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Unexpected School Closures

Sometimes unexpected events occur throughout the year and library situations change. If your school or library is closing early or going online, here are some suggestions and resources for making this transition with your library easier.

Unexpected School Closure "Emergency" Procedures (4:51)

Learn how to prepare your library for an unexpected closure (adjusting calendars, sending messages, and adding Explore buttons).


Remote Access

If you are Self-Hosted and have Alexandria only accessible on your school network, you may want to open it up to outside access. Work with your Network Administrator or IT Specialist to set this up. They can see detailed instructions in our Web Settings and Controller Web Settings articles. If you are Cloud Hosted, Alexandria is already accessible to anyone anywhere who has the URL.

Staff

Anyone who needs to access Librarian can follow our instructions on Accessing Alexandria. They will need an operator username and password.

Patrons

Patrons can access Researcher from home by simply typing your library's URL into an internet browser's search bar. They can log into their account to access Patron Status, which will give them an overview of their account. They'll also have access to links and resources on the main Researcher pane.

Holds

Patrons can place holds in Researcher to be picked up later. To allow them to view and edit their holds, go to Tools > Preferences > Security. Click on your patron security group and go to the Account tab. Make sure the Holds setting is Manage.


Maintenance

There are several things librarians and administrators may want to do as libraries close or go remote:

Adjust Calendars

Adding closure days to your calendars will automatically prevent overdue fines. To do this, go to Tools > Preferences > Calendars. On the appropriate calendar, click once on the days you want to close, including past days the library has been closed. Click Save in the top right corner when you're done. After adjusting your calendar, you will need to run the Recompute Due Dates utility, which will change due dates so nothing is due during the closure period.

If you need to change due dates to be sooner or later without adjusting your calendar, run the Change Due Date utility.

V6

Check out our v6 instructions on updating your calendar and using the Fix Due Date utility afterwards.

Turn Off Email Notices

Go to the Circulation Settings tab in Circulation Preferences and uncheck Enable Automatic Email Notifications. Remember to turn this back on once school resumes.

If you have saved reports, you'll also need to follow these steps:

  1. Check for saved reports by going to Tools > Reports. Make sure you have the All Reports category selected before clicking on the Saved tab. If you only need to check email notices to patrons, then click on the Notices subcategory within the Circulation category instead.
  2. Scheduled reports will have a calendar icon to the right of the saved report's name. Check the Options tab of each one.
  3. If the scheduled report shows a format of "Email" on the Options tab, then click on the Schedule tab, unlock  the page, and uncheck Schedule Report. Click Save.
  4. Once saved, those scheduled emails will stop going out. Just be sure to remember which ones need to be turned back on later once school resumes.

V6

Check out our v6 instructions on turning off automatic emails.

Shut Down and Backups

This would be a good time to run a backup for your Alexandria system. Only Self-Hosted libraries need to worry about doing this manually. COMPanion automatically performs backups for Cloud Hosted libraries.

After performing a backup, Self-Hosted libraries can stop their Data Station from running and log out any active operators by going to Tools > Administration. Click on the  Actions menu in the top left corner and select Quit Alexandria.

Other Considerations
  • Override due dates. If you need to make temporary adjustments to your checkout periods—for longer or shorter checkouts—set an override date as you check out items. 


Online Communication

There are several ways you can use Alexandria to distribute information and stay connected:

  • Add explore buttons. Add buttons to your Researcher pane that link to PowerSchool or other technologies being used for online school. Check out our instructions on configuring Explore buttons and using Explore Builder in general.
  • Send messages. If you need to send an email to everyone or a select group, use the Send Email report. Simply select who you want to receive the message, type the message on the Options tab, and hit Run.

V6

Check out our v6 instructions on managing bulletin boards and using Explore Builder.

Adding Online Resources

If your school is now taking advantage of more online resources, considering cataloging them so they're "bookmarked" for patrons. Once catalogued, they'll show up in Researcher and can be added to lists.