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: 

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?


At their May meeting, Governing Board will discuss whether CCS libraries should have a standard quarantine period. Governing Board will wait for the results of a study being conducted by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, OCLC, Battelle and others before deciding. These organizations are conducting a comprehensive study of the virus and library materials and  will publish their findings in the next few weeks. 

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?​


At their May meeting, Governing Board will discuss whether all CCS libraries will resume delivery and sharing materials at the same time.


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 will discuss whether overdue notice intervals should be adjusted for all CCS libraries. This timeline will be based on recommendations from the RAILS/IMLS/OCLC study.


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:

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?


Governing will discuss a coordinated approach at their May meeting. 


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?


At their May meeting, Governing Board will discuss whether all CCS libraries must provide curbside pickup to all CCS patrons, or if curbside can be limited to local cardholders if a library chooses.  


Read the FAQ for more answers! 

PowerPAC Adjustments

Banner Option 

CCS can assist libraries in adding and updating their PowerPAC banner as needed. The PowerPAC banner can link to any website for more information. The banner will display on every page in the branch’s catalog interface.  

Holds Language

CCS can update language on the Holds page of Patron Account to reflect hold pickup practice at library. Currently this language is shared among all CCS libraries and indicates the library is closed, but it can be adjusted on a branch-by-branch basis to indicate changes in hold pickup procedures.

Items Out Language

CCS can update language on the Items Out page of the Patron Account to reflect the library's policy for quarantining materials prior to checking them in. 

Placing Holds Message

If CCS modifies pick list settings so that only local items will fill local holds, patrons will be unable to place holds on materials that are not owned by their library. We can modify the language on the holds placement page to indicate the temporary adjustment in holds policies.