We started our training on Monday, Oct 4. We spent the first day working on administrative issues. Cathi, Reference Librarian David Dolim, City IT staff member Alan Chow, and myself attended this training. Brendan Gallagher from ByWater Solutions was our patient trainer. We worked on patron and item types, patron attributes, authorized values, and setting permissions for staff. Initially those attending were set as "superlibrarians" meaning they can do everything with the system, we also discussed setting up the permissions for rest of the staff. We talked about how we would handle power and/or hardware failures, backing up data, and Linux commands. The morning went by quickly... I wished I had time to practice what I had learned but then in the afternoon, it was on to writing Reports. Several additional staff members attended that session. We learned about the wizard procedure for creating reports in six steps and then using the already created SQL Reports. [This was a little bit confusing at this time since our patron database has not been added yet.] Some of the reports we decided to run didn't give us the expected results.
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, we had training for the Technical Services staff. There were many questions... what we do now and how will that work with Koha. In fact having procedures accomplished in Symphony handled differently in Koha were stumbling blocks for all sections of the Library. Things will need to change and change is hard! The catalogers were dissappointed with the authorities in Koha. The system doesn't alert the staff if an authority is new, so to be safe they need to check each one. This will add to their cataloging time (more steps in the process.) We found out that improving the authorities is in development however it will take some time and money to work it all out. We talked about adding bibliographic records to the database but didn't actually try it. (A procedure will need to be set up.) We then checked out the Acquisitions module. We found out that this is not useful to us in its current iteration since we are not able to order directly from the system so we would need to enter the bibliographic information in both the catalog and the acquisition module. We will use it for patron purchase recommendations. (Maybe in the future releases we will be able to use this module. (Please note, that we don't use an Acquisitions module now so we aren't losing anything.) Our final module explored on Tuesday was Serials. This will take some time to set up but will be very useful. Currently we have an excel spreadsheet for check-in but soon we will have the ability to be alerted for items to claim.
We held Wednesday's training in our Tech Center. We were closed to the public so we could devote our time and attention to training. The morning session covered Circulation. We all added patrons to the database, checked out
to them, placed holds, and then discharged the items. The issue of partial payments not being a clear cut procedure was discussed. Our Circulation Supervisor Andre Gonzalez will be devising a standard procedure for our staff to follow. We then went to the Circulation Desk to make sure that our scanners and receipt printers would work with Koha. (A little tweaking is needed with the receipts so we don't waste paper; we think that we will need to use different printer drivers.) The afternoon was devoted to the OPAC and searching the catalog as a staff member. We liked many of the features of the OPAC... adding comments, tagging, RSS feeds, the possibility of adding a link to New DVDs, etc. that will change as we add new titles.
I was pleased that staff asked so many questions during the training. Now we need to practice so we feel comfortable with the system. We are scheduled to go live with Koha on Monday, Dec. 13.