3. Patrons & Circulation

Settings for controlling circulation and patron information.

3.1. Patron Categories

Patron categories allow you to organize your patrons into different roles, age groups, and patron types.

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Patron Categories

Patrons are assigned to one of six main categories:

  • Adult

    • Most common patron type, usually used for a general 'Patron' category.

  • Child

    • Children patrons can have a guardian to be attached to them.

  • Staff

    • Patrons within the staff category will have access to the staff client.

  • Organizational

    • Organizational patrons are organizations. Organizations can be used as guarantors for Professional patrons.

  • Professional

    • Professional patrons can be linked to Organizational patrons

  • Statistical

    • This patron type is used strictly for statistical purposes, such as in house use of items.

3.1.1. Adding a patron category

To add a new patron category click 'New Category' at the top of the page

  • The 'Category Code' is an identifier for your new code.

    • Important

      The category code is limited to 10 characters (numbers and letters)

    • Important

      This field is required in order to save your patron category. If left blank you will be presented with an error.

  • Enter a plain text version of the category in the 'Description' field.

    • Important

      This field is required in order to save your patron category. If left blank you will be presented with an error.

  • Enrollment period (in months) should be filled in if you have a limited enrollment period for your patrons (eg. Student cards expire after 9 months or until a specific date)

    • Important

      You cannot enter both a month limit and a date until. Choose to enter either one or the other.

    • Important

      This field is required in order to save your patron category. If left blank you will be presented with an error.

  • Some patron categories can have a minimum age (in years) requirement associated with them, enter this age in the 'Age required'

  • Patron categories can also have a maximum age (in years) associated with them (such as children), enter this age in the 'Upperage limit'

  • If you charge a membership fee for your patrons (such as those who live in another region) you can enter that in the 'Enrollment fee' field.

    • Important

      Only enter numbers and decimals in this field

  • If you want your patron to receive overdue notices, set the 'Overdue notice required' to 'Yes'

  • If you charge patrons for placing holds on items, enter the fee amount in the 'Hold fee' field.

    • Important

      Only enter numbers and decimals in this field

  • In the 'Category type' field choose one of the six main parent categories

    • Important

      This field is required in order to save your patron category. If left blank you will be presented with an error.

  • Finally you can assign advanced messaging preferences by default to a patron category

    • Important

      Requires that you have EnhancedMessagingPreferences enabled

    • Important

      These can be changed for individual patrons, this setting is just a default to make it easier to set up messages for an entire category

3.2. Cities and Towns

To standardize patron input you can define cities or towns within your region so that when new patrons are added librarians simply have to select the town from a list instead of having to type the town and zip (or postal) code information.

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Cities and Towns

3.2.1. Adding a City

To add a new city, click the 'New City' button at the top of the page and enter the city name, state and zip/postal code.

One you click Submit, your city will be saved and will be listed on the Cities and Towns page

Cities can be edited or deleted at any time.

3.2.2. Viewing Cities on Patron Add Form

If you have defined local cities using the New city form, then when adding or editing a patron record you will see those cities in a pull down menu to make city selection easy.

This will allow for easy entry of local cities into the patron record without risking the potential for typos or mistaken zip/postal codes.

3.3. Road Types

To standardize patron input you can define road types within your region so that when new patrons are added librarians simply have to select the road from a list instead of having to type it in.

Tip

If you want your patrons to have their road types abbreviated all of the time then you can enter the appropriate abbreviations here, if you'd like the road types to always be spelled out you can do that here as well.

3.3.1. Adding Road Types

To add a road type, click 'New Road Type' and then enter the road type the way you'd like it displayed.

Once you submit the form, your new road type will be listed on the Road Types page

3.3.2. Viewing Road Types on Patron Add form

When adding or editing a patron, if you have road types defined, there will be a pull down to choose the road type from.

3.4. Patron Attribute Types

Patron attributes can be used to define custom fields to associate with your patron records. In order to enable the use of custom fields you need to set the ExtendedPatronAttributes system preference.

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Patron attribute types

A common use for this field would be for a student ID number or a Driver's license number.

3.4.1. Adding Patron Attributes

To add a new Patron Attribute Type, click the 'New Patron Attribute Type' button at the top of the page

  • In the 'Patron attribute type code', enter a short code to identify this field

    • Important

      This field is limited to 10 characters (numbers and letters only)

    • Important

      This setting cannot be changed after an attribute is defined

  • In the 'Description' field, enter a longer (plain text) explanation of what this field will contain

  • Check the box next to 'Repeatable' to let a patron record have multiple values of this attribute.

    • Important

      This setting cannot be changed after an attribute is defined

  • If 'Unique identifier' is checked, the attribute will be a unique identifier which means, if a value is given to a patron record, the same value cannot be given to a different record.

    • Important

      This setting cannot be changed after an attribute is defined

  • Check 'Allow password' to make it possible to associate a password with this attribute.

  • Check 'Display in OPAC' to display this attribute on a patron's details page in the OPAC.

  • Check 'Searchable' to make this attribute searchable in the staff patron search.

  • Authorized value category; if one is selected, the patron record input page will only allow values to be chosen from the authorized value list.

    • You will first need to add an authorized value list for it to appear in this menu

    • Important

      an authorized value list is not enforced during batch patron import.

  • Click Save to save your new attribute

Once added your attribute will appear on the list of attributes and also on the patron record add/edit form

3.4.2. Editing/Deleting Patron Attributes

Each patron attribute has an edit and a delete link beside it on the list of attributes.

Some fields in the attribute will not be editable once created:

  • Patron attribute type code

  • Repeatable

  • Unique identifier

You will be unable to delete an attribute if it's in use.

3.5. Circulation and Fine Rules

These rules define how your items are circulated, how/when fines are calculated and how holds are handled.

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Circulation and fines rules

The rules are applied from most specific to less specific, using the first found in this order:

  • same library, same patron type, same item type

  • same library, same patron type, default item type

  • same library, default patron type, same item type

  • same library, default patron type, default item type

  • default library, same patron type, same item type

  • default library, same patron type, default item type

  • default library, default patron type, same item type

  • default library, default patron type, default item type

Tip

If you are a single library system choose your branch name before creating rules (sometimes having only rules for the 'default' branch can cause issues with holds)

Important

At the very least you will need to set an default circulation rule. This rule should be set for the default itemtype, default branchcode and default patron category. That will catch all instances that do not match a specific rule. When checking out if you do not have a rule for the default branch, default item and default patron category then you may see patrons getting blocked from placing holds.

3.5.1. Default Circulation Rules

Using the issuing rules matrix you can define rules that depend on patron/item type combos. To set your rules, choose a library from the pull down:

Tip

If you leave this set to 'Default' it will apply the rules to all libraries

From the matrix you can choose any combination of patron categories and item types to apply the rules to

  • First choose which patron category you'd like the rule to be applied to. If you leave this to 'Default' it will apply to all patron categories

  • Choose the 'Item Type' you would like this rule to apply to. If you leave this to 'Default' it will apply to all item types

  • Limit the number of items a patron can have checked out at the same time by entering a number in the 'Current Checkouts Allowed' field

  • Define the period of time and item can be checked out to a patron by entering the number of days in the 'Loan Period' box.

  • 'Fine Amount' should have the amount you would like to charge for overdue items

    • Important

      Enter only numbers and decimal points.

  • The 'Fine Grace Period' is the period of time an item can be overdue before you start charging fines.

  • Enter the 'Fine Charging Interval' in days (ex. charge fines every 1 day, or every 2 days)

  • If your library 'fines' patrons by suspending their account you can enter the number of days their fine should be suspended in the 'Suspension in Days' field

  • Next decide if the patron can renew this item type and if so, enter how many times they can renew it in the 'Renewals Allowed' box

  • If the patron can place holds on this item type, enter the total numbers of items (of this type) that can be put on hold in the 'Holds Allowed' field

  • Finally, if you charge a rental fee for the item type and want to give a specific patron type a discount on that fee, enter the percentage discount (without the % symbol) in the 'Rental Discount' field

When finished, click 'Add' to save your changes. To modify a rule, create a new one with the same patron type and item type. If you would like to delete your rule, simply click the 'Delete' link to the right of the rule.

To save time you can clone rules from one library to another by choosing the clone option above the rules matrix.

After choosing to clone you will be presented with a confirmation message.

3.5.2. Default Checkouts and Hold Policy

You can set a default maximum number of checkouts and hold policy that will be used if none is defined below for a particular item type or category.

From this menu you can set a default to apply to all item types and patrons in the library.

  • In 'Total Current Checkouts Allowed' enter the total number of items patrons can have checked out at one time

  • Control where patrons can place holds from using the 'Hold Policy' menu

    • From Any Library: Patrons from any library may put this item on hold. (default if none is defined)

    • From Home Library: Only patrons from the item's home library may put this book on hold.

    • No Holds Allowed: No patron may put this book on hold.

  • Once your policy is set, you can unset it by clicking the 'Unset' link to the right of the rule

3.5.3. Checkouts Per Patron

For this library, you can specify the maximum number of loans that a patron of a given category can make, regardless of the item type.

Tip

If the total amount loanable for a given patron category is left blank, no limit applies, except possibly for a limit you define for a specific item type.

3.5.4. Item Hold Policies

For this library, you can edit rules for given itemtypes, regardless of the patron's category. Currently, this means hold policies.

The various policies have the following effects:

  • From Any Library: Patrons from any library may put this item on hold. (default if none is defined)

  • From Home Library: Only patrons from the item's home library may put this book on hold.

  • No Holds Allowed: No patron may put this book on hold.

Important

Note that if the system preference AllowHoldPolicyOverride set to 'allow', these policies can be overridden by your circulation staff.

Important

These policies are based on the patron's home branch, not the branch that the reserving staff member is from.

3.6. Library Transfer Limits

Limit the ability to transfer items between libraries based on the library sending, the library receiving, and the collection code involved.

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Library Transfer Limits

These rules only go into effect if the preference UseBranchTransferLimits is set to 'enforce'.

Before you begin you will want to choose which library you are setting these limits for.

Transfer limits are set based on the collections codes you have applied via the Authorized Value administration area.

Collection codes will appear as tabs above the checkboxes:

Check the boxes for the libraries that you accept checkins from for the item type you have selected at the top (in the example below - FIC)

In the above example, Centerville library will allow patrons to return items from all libraries except Liberty and Franklin to their branch.

3.7. Item Circulation Alerts

Libraries can decide if they want to have patrons automatically notified of circulation events (check ins and check outs).

  • Get there: More > Administration > Patrons & Circulation > Item Circulation Alerts

These preferences are set based on patron types and item types.

Important

These preference can be overwritten by changes in the individual patron's messaging preferences.

To set up circulation alerts:

  • Choose your library from the pull down at the top of the screen

    • To set preferences for all libraries, keep the menu set to 'Default'

  • By default all item types and all patrons are notified of check ins and check outs. To change this, click on the item/patron type combo that you would like to stop notices for.

    • In the above example, Juveniles and Kids will not receive check out notices.