Coronavirus Resources and Plan

Added by augsburgera (03/12/2020 - 14:46)
Last updated by PrairieCat Admin (08/12/2020 - 14:02)
Documentation Source: 


PrairieCat is here to support member libraries and 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 modify services due to the 2019 novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic. PrairieCat staff are working remotely to continue supporting members. All in-person PrairieCat meetings, training, and events are cancelled or moved online. Check L2 for updates. 

PrairieCat Reopening

Updated: 8/3/2020


The Sierra system is functioning system wide. Please report any issues to


  • Patrons who have had materials out before we closed down (3/16) may receive overdue or bill notices. Libraries may need to address some situations on a case-by-case basis, since we cannot cover every eventuality.
  • Libraries are encouraged to review notices and patron accounts before mailing notices.
  • PrairieCat highly recommends using your fine free circ logins during the reopening phases.

    On June 29, 2020

    • ILL/Delivery resumed for libraries that opt in. Libraries may begin processing ILL requests. 
    • List of libraries that opted in to Delivery will be shared weekly (UPDATE: As of 8/3/2020, all public libraries are receiving delivery) 
    • Materials may be delayed due to system disruption, quarantine periods, and delivery backlog. 

    On June 16-17, 2020

    • Paging Lists: System wide paging lists were restored. (Libraries may stop using the Local Holds List).
    • Notices: Hold pickup notices, courtesy notices, overdue notices, and bill notices were restored. Libraries do not need to contact patrons for holds pickup as those notices are running automatically. 
    • All paging lists and notices were turned off as of March 16, 2020. They have now been restored.

    On June 5, 2020

    • Circulation: All collections restored to regular circulation rules. 
    • Due Dates: All holds and due date periods were returned to their pre-shutdown values. During the closure, due dates were extended for items with due dates => 03/13/2020. So if the items were due prior to 3/13, the due dates were not extended. Patrons may receive notices on those items. Items that checked out before 6/5/2020 had an absolute due date of 6/26/2020. 
    • Patron Expiration Dates: All patron cards that would have expired during March, April, and May have been renewed to July 1, 2020. A note has been added in the patron record. Contact the help desk if your library wants to extend patron expiration dates again. 
    • Patron Purge: Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, we are operating under a compressed timeframe. Information regarding patrons to be purged has been distributed to members. We need your replies no later than August 31, 2020.  Please Contact Jeff Sullivan with any questions.

    Safety and Materials Handling

    PrairieCat is following official guidance from RAILS and the REALM Project, a new study by the IMLS (the Institute of Museum and Library Service), OCLC, and Battelle. These organizations, in partnership with library and state representatives across the country are working on questions around safe handling of materials and how delivery can safely resume. See the project website here. The guidelines below are based on the current information available and it is subject to change. Visit the RAILS site for more updates from the REALM Research Partnership.

    • Quarantine BEFORE sending items through RAILS Delivery: Per RAILS, all libraries are expected to quarantine materials for three days before sending them through RAILS delivery. See the RAILS Delivery information for details:
    • Should my library quarantine materials after receiving them through RAILS Delivery? Libraries may determine that on an individual level. 

    Reopening Phases

    To help member libraries resume public services when the individual library determines that they will reopen, PrairieCat is providing the following instructions. To see how other libraries are preparing phased reopening plans, see additional resources:

    UPDATE: PrairieCat has provided new forms for both public and Academic/School libraries to provide us with information in case of closing or reopening. You should also fill this form out if you are moving from "building open" to "curbside" or from "curbside" to "building open", as PrairieCat is trying to track our members' service levels. You can find these forms here. PrairieCat will require three business days to make changes for your library.

    PrairieCat Reopening Guide (Updated 6/5/2020)

    Phase 1: Some Libraries Open | No Delivery 

    PrairieCat will need to make special system configurations for libraries that reopen during this phase. This phase is passed. 

    Phase 2: Most PrairieCat Libraries Open | No RAILS Delivery

    PrairieCat will need to make special system configurations for libraries that reopen during this phase. This phase is passed.

    • Reopening Guide: Instructions on how to provide service during this phase. Details on circulation, holds, materials handling, fines, etc. are included in the Reopening Guide. 
    • Producing Local Holds List: Instructions on producing a local holds list while system wide paging lists are off. 

    Phase 3: Most PrairieCat Libraries Open | RAILS Delivery as of 6/29 (CURRENT PHASE)

    • Delivery: RAILS Delivery is operational, and ILL has resumed for libraries who have opted in (as of 8/3, all public libraries have done so). Libraries must opt in and contact the RAILS Delivery help desk to request delivery services. Read the full Delivery Plan for instructions on how to prepare for delivery. Materials may be delayed due to system disruption, quarantine periods, and delivery backlog. 

    Schools and Academics:

    • Standard end of year procedure, school paging lists turned off and collections made non-holdable and non-circulating.
    • All holds for school libraries and school library patrons have been cancelled. If you need a list of cancelled holds for your library, please submit a help desk ticket at
    • Reports are posted under April on the statistics page of the support site for current items checked out (log-in required):
    • If schools can message students, we would advise that they instruct them to return their library materials to their public library (if possible), if they cannot return them to the school.
    • Please refer to the RAILS Covid-19 page for instructions on Delivery. 
    • When you are ready to reopen, please fill out the reopening form found here.  This will notify PrairieCat staff and we can performed the needed system changes.

    RAILS Information

    Visit the RAILS COVID-19 page for the latest information from RAILS. This page is updated frequently with the latest news, eresources, continuing services, and more:

    RAILS announced the RAILS Delivery plan to resume service. Please read this plan and the FAQ in full. Libraries must opt in and contact the RAILS delivery help desk. 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.