Coronavirus Resources and Plan

Added by Amanda Augsburger (03/12/2020 - 14:46)
Last updated by Elizabeth Smith (03/26/2020 - 08:39)
Documentation Source: 


PrairieCat is here to support member libraries and we will update this page with resources and information as they become available. The situation remains fluid.

PrairieCat is providing a set of processes for member libraries who need to close or modify services due to the 2019 novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic. 

PrairieCat will remain open and will assist all member libraries as the COVID-19 virus impact on Illinois is unfolding. PrairieCat staff are working remotely. All in-person PrairieCat meetings, training, and events are cancelled or moved online. Members can check L2 to see if a meeting has been canceled or moved online. PrairieCat will also send out email updates and alerts, and update the PrairieCat support site as information comes available.

PrairieCat Actions in Response to Closures

Nearly 100% of PrairieCat libraries are closed. Due to an attempt to balance the needs of consortium member libraries and system limitations, the following decisions have been made and are effective March 17, 2020. These are systemwide chages.

Circulation and Holds:

  • All library collections will be marked as non-circulating as of end of business March 17, 2020. 
  • Holds requests will be suspended from close of business March 16, 2020 until further notice. 
  • Pending holds requests made before March 17, 2020 will be addressed when services are restored.
  • Hold pick-up dates extended to May 1, 2020. 

Due Dates: PrairieCat extended due dates for all items from March 13 to April 30 with an updated due date of May 1, 2020. This date will be adjusted if needed. 

Patron Expiration Dates: All patron cards that would have expired during March and April have been renewed to May 1, 2020. A note has been added in the patron record. 

Notices: All paging lists, overdue, and bill notices have been turned off as of March 16, 2020 until further notice. 

Fines: For libraries that have notified PrairieCat that they are closed to the public, fines will not accrue during the closure time. PrairieCat is working on a process for handling fines when services are restored. 

As the situation progresses, PrairieCat will reevaluate the dates above and adjust as needed. Members will be notified of any changes. 

Report Closure - Libraries Actions to Report Closure

Contact PrairieCat at Please include the following information:

  • Closure time period for each location
  • Primary contact person for coordination
  • Any ongoing services your library will still provide while closed to the public
    • Book drop check-in
    • Other
  • Update your library's closings on the RAILS website.
    • View closed libraries here
  • When your library reopens, contact PrairieCat at Please provide as much notice as possible when reopening.
  • Your library needs to contact UMS (Unique Management Solutions) and tell them to refrain from calling patrons. You can call them at 800-879-5453 or 812-285-0886.
  • Suspend NEW reporting to collection agency

For those libraries who check out items during the closure, you will have additional steps to complete when you check out:

  1. Each item you check out will display a pop-up message: “loanrule says non-circulating.” You will need to override that for each item.
  2. When items are checked in, holds will not trap. Your patrons will need to call you and request items, which you will need to pull and checkout for your patrons.
  3. Due dates will be either the current date or 365 days in the future, depending upon whether your library’s closed days have been updated by PrairieCat. Regardless of the due dates, PrairieCat staff are correcting these nightly and updating them to a due date of April 7, 2020.

PrairieCat Reporting

PrairieCat will be suspending system some reports (Long In Transit and NEW Conversion) until April 1. If you would like a report run for any reason, please put in a helpdesk ticket by emailing and we will run it for your location.

Dates and information about reports and when they'll be run:

  1. Incorrect Patron Home Library - Informational (April 1)
  2. Missing Since and Claims Returned - Changes (April 2)
  3. Items Incorrectly marked for Discard (April 5)
  4. Duplicate Item and Patron Barcodes (April 7)
  5. Long in-transit items (April 15)
  6. New Item Conversion (Every Thursday after April 1)
  7. Items marked for discard/withdrawal during the previous month. This report will be run as normal on April 1, 2020 to remove items marked for withdrawal during the month of March.
  8. The old billed items report identifies items that were due 9 months ago and libraries are to review this report and check their shelves to see if the items can be located. One month after the report is posted to the support site, the items are checked in and withdrawn. To give members ample time to follow up with this report, it will be suspended until May 1, 2020.
    ​On May 1, 2020:
    • Items due in May 2019 will be withdrawn.
    • Items due in June 2019 and July 2019 will be reported and members will have 1 month to check their shelves. Those items will be withdrawn on June 1, 2020.

Rails Delivery

Delivery is suspended until further notice. Any questions or concerns around delivery should be directed to Send your message from the email address used for your Library Learning (L2) account, so the ticketing system will recognize your library and route your message to the correct RAILS service center.

After you submit a ticket, you'll receive email confirmation and status updates from RAILS delivery services staff. You can also check on your ticket's status by logging into the ticketing support system at with your L2 account's email address and password.

E-Resources and OMNI Libraries

OMNI has contacted Overdrive and they have removed all blocks from OMNI member patrons, and they will:

1. Allow access to expired card holders
2. Allow access to patrons with fines/fees above the threshold limit

If your library has other e-resources that you want your patrons to access, those patrons whose cards have expired and/or they owe $5.00 will be blocked. PrairieCat can:

  1. Change the block amount from $4.99 to an amount you specify
  2. Turn off the check for expiration date

If you would like PrairieCat to change these settings for you, please log a help desk ticket to and let us know: what block amount you want, if the expiration date check should be turned off, and what patron types should be changed.

Additional Resources