Effective Date: 11/3/2008 | Revised: 11/16/2018
This document is stored electronically on the SEKLS website under Services > SEKnFind > ‘For Staff’ > Policies (http://sekls.org/services/seknfind)
In libraries with more than one staff member, please make sure all staff can locate and refer to this document at any given time.
In libraries with only one staff member, please make sure one or more board members can locate and refer to this document at any given time.
1. One Patron – One Account
Each patron will have only one account within the SEKnFind Consortium. No new account is to be created for existing patrons.
The home library will be determined by the patron’s library of first registration.
The patron may choose to change his home library at any time. This most commonly occurs when the patron moves, or the patron wants to pick up their holds at a different library by default.
A new physical card may be issued for the existing patron account.
Whenever a patron approaches a library for a new card, circulation staff will search the patron database and verify that an account does not already exist for said patron.
If the patron is found, account information including address, phone, and email should be updated at the patron’s discretion. Home library may be updated at this time as well.
If the patron has multiple accounts, they should be merged onto the patron record with the fullest and most up-to-date information. Merging duplicate accounts combines all checkouts, fines, holds, and histories under the chosen account. Once merged, all outstanding problems must be resolved before usage may resume. Merging cannot be undone, so please make certain that the accounts belong to the same person before conducting a merge.
Management of outstanding account issues:
Overdue Materials – The library should offer to return the items to the owning library via the courier.
Fines – Refer to the Fines Collection policy (2.3).
Lost Materials – Patrons should be directed back to the original lending library to settle these matters.
2. Patron Confidentiality
Patron confidentiality is paramount at all times for patron and circulation records pertaining to identifiable individuals, whether the patron is your library’s patron or not. No details will be shared with any person other than the patron himself regarding address, age, materials checked out or ordered, fines owed, computer use, or any other information from the patron record. The same is true of circulation history on an item.
If patron information is requested by a member of the police force, no information is to be provided. Police should be informed that the administration of SEKnFind rests with the Southeast Kansas Library System (SEKLS), and police requests for information should be referred to the director of SEKLS, or if (s)he is not available, other SEKLS staff.
3. Patron Self-Registration
Patrons may register online via the OPAC.
Self-registered patrons are allowed 2 holds; checkouts are restricted until the account is verified.
Self-registered accounts are automatically deleted after 14 days if the account is not verified and the patron category is not updated.
When a self-registered patron approaches the desk for the first time, patron information should be verified as correct. The patron category must be changed from Self-Registered to an appropriate category (Adult In, Juvenile Out, etc.) or the account will be deleted.
4. Best Practices for Creating Patron Accounts
Uploading patron images
To aid in identification and security of patrons who may request cards at multiple locations, libraries may upload a picture of the patron to the appropriate section of the patron record. This is voluntary and if the patron refuses, a notice will be loaded into the record in place of a picture to denote that the patron has already been asked and declined the inclusion of an image to their account.
Username and password
Take time to set a username and password for the patron at the time the account is created to allow patrons access to their account via the OPAC. Usernames must be unique. Passwords must be at least 3 characters in length.
Linking parent and child accounts
Child accounts may be linked to parent/guarantor accounts during account creation. This allows staff to see checkouts on the child card via the parent account.
1. System-Wide Circulation and Fine Settings
Circulation and fine rules are constrained by system-wide settings.
A. Maximum amount a patron can owe before checkouts and holds are blocked: $10
B. Maximum fine amount per patron: $9999
C. Maximum number of holds a patron can place: 150
D. Long overdue status is added to checked out items at 99 days overdue.
E. Items circulate based on the rules of the transacting library; transferred materials will circulate according to the rules of the receiving library, not the owning library.
F. Renewal periods begin on the date the renewal takes place, not the date the item is due.
2. Local Circulation and Fine Settings
Local rules are set via the circulation and fine rules in the Administration area. Rules are applied to item type/patron category combinations based on local circulation policies.
Local Circulation/Fine Settings:
A. Current number of checkouts
B. Length of loan period (in days or hours)
C. Hard due date (makes everything in that rule due on or before the specified date)
D. Fine amount, if any
E. Fine grace period, if any
F. Number of renewals
G. Renewal period (can be longer or shorter than the regular loan period)
H. Number of holds (limits holds within the system-wide 150 hold maximum)
I. Overdue fines cap (halts fines at a specified dollar amount)
3. Collection of Fines
Staff at any library should collect fines owed at any other library when the patron is present and wishes to pay or must pay to reactivate his privileges. Fines must be below $10 for patrons to check out items.
A. If the collected fine is more than $10, forward the collected money to the library it is owed.
B. If the collected fine is less than $10, forward the amount or keep it at your library, depending on local policy.
4. Renewal of Items Abroad
When a patron asks to renew an item which is eligible for renewal but which was checked out at a different library, it is acceptable to renew the item for that patron. If the renewal requires an override of the renewal limit, the patron should be referred back to the library where they checked out the book.
5. Return of Items Abroad
If items are returned at a location different from the location at which they were initially checked out, staff should check the items in then follow any prompts that Koha displays (print, transfer and confirm a hold; return to a location; etc.). In the event that a barcode is old/too short, refer to the Barcode Pre-appending Documentation.
6. New Item Sharing
SEKLS strongly encourages libraries to adhere to the best practice of letting the system work; that is, of sending materials to fill holds as soon as the request comes up on the library’s holds queue.
A series of ‘New’ itemtypes maintains the flow of sharing while giving members a choice of immediate or delayed sharing of new materials.
Materials are considered ‘new’ for six weeks based on the date they are added to the catalog.
Libraries who share new items immediately face no restrictions. Staff and patrons at these libraries may place holds on new items as soon as they are cataloged.
Libraries who delay sharing of new materials for a six week period face barriers to borrowing ‘new’ items to account for non-lending of ‘new’ items. Library staff and patrons at these libraries cannot place holds on the ‘new’ materials of other libraries.
Please note: Local holds prioritization is active for all libraries. Regardless of your ‘new sharing’ setup, your items will give priority to your patrons’ holds.
A. All libraries will use the appropriate ‘New’ itemtype on any new item added to the catalog.
B. All materials marked ‘New’ will automatically update to a corresponding itemtype six weeks after addition to the catalog. C. All items past the six-week mark will be shared freely. D. If you choose to delay sharing, you must contact the SEKnFind Coordinator for setup.
7. Best Practices for Circulation
Scan the barcode then look: the web-based system is dependent on your Internet speed and is often slower than you expect.
You must click on the “print” button then “print slip” or click “check out” when the checkout box is empty to print a slip; it is not automatic.
Checkout slips can present privacy concerns based on how much information is displayed on the slip. Each library may customize their slips individually; contact the SEKnFind coordinator for assistance on setup and modification.
3. HOLDS & TRANSFERS
1. Placing Holds
Record-level (Next Available) holds are to be utilized in nearly every situation.
Item-specific holds lock requests to only one item which causes the hold to be filled slower and increases the potential for a hold to be abandoned. These should be used only in special cases.
Item-specific holds are not allowed in the OPAC.
2. Pulling Holds
Each library should pull holds at least once each day the library is open. It is permissible that holds be pulled only on days that a library receives courier, as long as the pulls are done prior to the courier’s arrival those days.
The holds queue regenerates every 15 minutes.
Holds must be pulled and filled prior to the next queue regeneration to prevent overlap. For example, if you run the holds queue at 8am, all holds must be pulled, checked in and transferred/confirmed prior to 11:50am to avoid conflicts with other libraries that have the item.
Items that cannot be found must be marked missing. If your item is the only one on the record, the library of the requesting patron must be notified.
3. Returning Holds
Holds not picked up by the patron within five days should be moved on.
The hold for the patron that did not pick up the item must be deleted.
The item must then be checked in.
- If the item has more holds, print slip/transfer/confirm and send the item onward
- If the item does not have holds, return it to its home library
4. Items Lost In Transit
Items lost in transit to and from your library must be investigated and accounted for.
- Find problems using the transfers-to-receive report weekly
- Check your shelves for the item
- If not found, have the borrowing/lending/owning library check their shelves
- Determine responsibility for replacing the item
- Request reimbursement or request to be billed by the owning library
Responsibility for Replacement
As soon as an item departs a lending library, it becomes the responsibility of the borrowing library. If the item never arrives at the borrowing library, or never finds its way back to the lending library, the borrowing library is responsible for replacing the item either via reimbursement or materials replacement claim.
All cataloging-related issues should be directed to the SEKLS cataloging staff.
Cataloging staff are available to perform specialty cataloging tasks such as original records that are not owned by other libraries.
Additional policies and practices concerning cataloging within the SEKnFind consortium can be found in the online cataloging manual.
1. Weekly Reports
The following reports should be run and worked on weekly:
- Orphaned Holds
2. Monthly Reports
An email will be sent at the start of each month with useful reports for keeping various parts of the catalog clean.
3. Custom Reports
Many reports are listed in the reports module under More > Reports > Use saved. For help locating a report or to have a report written, please contact the SEKnFind coordinator at SEKLS.
1. Staff Permissions
For smaller libraries (one or two staff members), SEKLS will set up staff permissions. In these cases, please notify the SEKnFind coordinator of personnel changes so that permissions can be removed and assigned as necessary.
For larger libraries, the library director or person designated by the director will set up staff permissions. We ask directors to observe the following limitations:
- No one but the director or the person designated by the director should be able to set permissions for staff.
- No one should be given superlibrarian status.
- No one but the director should be given the permission of “parameters”.
- No system preferences should be changed.
- The “edit_catalogue” permission should only be granted after SEKLS staff has trained on cataloging.
2. Calendar Setup
Each library will define its own calendar of closings each year.
Proper and timely calendar setup ensures that:
A. Fines will not accrue on days the library is closed.
B. The holds queue will not generate on days the library is closed.
C. Items will not come due on days the library is closed.
3. Overdue Notice Setup
Each library will write and define triggers for their own overdue notices. Up to three notices can be created per library. Overdue notices have the ability to restrict patron accounts when sent.
4. Purchase Suggestion Management
Each library will manage its own purchase suggestions at least once a week.
5. Tag/Comment Moderation
Tags and comments will be moderated by SEKLS staff.
6. Patrons Pending Modification
Patrons are able to request modifications to their account information via the OPAC. Staff at the home library of the patron requesting modification will approve or deny the changes.
7. Posting News Items
Only the director or designated staff persons will be allowed to post news items; this requires a special permission setting.
News items of local interest may be posted at your library on the OPAC, staff client, or both. This might include storytimes, book discussion groups, and other events aimed at your library’s individual community.
Postings of general interest may be displayed at all libraries on the OPAC, staff client, or both. Annual book sales, Kansas Humanities Council speakers, author appearances, or other non-recurring events that may have a wider appeal beyond your community can be posted to all libraries.
SEKLS staff will monitor news posts and adjust where they display if the audience is deemed inappropriate.
8. Director Transitions
In the event of a director’s departure from a library, certain standards must be maintained.
Staff Permissions - Representatives from the affected library should notify SEKLS staff immediately of any changes in directorship so that SEKnFind permissions may be adjusted. If the person(s) maintaining operation of the library in the interim does not have staff access, a circulation or substitute account for that particular library should be utilized.
Participation - During transitional periods where the director position is vacant, member libraries are expected to maintain a minimum level of participation in the consortium. Activities that must be performed daily, with or without a director include:
- Checking out items
- Renewing items
- Checking in items
- Collecting fines (if applicable)
- Placing holds for patrons
- Pulling the holds queue
- Preparing items for courier pickup
- Opening packages from courier delivery
- Notifying patrons of waiting holds
- Checking library email
- Notifying patrons of overdue items
In regards to cataloging, if remaining staff have not had cataloging training from SEKLS, items needing cataloged during the transitional period should be sent via courier to the SEKLS offices to be cataloged until the new director is hired and trained.
Closings - It is preferred that the library remain operational while director vacancies are being filled. If the library must close in the interim, SEKLS staff must be notified so that consortial activity for the library may be suspended.
1. Reporting Problems
Issues and bugs should be directed to the SEKnFind Coordinator.
All contact with ByWater Solutions will be made through the SEKnFind Coordinator.