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Resources for SEAL: User's Group Meetings

User Group notes and important links

General website information:  

  • The updated SEAL website is going live Monday, October 30th @ 8am. The URL is staying the same.
  • SEAL won’t be available from 7-9 AM on the 30th.
  • Borrowing / Lending histories will be imported and up-to-date.
  • The site’s functionality is largely the same – there is an updated look and some new features.
  • Thanks to Zack for his hard work! 
  • If you changed your password since the end of July OR made an account since then, you will have to reset your password in the new site. To do so, head to staff login in the upper-right hand corner. From there, select “Reset your password”. Type in your username or email affiliated with your account. You will receive an email allowing you to reset it.

New features:

  • New layout for menu options: they are now grouped by function (Profiles, Request Status, Statistics).
  • Under "Profiles” there is now a list of all the active library accounts at your library.
  • Zack created an algorithm to provide suggestions on a delivery method to lenders. Delivery preferences can be set in your library’s lending profile. Public libraries should have Empire Library Delivery & Public Library System Courier selected as options. Suggestions will appear when lenders fill requests.
  • New bulk update features are available in request status. For borrowing requests, bulk update options include: cancelling, receiving, renewing, and returning. For lending requests, bulk updates include: request not filled and check item back in.  
  • There are now quick links available in your account. The “Feedback / Support” link can be used to quickly send an email to Southeastern staff.
  • At the request screen, there is now a dedicated field for patrons. This is optional! Follow your organization’s privacy policies when deciding whether to include patron information.
  • There is also a multiple request option only for book clubs / classroom sets. This will send out multiple SEAL requests simultaneously. If you place a multiple request: include a note to the lenders indicating that it is for a book club / classroom set. Spread out requests among different library systems when possible.

Tasks for SEAL users:

  • Log in using normal credentials. Reset password if needed. Contact Southeastern if there are any issues logging in.
  • Double-check your library’s profile information, including your delivery preferences.
  • Check your borrowing / lending request histories to make sure everything is up-to-date.

Other News / Reminders:

  • Upcoming SEAL plans include: updated training resources, 3-part training series next year, a new SEAL survey.
  • SEAL training is available on-demand via Zoom or in person.
  • The Resource Sharing SIG is active again! Had an in-person meeting this September. Hoping to meet again early next year.

Kelsey shared a presentation (linked above) touching on SEAL updates over the past year and providing an overview of the results from the recent SEAL survey.

SEAL Updates:

Stats:SEAL User's group Thursday August 4, 1-2 pm

  • SEAL borrowing rates have been steadily increasing, especially as compared to the 2020-2021 numbers.  
  • The fill rate hovers between 70-75% consistently.

Upcoming events:

  • There are two upcoming SEAL webinars: “SEAL 101” and “Exploring the SEAL Catalog”.
  • SEAL 101 is scheduled for October 19 from 10-11:30am and covers all the basics of using SEAL (creating an account, managing accounts, searching, placing requests, filling, etc.)
  • Exploring the SEAL Catalog will be held November 15 from 2-3pm and touches on how the catalog works, advanced searching with Boolean operators, methods for browsing the catalog, trouble-shooting issues, and the catalog as a regional discovery tool.
  • You can sign up for the webinars here:

Communication Resources:

  • Kelsey developed some resources for libraries to communicate about SEAL with patrons and other library staff.
  • These resources include several one-page tutorials breaking down essential SEAL functions. Resources also include a SEAL fact sheet, logos, and a brochure.
  • These can be found on the libguide:


  • As a reminder, two years ago Zack (Southeastern’s System Manager) worked with Vassar to develop a SEAL - ILLiad API.
  • API s allow for information to be communicated between two different systems.
  • With the SEAL-ILLiad API, SEAL requests can appear directly in the clients of libraries using ILLiad.
  • The API was implemented at SUNY New Paltz. Working on setting it up for Orange County Community College.
  • This is something that can be set up at any library using ILLiad! Just contact to get started.

Survey results:

Survey Overview / Demographics:

  • 65 people took the survey. Responses came from 54 public libraries, 5 school, 5 academic, and 1 special.
  • 29 people (44.6%) indicated they use SEAL a few times each month. 24 (36.9 %) use SEAL a few times a year & 10 (15.4%) use it once a week or more.
  • The majority of responses came from people who had been using SEAL for three years or more.
  • In terms of borrowing and lending: 36 (55.4%) of respondents both lend and borrow materials. 30.8% (20) primarily borrow and 12.3% (8) primarily lend.

Favorite things about SEAL / things that can be improved:

  • The survey asked respondents for their three favorite things about SEAL and three things they’d like to see improved. For the presentation, Kelsey highlighted comments that came up repeatedly.  
  • 3 Favorite things: People liked that SEAL is easy to use (this was mentioned 30 times!) People also mentioned the generosity of lenders and that SEAL provided a way to connect with other regional libraries. It was also noted that SEAL enabled libraries to go the extra mile for their patrons to get a needed item.    
  • 3 Things that could be improved: People mentioned that they often have to log in twice to SEAL. Other things people noted were: the challenges of figuring out the correct delivery method, wanting more integration with library systems, and wanting customization of fields when placing requests.


  • Based on survey results, users seem to find 1 on 1 support with Southeastern staff and webinars / training to be the most helpful. The preference for how to receive training was through webinars and short tutorial videos. 

Takeaways + Next steps:

  • Zack, Kelsey, and Tessa met to discuss the survey results and came up with some next steps to address things that were mentioned in the survey.
  • Some plans for the system: make delivery clearer within the system; add a patron field for requests; explore open source options for catalog; add book club feature where users can request multiple titles at once.
  • In terms of training / communication needs, Kelsey is going to offer SEAL 101 and the Catalog training again. She is also going to reach out to inactive SEAL libraries to see if they have any training needs. She will continue to stress the importance of responding to requests and making sure profiles are up to date.


  • Zack discussed the logging in twice issues users reported and how it can be addressed.
  • Kelsey demonstrated how to edit emails, turn lending on / off, and change the item types you are lending.
  • To turn yourself off as a lender, head to My account -> Library lending profile -> Suspend your library's lending status. Change it to yes. Be sure to include a date for your account to reactivate. If you don’t include a date, it will automatically become active after 7 days. Click submit at the bottom of the page to save your changes.  
  • Editing emails: you can edit the personal email linked to you account by hitting the edit option that appears over your main account menu. You can also add an additional email that will receive copies of any borrowing requests you make. Scroll to Additional email and add that email. You can add multiple emails by separating them with a semi-colon. Click save before leaving the page.  
  • Your library lending profile is where you can edit the email you want all lending requests to be sent to. This can be a shared email or multiple emails. This is also where you can indicate the item types your library is able to loan. If you indicate that you can’t lend a particular item, your library will be removed as an option from drop-down menu when placing requests.

Kelsey shared a presentation (linked above) which covered recent SEAL updates and focused on our Regional Inter-library Loan code & Procedures.

SEAL User's Group slide. SEAL Updates

General SEAL update:

  • Borrowing and lending re-started August 4, 2020.
  • Libraries gradually became active again as they were able.
  • SEAL use has been pretty consistent ever since.
  • Our fill rate stabilized since last August. Fill rate indicates how many borrowing requests have ultimately been filled by the lending library. When we started in August, it was hovering around 60%, which made sense due to the pandemic. Since then it has risen back to the pre-pandemic rate of 75%.


  • As a reminder, last year Zack (Southeastern’s System Manager) worked with Vassar to develop a SEAL - ILLiad API.
  • API’s allow for information to be communicated between two different systems.
  • With the SEAL-ILLiad API, SEAL requests can appear directly in the clients of libraries using ILLiad.
  • Zack worked with SUNY New Paltz this spring to implement the API there.
  • This is something that can be set up at any library using ILLiad! Just contact to get started.

Updates to Training Materials:

  • Kelsey made several updates to SEAL training materials over the past year.
  • The SEAL FAQ was re-organized – it is now sorted by topic. Kelsey also added some color (no more grey!)
  • The FAQ can be expanded to as needed. If you ever see something missing, or have any SEAL questions, just shoot Kelsey a message.
  • Kelsey also updated the SEAL manual. She streamlined some sections and added information on delivery, updating borrowing / lending requests, and managing your SEAL account.
  • The SEAL training videos were re-recorded. Some new videos were added, including one focusing on advanced searching in the SEAL catalog.

SEAL Trainings:

  • One-on-one SEAL training is available as needed.
  • Kelsey can do zoom walk-throughs on how to set up and use SEAL.
  • The training takes roughly 45 minutes. 
  • This can be done with individuals or a group of library staff.
  • Contact Kelsey to set up a training.

Upcoming Projects:

  • Kelsey is working on a communications toolkit for the SEAL libguide.
  • This would include resources that can help staff advertise inter-library loan services to patrons. It would also be a way to communicate about SEAL with library staff who aren’t familiar with it.
  • Some proposed materials include: ILL promotional materials (such as bookmarks or other hand-outs), a SEAL fact sheet, and one-page training guides on different SEAL workflows. (These would be geared towards staff who are covering SEAL short-term during vacations, etc.)
  • Kelsey is planning on sending another SEAL survey out this winter. The 2019 survey provided a lot of great feedback on SEAL. It led to the creation of the categories in the SEAL search.

Resource sharing SIG:  

  • Southeastern has been hosting a Resource Sharing SIG every 2-3 months.
  • The SIG allows for resource sharing professionals of all stripes to meet, ask advice, and share relevant resources.
  • The group touches on a lot of topics. Attendees talk about ILL, customer service, course reserves, building safety, SEAL, etc.  
  • You can find past meeting minutes on the SIG libguide.
  • The next SIG (virtual) is scheduled for September 16 from 1:30-2:30

Code and Procedures

Our Regional inter-library loan Code & Procedures provide guidance on resource sharing. The regional code is adapted from the ALA Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States. The procedures provide a how-to for ILL processes, referencing the relevant ILL code. These are updated once a year by the Regional Inter-library loan committee.

You can find the code here.

The newly updated Procedures are here.

Lost / damaged books:

  • The golden rule of ILL is: “Assume responsibility for borrowed material from the time it leaves the supplying library until it has been returned to and received by the supplying library” (4.9)
  • If an item is damaged / lost by a borrowing library’s patron, the first step is to contact the lending library to let them know what happened. You can find their contact information in the SEAL directory, as well as the initial borrowing email you received from SEAL.
  • The ball is then in the lender’s court. Per the code, lender’s can choose whether to invoice for lost items.
  • Lenders can also decide if they are willing to accept a replacement copy in lieu of payment.
  • The Code provides some information on billing. Lenders should invoice for items no later than one year after the initial due date. Borrowers should pay invoices / address billing errors within six months of receiving an invoice.
  • Borrowing libraries can invoice their patrons for lost / damaged items as usual – just be aware if they don’t pay, their library is still on the hook (per the golden rule).
  • It can be a bit different if an item is lost in transit. The borrowing and lending libraries might need to work together and investigate to figure out where the book went.  
  • Finding out the delivery method and what date it was sent can be helpful in tracking the item down. Some vendors also offer tracking, which can be helpful in determining what happened to an item.
  • Some possibilities for why an item hasn't shown up: it could have been delivered to the wrong library, delivered and accidentally shelved, or plain lost by the courier.
  • If the delivery vendor offers refunds or insurance, they may be able to reimburse for the cost of a lost book. This is why it’s vital to try and figure out when the item went missing.
  • Kelsey can help with delivery mysteries!

Due dates:

  • There is no standard lending period in SEAL. This is something that is always up to the lending library.
  • However, the procedures do recommend the libraries keep certain things in mind when deciding on due dates. The first of these is the length of delivery. Items can sometimes take a week or two to show up. The borrowing library also needs time to contact their patron and schedule pick-up.
  • Kelsey’s recommendation: at least 5 weeks when possible.
  • Another important thing: due dates are defined as the date items are due back at borrowing libraries. Per the code: “due dates are defined as the date the material is due to be checked in at the requesting library for return to the supplying library” (5.7) .


  • Renewals should be requested in advance of an item’s due date. This guarantees that if a renewal can’t be granted, the item can still be returned on time.
  • SEAL renewals can be requested in a couple of ways. You can request a renewal directly within SEAL. Instructions are available in this short video: You can also contact the lender directly by email. 
  • Lenders should answer all renewal requests either negatively or positively. This way a borrower knows whether or not an item needs to be returned.  
  • The code encourages granting renewal requests when items don’t have any local or system holds.  

SEAL Updates


  • Over the past few months, Zack has been working on adding categories to the SEAL search.
  • Historically the catalog has served two purposes: it's a regional discovery tool for the region, and the catalog specifically for ILL.
  • This created some issues when searching; search results would show items that appeared to be lendable, but they would actually be from non-participating SEAL libraries.
  • The categories streamline searching and make it possible to prioritize searching SEAL lenders. They also retain the catalog's functionality as a regional catalog.
  • The default search is "All lenders", which will display results from libraries participating in ILL. If you want to search all libraries in the region, there is an "All" option. There are also categories for specific library types, including academic library lenders, public library lenders, special library lenders and the state library. (A school library option will be added at a later date).
  • The categories are also available as a facet on the left-hand side of the search results screen. 


  • Several of our academic libraries in SEAL use ILLiad for their day to day inter-library loan.
  • Zack and the amazing team at Vassar have been working on creating an API to integrate SEAL & ILLiad.
  • SEAL requests can now appear automatically in ILLiad!
  • Can replicate this with other libraries – we just need some information (API key & address information)
  • Information on generating an API key is available here:
  • If you are interested in setting this up at your library, contact

Empire Library Delivery Update:

  • Libraries are gradually turning on Empire Library Delivery.
  • There are several pending libraries that should be active in the next few weeks.
  • Kelsey has been keeping a list of active SEAL / ELD libraries on the restart page.
  • If you want to see the current status of libraries, you can find that on the ELD roster.


Turning on / off lending:

  • If you ever need to change your lending status, you can do so by heading to My account -> Library lending profile -> Suspend your library's lending status. Changing it to no will allow your library to receive ILL requests; changing it to yes will prevent your library from receiving ILL requests.

Changing your username / password:

  • If you need to change your username and password, you can do so by hitting "edit" in your account. This will open a page that allows you to change your username, password, and associated account email. Once you change these, scroll to the bottom of the page to hit "save" before ex-ing out.

Finding the lending status of other libraries:

  • If you need to see the lending status of another library, you can do so by heading to the SEAL directory. The directory allows you to search by library title, or by library system. At the bottom of each directory entry, it will say "accepting requests". If this is set to no, you will not be able to request materials from that library at this time.

Upcoming Resource Sharing Events:

ILL event:

  • Southeastern has teamed up with three other library resources councils to host an ILL event on September 29th, from 9-1. The event is called "Not Lost in Transition: Resource Sharing in Changing times". Registration is available here:
  • The event will include a variety of speakers, including a presentation by a librarian at the CDC. There will also be time to discuss people's ILL experiences during the pandemic.
  • There will be an hour at the end of the session for networking with people across the state.

Resource Sharing SIG:

A few other notes:

  • Kelsey has been updating the ILL libguide with news. This includes professional development announcements, updates from REALM, and other relevant ILL news.
  • If you aren't receiving the SEAL newsletter but would like to, contact Kelsey to be added to the list.
  • Kelsey is going to work on re-scheduling the webinars that were cancelled earlier this year. This includes the basic SEAL training and a training focusing on the SEAL catalog.
Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065