2022 and Beyond with Johnson County Library, KS
We asked a few of our library customers questions about the impact pandemic closures had on their operations and collections processes and here is what Alyssa of Johnson County Library had to say.
Describe ways in which WT Cox was able to assist you and your staff navigate various collection management challenges during COVID?
Library Closure - In March 2020, our systemâ€™s administrative team made the difficult decision to close all library branches. Because a re-opening date was unknown, our team decided cancel our newspaper subscriptions. We made a list of titles and sent them to our WT Cox rep. Our representative quickly sent cancellation updates to those specified titles and requested any applicable credits. She really made the whole process a lot less stressful during a time of such uncertainty.
Library Re-opening - Once we received word of a re-opening date, we scheduled a virtual call with our WT Cox representative to devise a plan to get our newspaper titles back up and running. We discussed multiple options, learned a lot about the ordering and renewal process, and worked together towards a possible solution. Per our repâ€™s suggestion, we decided to go with a â€œpartial renewalâ€� and submit our newspaper orders right away. Our representative and Customer Service Manager worked with the IT department to make a partial submission of our renewal possible because the system wasnâ€™t set up like that initially. This allowed us to get our newspaper titles started in time for re-opening and allow us to complete the remaining part of our renewal as previously scheduled. The WT Cox team really thought outside the box and created a solution that reduced a lot of work down the line.
WT Cox helped us start the process of getting nearly 20 newspaper titles restarted for delivery. When we had a change of representatives last year, our newest rep conducted a whole newspaper audit on her own accord. She contacted publishers, verified expire dates, and diligently kept track of titles that had yet to start delivery.
Managing Suspended Titles - COVID greatly impacted multiple points of the supply chain â€“ publishers, distributors, staffing levels, and physical materials. We were kept up to date with consistent messaging from WTCox on titles that cancelled, suspended, stopped accepting agency orders, etc. Our representative and the whole WTCox team were very responsive to our questions and requests for follow-up on publishing status. They did a great job in making sure we either received credit for missing issues or replacement copies.
We are still very much in the midst of COVID, but we think WTCoxâ€™s attention to communication (especially from our rep, Stacey) has been a crucial part of maintaining good and quality services for our patrons even when certain things are out of our and Coxâ€™s control. I think everyone is more at ease when they know something is being looked at/taken care of, and Stacey has done an excellent job of that.
Share examples of solutions and strategies that you and your WT Cox team were able to implement.
â€œPartial Renewalâ€� Solution - As previously mentioned above, our WTCox team worked together to create the possibility of a â€œpartial renewalâ€� for our titles to get started as soon as possible. Typically, a customer submits a renewal once a year. That is the time to typically cancel, renew, or add titles to your collection. Instead of waiting for our renewal date, which was months away, WTCox worked together with IT to get titles on our pre-existing accounts submitted.
Adjusting Our Renewal Schedule - There were other options we could have taken to get our newspaper titles started for reopening but that would have involved creating more accounts to manage. By WT Cox finding a way for us to keep the accounts we had but still get our papers started with the partial renewal, all we had to do was then anticipate doing our future renewals earlier in the year to avoid lapses. WT Cox made that super easy once again by simply changing the date in their system on when to post our renewals.
Setting Reminders - Unfortunately, some titles do experience continuing issues and need to be followed-up on regularly. Our WT Cox rep sets reminders for herself to check with us on the status of problems. It gives us a lot of peace knowing that we have another team member with such accountability and diligent management of titles.
What new directions do you intend to take your collection due to the impacts of COVID as you look to the future?
Expansion of Digital Titles and Resources COVID impacted multiple parts of the supply chain: publishers (i.e., cancelled titles, no longer accepting agency orders, going fully digital) and distributors (i.e., mail delays, troubles with local couriers and distribution centers who have staffing shortages and closures). Weâ€™ve experienced all those types of problems since the beginning of the pandemic. In these instances, our online resources and e-editions have been a crucial tool for our library staff on the frontlines. When we donâ€™t have a physical copy for patrons to look through, we can at least try to direct them to an online edition or resource instead. So the expansion of our digital collection is and will continue to be a high priority moving forward.
Alyssa - Johnson County Library