Want to Try a New Module?

Katie Greenleaf MartinAcquisitions, 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.

Katie Greenleaf MartinWant to Try a New Module?

Circulation Committee Meeting

Katie Greenleaf Martincalendar 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.
Katie Greenleaf MartinCirculation Committee Meeting

Catalogers Unite at Town Hall

Katie Greenleaf Martincalendar 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 

Katie Greenleaf MartinCatalogers Unite at Town Hall


Katie Greenleaf Martincalendar 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.

Katie Greenleaf MartinSPARK Support LIVE!

What Should I Bring to the Evergreen Conference?

Katie Greenleaf MartinEvergreen, Training

Are you planning the details for your trip to the Evergreen Conference?
I know I am, so I thought I’d tell you a little about how I’m planning.

Mental Prep:  I watched a webinar to brush up on some networking/relationship building skills. I’m learning base level competencies and watching action in the Evergreen community so I can see where I can volunteer my skills to the open source group and match communication protocols.  I read the conference schedule and am considering which classes to attend.  I’m ready with an elevator speech for new people I meet and thought about some stories to share.  I’m pumping up my energy and am ready to make in-person connections with PaILS membership and the greater open source community.  I’m remembering the networking game and thinking about things I offer, things  I need, and things that make me and my org interesting.  I’m excited to meet  you all; we share such important work.

Arrange Household Care: For me its pets and my plants that need care, since my husband is attending the conference too.  (He’s my biggest supporter, so now he’s Evergreen’s newest supporter too. He’s also a skilled technology wizard that is setting up the infrastructure for my home access experiments on 3.3.)  Without confidence in a care plan for my pets, I could never leave home for longer than a few hours at a time.  The struggle is real.   It’s also garden season, I can’t let my vegetable babies dry out.  To truly engage at a conference event, you have to trust good things are happening at home in your absence.  My plan is in place.

Plan for Your Absence from Work: How will staff handle your time away?  Have you prepped the schedule and everyone?  Are instructions written, or do you simply trust your awesome staff will use best judgement it in the moment?  Will you use the Out of Office reply on your email? 

Transportation: What have you arranged? Are you or others from your office carpooling?  (Side Note: Wanna ride with me?  I will be driving from Duncannon to the Valley Forge Casino Resort to arrive very early Wednesday.  I’ve got space in the passenger seat of my car, maybe I can squeeze in two… I’d love to chat with you all the way there or back–let me know if you want to set up a meeting spot.)

The Wardrobe:  Dress code is my least favorite subject.  I consider lots of factors in my plan and I’m known to overcomplicate sometimes.  Weather: It’s late April, so unpredictable, and anyway we’ll be in a conference center, so self-adjusting with layers is key to success.  Comfort: Yes, please.  Style: I love color.   Level: Who am I meeting? How will I choose to conform to social norms or be interesting?   Dressing is easy for some, but sometimes it’s hard to decide.  My clothes don’t tell a story of money spent, and usually have stray pet hairs on them–it’s unavoidable.  I’ll aim for basic dresses, skirts, and comfy shoes with a pair of jeans or corduroys for more casual events.  Authentically me–and I’m best when I feel confident. 

All the Little Things to Pack: Don’t forget the laptop, chargers, flash drives, your note-taking device, snacks to meet your needs, personal spending cash, or more…  and Keys, wallet, phone… 

I have a lot of other things to pack, because PaILS/SPARK will have a booth at the conference.  I’ve got banners and table covers and some pens and keychains with our brand.  The booth may not be a constantly staffed place.  We’ll have some materials and information out, as well as a flipchart easel as a place to create content around conference ideas.  I will use the booth as a meet up spot.  If we start a good conversation, I may say,  “hey meet at the PaILS / SPARK booth at such and let’s brainstorm and record that idea.”  I am planning to SPARK conversations and build relationships at the conference and I hope you are planning to too. 

Bonus for PaILS member library staff: We had badge ribbons made so we will be able to identify each other at the conference. It’s a custom piece of flair.  I believe we’ll be a able to hand them out at registration.  

Continue the conversation about how you are preparing for the conference…  Comments are open here, or start a conversation on the mailing list.  I’m excited–it’s approaching very quickly!

Katie Greenleaf MartinWhat Should I Bring to the Evergreen Conference?

Farewell XUL; Hello 3.3

Katie Greenleaf MartinEvergreenLeave a Comment

PaILS staff are hard at work on a plan and timeline for the next upgrade of SPARK’s Evergreen ILS. We are making preparations now, to be certain that it is a smooth process for our membership.

We will plan a timeline with our providers and with you so we are ready for new functionality and exciting enhancements in (likely) version 3.3.

When the upgrade happens, the XUL, aka: Evergreen’s desktop staff client, will no longer be available for use. You will delete the XUL (say goodbye) from all of your staff workstations and always use the browser based interface for actions in SPARK. Thanks to the many member libraries that have led the way and have already said farewell to the XUL and only use Webby now.

Are you currently using Webby? If not, why not? Let SPARK support know how we can help you to use the browser based interface more.

If something doesn’t work as you wish in the Web Client, please let us know. Sometimes changing a workflow is the answer and sometimes, it is a known issue that the upgrade improves. Help the SPARK community by making a list of things that you and your library still use the XUL client for. You can comment here and share it below on this blog, or contact your staff support team (Carrie and Lugene) at SPARK.

We haven’t settled on a specific date yet, but should be ready to announce the upgrade timeline at the Evergreen conference.

Katie Greenleaf MartinFarewell XUL; Hello 3.3

SPARK Welcomes Degenstein Community Library!

lugeneNew Member

On March 21, 2019 The Degenstein Community Library in Sunbury, PA, Northumberland County, went live on SPARK. We’re excited to welcome Library Director Melissa Rowse and her staff and patrons to SPARK.

lugeneSPARK Welcomes Degenstein Community Library!

Learn Reports

Katie Greenleaf MartinReports1 Comment

If you are a SPARK member and your work involves writing and running reports, please be sure you are signed up for the Reports Mailing List. The managed list-serv allows members to send questions and share answers with like minded peer libraries who also use the Reports features of the SPARK Evergreen ILS installation. If you aren’t sure who is the Reports master for you location, find out–maybe it should be YOU. Join the official SPARK Reports Listserv.

There is a Reports Town Hall online meeting scheduled for March 27, 2019 at 2p.m. This is an online meeting. All SPARK users who are interested in reports can attend. Ask questions of our Reports gurus and leaders, or share your own tips and tricks to get the results you need to understand the big data picture that library use paints. If you have specific questions you hope to have answered at this meeting, try adding a comment below.

Another place to share information or questions you want to have answered about reports is in the support forum. Check it out.

Katie Greenleaf MartinLearn Reports

PaILS Welcomes new Executive Director


The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS)  is pleased to announce the appointment of Carrie Cleary as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective March 4th, 2019. Carrie has a history of serving Pennsylvania libraries as a former District Consultant for the Capital Area Library District and as Project Manager for the Pennsylvania Public Library Broadband Project. She brings with her a strong technology background and a deep commitment to serving library patrons throughout the Commonwealth.

The PaILS Board of Directors is looking forward to working with Carrie to continue to grow SPARK and to serve Pennsylvania libraries.

Carrie Cleary – Professional Biography:

Carrie Cleary has had a long career of service to libraries.  It all started in her Iowa hometown public library where she shelved books and typed and filed cards for the paper card catalog.  She worked at Iowa State University Design Center Reading room while she pursued her BS in English.  After graduation, she began her first professional job as Library Director for a rural public library.  After three years in Mediapolis, Iowa, including completion of an emergency renovation project after arson devastated the building, Carrie moved to Boston to attend Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science part-time while she worked at Harvard Law School Library as Access Services Supervisor.  Upon completion of her MLS, she became District Consultant for the Capital Area Library District at the Dauphin County Library System.  Serving over eight years in that role, Carrie worked on many projects with all types and sizes of Pennsylvania public libraries.  Carrie then served as Project Manager for the PA Public Library Broadband Project.  To support her husband’s career, Carrie relocated to the Seattle area in 2015, working a short term job analyzing Mobile Services homebound delivery for King County Library System—where she used the Evergreen ILS—before returning to Pennsylvania last year.
Carrie experiments often with open source software and appreciates “technology as a tool,” as long as the cost isn’t too high and security and privacy is respected.  Carrie is an organic gardener and home cook.  She enjoys reading and watching science fiction and horror.  Carrie is a baseball fan for the Red Sox.  Carrie currently lives in Perry County with her husband, Michael, and her beloved dog and cat. 

lugenePaILS Welcomes new Executive Director

Welcome to the Clymer Library in Monroe County!

lugeneNew Member

Today the Clymer Library in Pocono Pines, PA (Monroe County) goes live on SPARK! The Clymer Library opened in 1906, and like many early libraries, evolved into a community institution that is essential to the vitality of the region. Clymer joins other Monroe County libraries — Smithfields Public Library, Pocono Township Public Library, Pocono Mountain Public Library, and Eastern Monroe Public Library — on SPARK.

lugeneWelcome to the Clymer Library in Monroe County!