this module.

Serials: I see all over local documentation that if you don’t “claim” serials issues as missing with a subscription manager, and only have a popular magazine collection, that this module may not interest you. At any rate, serials got some attention at the Evergreen Conference, and it has some neat features. Let SPARK support know what your plans are or if you want to use a test server as a sandbox of sorts.

Carrie ClearyWant to Try a New Module?

Circulation Committee Meeting

Carrie Clearycalendar event, Circulation, Opportunity for Community, User Groups

The Circulation Committee will be hosting an online Committee Meeting on Thursday, May 16 at 2p.m.

Remember these?
Date Due stamped on paper

If you would like to attend the Committee Meeting, join online with a computer that has speakers and a microphone or read the instructions being sent via the mailing list about how to dial in with your telephone for sound.

The preliminary agenda is listed below:

  • Welcome New Executive Director
  • Update on Charter: Accepted.
  • Conference Review: Who Attended? Reports and Feedback
  • Using Webby: Concerns, Libraries need help?
  • Date for Evergreen Upgrade: Local Plan discussions
  • Draft Training Outline for Circulation for 3.3: Call for volunteers to create training videos and documentation.
Carrie ClearyCirculation Committee Meeting

Catalogers Unite at Town Hall

Carrie Clearycalendar event, Catalog, Opportunity for Community, User Groups

The SPARK Cataloging Committee invites you to the first online Cataloging Town Hall on Wednesday, May 22nd at 2:00 PM.  

Like the recently hosted Reports Town Hall, at this event you will have the opportunity to ask all of your questions. 

Card Catalog
Old School Paper Catalog

If you have a question about cataloging or would like to see something specific demonstrated, please submit it to the Cataloging Committee Chairperson or email to the SPARK-CAT listserv as a Town Hall Advance Question no later than Friday, May 17th.   The Committee wants to be prepared to cover your cataloging curiosities. 

Connection information for the Town Hall meeting is below.  The Cataloging Committee hopes to see you there! No advance registration is required.

Cataloging Town Hall for SPARK Libraries 
Wed, May 22, 2019 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT 

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 

You can also dial in using your phone. 
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212 Access Code: 703-767-821 

Carrie ClearyCatalogers Unite at Town Hall


Carrie Clearycalendar event, Opportunity for Community, support

Attend an open office hours LIVE work session with PaILS’s Director of Technology and System Support, Lugene.

Tuesday, April 16 from 2p.m. to 4p.m.

Thursday, April 18 from 10a.m. to noon

Don’t worry if you miss this week, in future weeks, we’ll have different hours to serve library staff who work varying hours around the Commonwealth.

Format: This is a trial for a new way to offer immediate support. We’ll take questions one at a time. We can’t guarantee answers, but we’ll do our best to work through your problems. This session, or portions of it, may be recorded.

The live “Help Desk” support hours demonstrate our commitment to customer service. Just drop in and talk to us directly either about an open ticket you have or about a new situation. Be at your computer and we can enable screen sharing to walk through the situation together.

Expect to share your screen to demonstrate your failure or success with something you are trying to do in our SPARK Evergreen installation. Lugene and the community will work on it together, live.

Come with a problem, come with a solution, or just come to watch and learn from Lugene and others in the community how they use SPARK. Problem solvers should feel free to attend these hours to offer help if it matches their schedule.

Intended Audience: In the first few weeks, this SPARK Support Live is recommended for SPARK community members that have a LibAdmin, Tech Services, Circulation Supervisor permission level. In future weeks we may offer hours targeted for people with specific permission levels or on specific topics.

A post and the link to this live meeting will also be shared on the Users Mailing list.

Service is first in the list of Pennsylvania Integrated Library System’s values, closely followed by Stability, Collaboration, Empowerment, Evolution, and Open.

Carrie ClearySPARK Support LIVE!