January 27th, 2020

Do your library cards have expiration dates? If so, we have a handy new report that will make your life a little easier: Card Expiring Notice.

The Card Expiring Notice report sends out an email notice to all patrons whose cards are expiring in the next 30 days. That way, you and your patrons can stay ahead of the game and quickly take care of card renewals.

You'll need to have your Email Settings configured to use this report.

Also, all of your patrons will need an email address on their record. Want to see who doesn't have a listed email? We've got a report for that, too.


For now, you can try it out in the demo! The Card Expiring Notice report will become available on your own system whenever you update to 7.19.8. 


Automatically Open Report PDFs

January 21st, 2020

When you run a busy library, time-saving shortcuts can make a world of a difference. One way to save a few extra clicks is to set up your internet browser to automatically open downloaded PDFs, such as Alexandria reports.

Check out our new Managing PDFs article to get quick instructions on how to set this up in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. 


View Hidden Items in Researcher

January 13th, 2020

Ms. Boyle hides all teacher-only materials in Researcher so they won't show up in students' search results. But how do her teachers now view these hidden items? With Alexandria, searching for these when you need to is a breeze.

You can train your teachers to find hidden items in Researcher using these easy steps:

  1. Go to the Search module.
  2. Type in your search term(s) (e.g. "projectors") and add any other search criteria.
  3. Hold down Option / Alt on your keyboard while hitting the Return key.
  4. Hidden items that match your search criteria will show up in the results!

You can also search for hidden items by adding && (hidetitle::1) to a search string. For example, to search for projectors, you would type ((smart::projectors) && (hidetitle::1)).

To hide an item in Researcher, pull it up in Items Management , unlock unlocked lock the record, and check the Don't Show in Researcher checkbox on the Publication tab of the Title record. Be sure to hit Save when you're done editing the record.


And there you go! Now your teachers can easily find what they need.

This feature only exists in version 7. Still on version 6? Learn about switching to Alexandria 7! 

January 6th, 2020

Winter break has come to an end and it's time to get back to work. You find out a bunch of overdue fines accumulated over the break when the library was closed. Whoops! No need to worry, though. Alexandria has a utility to fix that!

Forgive Charges utility Options tab

Use our Forgive Charges utility to take care of accidental fines that accumulate over a break or unexpected snow day:

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities > Patrons > General > Forgive Charges.
  2. On the Selections tab, make any necessary selections (policy, grade, homeroom, etc).
  3. On the Options tab, choose Overdue Fines Only

    The Other Charges/Fees option forgives everything but lost fees and overdue fines.

  4. In the Transaction Date Starting field, enter the date of the first day of winter break.
  5. In the And Ending field, enter the date of the last day of winter break.
  6. Click Run.

And there you have it! All of those fines will disappear and you can return to normal circulation.


Get your items back before break!

December 16th, 2019

Winter break is just around the corner, which means it's time to heckle your patrons about returning their stuff on time. How can you notify patrons about coming due and overdue items at the same time? We've got a report for that!

Using the Coming Due Items Notice report for both coming due and overdue items is a breeze:

  1. Go to Tools > Reports > Circulation > Notices > Coming Due Items Notice.
  2. On the Selections tab, click on the arrow to the right of the Patrons with Items Due selection. Then click on Date Range.
  3. Leave the first date field blank. (This way, overdue items will be included as well.)
  4. Enter your ending date in the second date field. We suggest making this the last day before break.
  5. Make any other necessary selections (policy, grade, homeroom, etc).
  6. On the Options tab, choose in which format you'd like to send the notices. 

    Check out our documentation on the Coming Due Items Notice report to see what all of the different formats look like!

  7. If needed, customize the chosen format's checkboxes and notice text.
  8. Click Run.

If you chose to email the notices, you don't need to do anything else but wait for those books to come in! However, if you chose a paper format, you will need to download the notices from Operations Management wrench icon with red dot before printing and distributing them.


Happy holidays!

We hope you and your patrons have a wonderful break! Just as a reminder, Customer Support will still be available 24/7 to help you during the holidays. Simply give them a call at 1-800-347-4942 or send an email to support@goalexandria.com.


Help!—Training your patrons

December 9th, 2019

We know that training patrons on library software and answering constant questions can be time-consuming. Maybe your library is new to Alexandria, or your patrons just aren't super comfortable using Researcher yet... Whatever your situation, you should check out our new training videos for patrons!

Patron-Facing Search (2:17)

Each 1-2 minute video shows patrons how to do a basic function in Researcher, such as using Scout, placing holds, creating lists, and more. 

These videos can be viewed in two places:

  1. Go to the Alexandria University: Patron-Facing Interfaces playlist on our YouTube channel. 
  2. Or find them in the "Patron-Facing Interfaces" section of our Video Directory's Alexandria University tab.


Show the videos in a group setting, or give everyone the link to watch on their own time. Either way, your patrons will feel more confident navigating your catalog.

Help!—New reports documentation

November 25th, 2019

Which report shows the day of the week your library gets the most activity? How do you use the Title Information by Series report to see which titles you're missing in a particular series? We know navigating Alexandria reports can sometimes be a bit tricky. That's why we're thrilled to announce new reports documentation in our Support Center!

That's right. For every single report, you can now look up what it does, read about situations in which you might use it, and view PDF examples of each format.

This documentation is organized exactly like the reports section in Alexandria, with the same categories and subcategories. Start on the Complete Reports List page and click on a category icon or type the specific report's name in the search bar. Once you're on a subcategory page, click on the report's name to expand that section. 

For example...

If I were trying to find the Patron Balance report, I would click on the Circulation category icon, then the Charges and Information subcategory, and then Patron Balance. Or, if I didn't know which category icon to click on, I would simply type "Patron Balance report" in that page's little search bar and click on the subcategory that pops up in the results. Voilà!


Which reports do you use the most, and what do you use them for? Share with everyone in the comments!


November 18th, 2019

Dallin is notorious for having overdue books. They get mixed in with the rest of his books at home, and he can't remember what the covers look like. Luckily, you can now give patrons a list of their loaned items with cover art pictures by using Alexandria's Patron Details.


Giving Dallin a copy of his Patron Details with cover art will help him quickly identify his library books at home and—hopefully—return them on time.

Include cover art

Adding cover art to Patron Details is easy! Simply pull up a patron in Circulation, click on Details, and check the Include cover art checkbox. Cover art will then show for each loaned item when viewing, printing, or emailing Patron Details.

Before you go...

We are currently redesigning Patron Details to better meet your needs. Take our survey and give us your thoughts on potential designs!

November 11th, 2019

Do spelling errors sometimes get in the way of your patrons and the results they're looking for in Researcher? Good news! We know of something that will help: Chrome's Enhanced spell check.

With this handy tool, patrons will know they've made a spelling error in their search because it will be underlined in red. They can then right-click and choose the correct word from Chrome's listed suggestions.

How to enable Enhanced spell check
  1. Open a Google Chrome web browser.
  2. Click on the three dots to the right of the search bar ("Customize and control Google Chrome") and click on Settings.
  3. Click on Sync and Google services.
  4. Turn Enhanced spell check on.
  5. Complete this process for each search station in your library.
What makes Enhanced spell check different from Basic spell check?

Chrome's default Basic spell check has a limited database and only checks a small list of words. However, Enhanced spell check uses the same word list as the Google search engine, meaning it checks over a million words and phrases. Overall, it's quite advanced and catches more spelling errors.


Now you can sit back as those "elehpants" turn to "elephants" and patrons find exactly what they're looking for!

November 4th, 2019

Darla needs to find a book within a certain Lexile range for her upcoming book report. What's the most convenient way for her to view all of her options? Well, there are several ways she could use Alexandria's Researcher to find the perfect book at her reading level.

Filter Researcher Results

If Darla wants to find a book in her reading level range written by Rick Riordan, she can use the Study Program filter in Search along with searching "Rick Riordan." This way she can narrow results to both those in her reading level range and those written by that author. 

OR

If Darla needs a book in her reading level range but isn't exactly sure what she's looking for, using Browse by Study Program is the way to go! With this new option, she can select her reading level and see all of the available books in that range.

Set Preferred Study Programs

Make a particular study program appear first when looking at an item's details. 

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences > Researcher.
  2. Click on Explore, Search, or Scout.
  3. Select a study program using the Preferred Study Program dropdown menu.
  4. Click Save in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  5. Repeat with each Researcher module.

The option to select a preferred study program for Browse is coming soon.

Show or Hide Study Programs

Make commonly used study programs visible and hide those you don't use as much.

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences > Researcher.
  2. Click on Explore, Search, or Scout.
  3. Click on the Results List tab.
  4. Check or uncheck Show Study Program or Show Lexile depending on what you would like to show up.
  5. Repeat with each Researcher module.


And there you have it! These search options and preferences are simple ways to help patrons find books in their reading level more easily.

October 28th, 2019

How would you limit reference books so that only staff can check them out? Or, what if you needed to restrict third graders from checking out more than three DVDs at a time when usually they can check out up to five items? In Alexandria, you can do both of these things and more with Policy Exceptions!

Create a Policy Exception

Policy Exceptions modify the relationships and behavior between selected patron and item policies. And creating one is easy:

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences > Policies.
  2. Use the two dropdown menus to select the Patron Policy and Item Policy that, when combined, will create the policy exception.
  3. Click the Exceptions button. It should turn red.
  4. Go through the various tabs for both policies (Check Out, Overdue, and Other) and change the fields, dropdown menus, and checkboxes to the appropriate values.
  5. When you have successfully created your exceptions, click Save.
  6. A red outline should appear around every exception that was made (field, dropdown menu, and checkbox). You can check to make sure all of the appropriate exceptions are showing up.

You can also modify and remove existing exceptions. Keep in mind that changing a policy will not affect past transactions (i.e. items that are already checked out).


Customize Your Researcher Pane

October 21st, 2019

From school calendars and teacher websites to OverDrive and GoodReads, there are a lot of helpful sites you'd like to make it easy for patrons to access. But the question remains... where should you post all of these links? With Alexandria, the answer is simple: add them to your Researcher pane by using Explore Builder!

Customizing your Researcher pane (or "home page") is easy with Explore Builder. In addition to adding new icons and links, you can choose which search interfaces to include. Do your patrons never use Scout? Simply remove the icon and replace it with something else. You can also choose whether or not to link to modules like Self Service, Bulletins, or Patron Status.

How do you do all this with Explore Builder? Read through our easy breezy instructions on modifying your Researcher pane and changing your designated Researcher pane.

You can also customize Researcher's look by switching up your Styles or adding your own logo.

Before You Go...

Have you filled out our recent survey? If not, share your thoughts on study programs, Styles, new features, and more! Your feedback will help us make informed decisions about upcoming changes.


Help!—Workshops

October 14th, 2019

Having a hard time getting used to how Alexandria works? Wish you could get more help with things like running reports or customizing Researcher? Well, we have the perfect resource for you! Our training workshop videos provide in-depth information on all things Alexandria. And best of all—they're completely free!

Your Items and the Tools to Manage Them (1:13:33)


One workshop that's particularly helpful this time of year is our Items Workshop. Watch the video above to learn how to maintain a clean and searchable catalog by using Genre fields, cataloging series information consistently, and more! You can also look through our entire workshop collection for handy videos on many other topics.

Upcoming Workshop

Sign up for our Researcher Enhancements Workshop taking place on Wednesday, October 23rd from 12:00–1:00 PM (MST) / 2:00–3:00 PM (EST). By the end of the training, you'll know how to better use Researcher features like reservations, Browse, and "begins with" search. You don't want to miss out!


October 7th, 2019

Are you nearing or have you hit your patron record limit? There's always the option of increasing your license limit. But first, try cleaning out your patron records using the tips below!

screenshot of a pop-up warning that lets you know if you have exceeded your record limit

If you have exceeded your license limit, a warning will pop up in Alexandria to let you know. Alexandria is licensed by record number tiers. Check which tier you're licensed for in Circulation > Special > License Info. You could also look at your packing list or contact Customer Support (1-800-347-4942) to get this information. Compare that number to how many patron records you currently have by going to Circulation > Special > System Info

Remove Old Records

Get rid of Transferred, Inactive, and Graduated patrons if you haven't recently. Check out the Patron Cleanup section of our Clean Up Your Data page for instructions on removing these records.

Remove Duplicates
  1. Run a Patron Information report sorted by last name.

  2. Click on the Operations Management icon  and locate the report. Then download and print the PDF.

  3. Go through the list of patrons and make note of any duplicates.

  4. Go to Utilities > Patrons > Remove Patrons.

  5. Click on Show Additional Selections and then type all of the duplicates' barcode numbers in the Patrons with Barcodes selection.

  6. Click Run.

And there you go! All duplicates you identified should be gone.

Consider Clever

If keeping track of patrons who have moved or graduated is a hassle, consider using a school information system (SIS) such as Clever. When patron data is synced with Alexandria via Clever, patrons who have an active record in Alexandria but are no longer included in the synced data will be marked as Transferred. Then you'll only need to run a Remove Patrons utility for those with a status of Transferred to remove old records.


Feel free to give our Customer Support team a call (1-800-347-4942) or send an email (support@goalexandria.com) if you have questions about your record limits!

Which volumes am I missing?

September 30th, 2019

Jonathan has finished the first book in the Alex Rider series and wants to check out the second. But he says he can't find it in Researcher or anywhere in the library. You perform a search yourself and... nothing. Do you really not have the second book? Are there other books missing from your collection's Alex Rider series?

screenshot of the Title Information by Series report PDF output


Make sure your series information is standardized and correctly placed so that titles appear in series searches. 

Luckily, you can run an Alexandria report to see which volumes are actually missing from any series:

  1. Go to Tools > Reports > Titles > Information > Title Information by Series.
  2. Make the appropriate selections.
    1. If you would like to see the volumes you have in a specific series, type the series name in the Titles in the Series selection.
    2. If you would like to see a list of all the series and volumes in your collection, you don't need to make any selections.
  3. Click Run.
  4. Click on the Operations Management icon  and download the PDF.

And there you have it! Your downloaded PDF will contain a list of the series and volumes you do have. Once you identify what's missing from the list, simply place an order for those volumes.