n months 17-19 of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the VDOT Research Library continued to increase "in-person" staffing. New VDOT rules required employees to work in person at least 20% of the time, but not more than 40% of the time, and VTRC managers must balance those requirements with total building occupancy guidelines. In the case of the library, Rebecca Ernest returned to in-person library work one day a week in September, joining Barb Neyman and Gil Kenner (who each had returned one day a week by last quarter). The library is now staffed Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but drop-in visitors are extremely rare as the building is scarcely occupied and few meetings take place in the VTRC auditorium or meeting rooms, which in the past increased the odds of having drop-in library visitors.
We were able to turn our OCLC lending symbol back on August 25th, but despite 17 lending requests received from other libraries we filled none for the 4th quarter in a row. Prior to the pandemic we had never had a zero ILL loans quarter (since starting the service in 2006), but lack of onsite staffing required us to shut the service down in March of 2020. Now our symbol is back on, but our lending policies may be too conservative, which might be decreasing the number of requests we get or can fill. That is not yet clear. We hope our loans increase next quarter, but we may need to adjust policies.
In other news VITA pushed the Microsoft Edge Chromium browser to computers, removing Firefox and slightly diminishing the functionality of Chrome. We see an increase in the use of Edge in access statistics to Web pages, guides and FAQs. Overall Edge seems to work well, though we have made some adjustments to our Web site.
Virtual Library Card Compensates for Lack of Network Access to Library Databases
We had an unusual challenge this quarter as Virginia's computer network started routing users to improper IP addresses. We got dozens of questions about why subscriptions did not work, and use of the Virtual Library Card (VLC) from personal devices of employees working from home jumped 12 times more than average in August. We noticed the issue on July 21st but VITA engineers did not fix it until September 14th, at which time VLC logins started to normalize.