PALS Office

The PALS team is working remotely. All PALS services are functioning as normal, including emergency hours notification. If any service will be affected, we will promptly notify all members through the MnPALS Discuss list (sign up here: and through other email lists that we maintain. This remote work status will be reassessed as the situation evolves and we will update our members and partners as necessary.

Communication:  Submit tickets to the Support Center ( or send emails directly to Johnna Horton (

This guide updated as of 4/1/2021 jsh

Share Your Information
This spreadsheet can be edited by our member libraries to show ILL status, open dates, and other information.
Minitex Delivery

Minitex has resumed referral services and the majority of MnPALS libraries have resumed borrowing/lending.
If your library is open to resume delivery, please put in a ticket with PALS and ask to be added to the COVID rota.

Contact Gerri Moeller with questions regarding Minitex services.

Minnesota State

Minnesota State Libraries, please refer to the Academic and Student Affairs Connect site (StarID login required)

For more about Minnesota State's response to COVID-19, read the information provided by Minnesota State.

Fulfillment- Reviewed 10/5/20
  • Calendar changes (open/close hours or days) Answer 4211 has instructions

    • If you have booking enabled, the changes to your hours made in Alma will be reflected in the study room booking

  • Circulation Considerations:

    • Bulk changes of due dates, see Answer 4279 for instructions on updating all of your Due Dates

      • Note: This does not work to update Resource Sharing Loans

      • You might want to consider setting your Due Dates to a fixed End of Term Date, see 4279 for instructions

    • Auto-renewals - is this a time to try it out? Maybe! Answer 4255

    • Extension of time for maximum renewals, Answer 4221 discusses how to update your policies

    • Consider updating your display logic rules to limit holds or requests during a particular time frame

    • Adding a Pickup Point, Answer 4324

  • Notices

    • Prevent notices from sending, Answer 4280

    • Notify Patrons in Bulk, using the update notify users job which sends the User Notifications Letter, Ex Libris instruction ppt here

    • Use the Borrowing Activity Letter to notify patrons with activity, or active loans, see Answer 4285
    • Resuming Fulfillment Letters after a Shutdown, Answer 4326

  • If you are looking for an activity that can be done while maintaining social distance, consider testing the PALS Inventory Tool, check out answer 4277 for details

Resource Sharing- Reviewed 10/5/20
  • Refer to answer 4186 in the Support Center for closing libraries for resource sharing

  • Remember to notify Minitex and the delivery courier if you will be closing 

  • To stop physical item requests (book/DVD) refer to answer 4282 How to mediate physical item (book/DVD) requests. 

  • The request status a patron sees can be changed. Refer to answer 4283 Request status how to change text a patron sees.

  • The "Query letter to patron" allows staff to set up pre-formatted letters about resource sharing requests. Refer to answer 4284 Query letter to patron for additional information.

  • Borrowing library staff may change the due date for resource sharing requests with Minitex (MII). Refer to answer 4294 COVID19 Alma Renewal process with Minitex.

  • Lending libraries can renew without a renewal request from a borrowing library. Refer to answer 4296 Lending library renew without a renewal request. 

  • As a lending library if you get a message Maximum renewal date has been reached, change a TOU Maximum renewal period to allow you to renew the item. Refer to answer 4295 Lending library maximum renewal date.

  • A borrowing library can bulk change the due date for loaned borrowing requests. Refer to answer 4297 How to bulk change Due dates for borrowing resource sharing requests.

  • A borrowing library can use Change Due dates to change the due date on a few borrowing requests. Refer to answer 4298 How to change Due dates for a few borrowing requests.

  • As a lending library Reject a borrowing request and use only the "Reject reason" "Other". Refer to answer 4300 COVID 19 Lending Library Reject reason "Other."

  • Best Practices for Pandemics Recommendations from the MnPALS Resource Sharing Steering Committee (updated 5/5/2020) this document was discussed at the April 29,2020, MnPALS Meeting of the Minds. Refer to answer 4311 Best Practice for Pandemics Recommendations from the MnPALS Resource Sharing Steering Committee

  • Library staff may use the spreadsheet MnPALS Libraries and Pandemics to share information on hours, renewal due dates, billing for items, and quarantine policies. Refer to answer 4313 MnPALS Libraries and Pandemics to review information or add your information.

Primo VE
Bibliographic and Course Reserve Records
Answer 4293 in the Support Center explains how to add an URL (Portfolio) to bibliographic records, including Course Reserve bibliographic records.
Metrics and COVID-19
Covid-19 will affect our metrics. We can’t just report a number for the year without describing what happened. Key trends:
  • Physical usage measures will be down a lot for this year.
  • Electronic usage did go up, but with all the open access, we won't always see it or track it well.
For example, Primo VE stats make it look like spring term was as low-use as last summer:

Graph of Search Actions

Luckily the stats from EZproxy show that March-April 2020 had significantly more usage than March-April 2019:

Suggested Approach
  1. Spotlight what was happening before COVID (up through February).
  2. Note key dates affecting your library such as:
    1. MN Stay at Home order: March 27 - May 17
    2. State of peacetime emergency in MN: March 13, 2020 – (April 14, 2021 currently)
    3. Spring Break dates for your institution
    4. Thanksgiving break changes
  3. Note key dates for changes in library services (eg. stopping a service, starting a service).
  4. If you added online resources, describe them in as much detail as you can. (For example, we doubled our ebooks, added 8000 streaming videos, and had temporary access to 30 extra databases for three months.)
  5. Look at your data with the dates in mind. (eg. ILL numbers will be low for last spring because there was a state-wide Stay at Home order. Many institutions extended spring break as well.)
  6. Think about what is working now and highlight it (eg. maybe chat or website usage is higher now.)
Additional Resources
Resources for gathering and reporting library data:
Resources for documenting the pandemic:
Documenting the COVID-19 Pandemic: Archiving the Present for Future Research: