Answered By: Cathay Keough
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2019     Views: 115

Scoping is a way to prioritize items libraries own to meet the demands of their communities as well as to fairly share among a statewide library consortium.  

Delaware, as a consortium of libraries, has the "place in the list" feature turned off in our public catalog because of how holds are filled for physical items.  It isn't as straightforward as some other systems that have a single governance and purchasing.  (Digital books are different from the other items in our system in that they are all owned jointly through the state library and there is no transit time between different independent libraries or county systems.)

We have the scoping feature turned on in our holds management.  Scoping works like this : Physical items are, for the most part, owned by individual libraries.  As such, holds are filled first for patrons of libraries that own copies of the requested titles.  Secondarily, holds are filled for those who want to pick up in the same county as the owning library.  Once these holds are satisfied, these items are available to fill holds statewide. 

This procedure minimizes transits and overall wait times, but also means that if Selbyville, for example, is the only library that owns a title, any hold placed to pick it up in Selbyville will be filled before any other holds to be picked up at other libraries in Sussex County or the entire state of Delaware, no matter when those existing holds have been placed.  This system encourages libraries and counties to balance out their collections of high demand items.

We try to have no more than a 4:1 ratio of holds to items, so the titles you have on hold seem to be ok as far as that goes, both at the statewide and county levels.

If you are in a situation where you need to renew an item that is coming due and can't because of holds on the material, please visit us, give us a call or email us on Ask a Librarian Delaware.  You can use any public library - we are all connected to provide the most convenient customer service possible.

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