Library Reopening Workflow & Considerations

Below is an overview of reopening considerations from the ILS/Polaris perspective. Please email with your library's reopening plan, so that CCS can provide you with the best possible support as you reopen.

View a printable document (Word)


Additional resources:

Member Update recording

Member Update Powerpoint

Member Update FAQ

Phased Reopenings

Most CCS libraries are planning for staggered or phased reopenings. While every library will have their own unique reopening plan, we have identified three likely phases libraries will pass through as they begin resuming services: 

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Checking in Materials

Libraries should plan for an increase in returned items when they begin accepting them.

Considerations when checking in materials:

  1. Quarantine materials prior to checking them in.

  2. Keep incoming materials that have not completed quarantine separate from all other materials.

  3. Do not quarantine materials in RAILS delivery bins.

  4. Staff who handle incoming, pre-quarantined materials should not handle outgoing, post-quarantined materials.

  5. Libraries with an AMH should not run pre-quarantined items through the sorter. Only materials that have completed the quarantine period should be sorted through the AMH.

  6. Intra-CCS items can be checked in and sent in transit in Polaris after being quarantined. Items that do not belong to your library must be held until RAILS delivery resumes.

FAQ: How long should libraries quarantine items?


Materials must be quarantined for three days prior to going into delivery bins. We recommend quarantining material returned to libraries in bins as well. Best practices will be discussed July 10 at the Circulation Technical Group Meeting.

Read the full FAQ for more answers!

Overdue Fees

Items may become overdue while quarantined. Libraries can prevent overdue fees from being charged for quarantined materials by:

  1. Going fine-free permanently. CCS can update library fine tables so that no overdue fees will be charged moving forward for materials checked out at that location.  

  2. Going fine-free temporarily. Libraries can choose not to charge overdue fees on select days of the week. If all days are selected, no overdue fees will be charged for any overdue materials checked out at that location. This can be quickly undone when a library wishes to resume charging overdue fees. 

  3. Free days: If a library would like to charge overdue fees outside the quarantine period, CCS can set a default number of free days to apply at check in. Overdue fees will not be charged for the free days.

Holds & Picklist Processing 

Local Holds 

  • Upon reopening, picklist volume will be much higher than normal. Pick list counts vary, but some are 3 times higher than normal at this point. Libraries should focus on pulling materials for local pickup. 

  • Some patrons may not want to pick up holds via curbside pickup, or may no longer need items placed on hold prior to closures. Encourage patrons to cancel or suspend holds so that holds are not being trapped or cancelled for patrons who do not want them. 

Delivery & Intra-CCS Holds 

Delivery will resume when RAILS is confident in safe handling guidelines. RAILS is currently working with the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, OCLC, Battelle and others on a comprehensive study of the virus and library materials. Those findings will be published in the coming weeks.  

If libraries reopen while RAILS delivery is still suspended: 

  •  CCS can modify the RTF cycle so that only items eligible for pickup at that location will be placed on a library’s pick list.  

  • Example: Only Morton Grove items can fill holds for requests w/pickup at Morton Grove. 

  • Patrons may be unable to place holds on certain titles in the catalog if their pickup library does not own the item. CCS will research modifying the PAC text to indicate this is temporary. Libraries may modify their default Limit By to only show titles owned by their library.  


Once delivery resumes, intra-CS lending can resume, and CCS will restore picklist settings. ​

FAQ: When RAILS restarts delivery, will all CCS libraries participate in intra-CCS loan? Can libraries opt-in one-by-one?​


Governing Board voted in July 2020 to allow members to opt back in to Interlibrary/Intra-CCS loan on a monthly basis, on a schedule set by CCS. The planned opt in dates are July 21, August 18, and September 22.


Read the full FAQ for more answers! 


Overdue Notices

CCS can temporarily adjust the overdue notice cycle to account for the quarantine period. See below table for recommendations.


FAQ: Will CCS adjust overdue notice timelines? 


At their May meeting, Governing Board voted to adjust overdue notices for all libraries based on the RAILS materials quarantine guidelines.


Read the full FAQ for more answers! 

Hold Notices

If an item is checked in and trapped for a hold, Polaris will deliver hold notices on the following schedule:

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If library staff check in materials prior to reopening or offering curbside service, holds may trap for patrons and notices delivered. CCS can manage hold notifications in a few ways. 

Option 1

Temporarily stop the hold notice job.


When libraries reopen or are ready to offer hold pickup services, the job could be restarted, and all holds trapped while the job was turned off would generate notices

System Decision

Option 2

Temporarily move to manual notices.

When holds are trapped for patrons, no notices will be generated in any format. Staff must manually contact patrons to let them know their holds are ready for pickup.

Library Decision

Option 3

Leave hold notices on; modify hold notice text

CCS can work with libraries to modify hold notice text to indicate materials are not yet ready for pickup.

Library Decision

FAQ: Will all CCS libraries coordinate resuming hold pickup services?


Libraries are resuming services at their own pace. All libraries resumed delivery service in June and may begin opting in to intra-CCS loan in July.


Read the full FAQ for more answers! 

Extend Hold Until Dates

Libraries typically hold items for pickup for 4 to 7 days. CCS can adjust the number of days an item is held for pickup as needed.

Updating Hold Notice Text

CCS can work with libraries to customize the language on hold pickup notices to indicate changes in services, such as curbside pickup or adjusted hours. Libraries may provide a translation for non-English language notice text.

Checking Out Materials 

Loan Periods 

Libraries may temporarily allow extended loan periods for patrons. There are two ways to provide extended loan periods.  

  1. Modify due date at checkout: Staff can use the special loan button at checkout to give patrons a longer-than-normal checkout period.  

  2. Modify loan period tables: If a library would like extended loan periods to last through the calendar year, CCS and Innovative staff can modify the library’s loan period tables. 

Checkout & Hold Limits 

CCS can adjust overall checkout and hold limits if a library would like to increase or decrease limits through at least the end of the calendar year. 

1. Checkout limits: CCS can reduce the number of overall items your patrons can have checked out on their accounts at one time. 

*Example: A library allows a patron to have 999 total items checked out on their account. CCS can reduce this to 25. All material type limits higher than the overall checkout limit would be decreased.  

2. Hold Limits: CCS can reduce the overall number of holds a patron has on their account for pickup at your library. Adjustments in limits would apply through at least the end of the calendar year. 

*Holds with statuses of Active, Suspended, Pending, Located, Shipped, Ready for Pickup, and Unclaimed count towards the limit. Holds that have statuses of Cancelled, Expired, Out (for books-by-mail libraries), and Unfillable, as well as holds that have been checked out, do not count towards the hold limit. 


Autorenew will be temporarily disabled for 1-2 days when libraries reopen. There are currently 500,000 items due on June 1, which would potentially overload the autorenew process.  

Curbside Pickup/Phased Services​

Differing services or timelines between libraries may encourage patrons to travel to other libraries for services. ​

FAQ: Are CCS members required to honor pickup up anywhere for curbside service?


Pickup anywhere requirement is suspended until further notice. Libraries may opt to provide hold pickup service to non-local members.


Read the FAQ for more answers! 

PowerPAC Adjustments

As member libraries reopen to offer limited services, you'll want to communicate important changes to your patrons. There are many opportunities to do this in the PAC. Below are examples of customization available to your library. Request customization for your library PAC by submitting a ticket to

Include a Banner

A banner is featured across the top of the catalog and appears on every page. A banner can be any color, feature a message, and include a link to helpful web pages such as library updates or forms. Keep text as brief as possible when using a banner. 


Edit Holds Text

Custom text beneath the Place Hold button lets patrons know that their holds will only be filled locally at this time. Custom text on the  Pickup Location page keeps patrons from attempting to retrieve holds at another location.


Edit Holds Text - Resuming Intra-CCS Loan

When you opt-in to resuming Intra-CCS loan, your Place Hold button will be set back to its default. Custom text on the Pickup Location page lets patrons know that not all holds from outside your library's collection may be filled. Email to make other arrangements.


Patron Account -- Items Out

Notify your patrons that Items currently checked out may stay on their account for a given amount of time due to quarantine measures. Additionally, you can notify patrons that no fines will accrue. 


Patron Account -- Holds

Notify you patrons about how they should pick up their holds. This can include a link out to an online form or web page containing more information about curbside service or delivery options. There's also the option to add a "mini-banner" on this page. The banner can be any color.