How to Prepare: Profiling Survey #1

During the next month, How to Prepare will be reviewing the various elements that will become the building blocks of our new Polaris database and asking libraries for information so the elements can be customized to their policies. Libraries will fill out surveys where they will submit profiling answers, request changes, or approve settings. Please have Circulation Supervisor(s), in conjunction with Library Leads and appropriate library staff, review the documents attached in this blog post and complete Profiling Survey #1 by July 14th. If you are part of a multi-branch library and have different policies, please have each branch complete a survey. CCS will follow up with your library for any requests for changes. Please read through the entire blog post before filling out the survey. Preview the survey in PDF format.

Patron Codes

Patron codes are similar to Sirsi’s “User Profile.” In Polaris, the patron code defines available services, loan periods, fines, and limits for specific groups of patrons. Patron codes are also used to run statistical reports. All libraries across CCS will share patron codes on Polaris. Staff select a patron code from a drop-down list when registering a new cardholder.

CCS has drafted the following list of patron codes, based on existing user profile values in Sirsi:

  • Resident

  • Nonresident

  • Limited Use (restricted checkouts)

  • Outreach (includes home services patrons and other outreach cards)

  • Staff (designated for personal staff library cards)

  • In-House Use (non-personal cards used for department purposes)

  • Business

  • School

  • Teacher

  • Student (some libraries offer cards to students of universities and colleges in their communities)

  • RBP

  • Courtesy (includes cards offered to trustees, city employees, Friends, Volunteers, etc.)

  • Internet Only

  • ILL

  • Online Registration (optional - please see the Patron Access Options section. Patrons who register online will automatically be assigned this patron code. Once they come into the library to verify their status and pick up their card, their patron code will be changed to Resident)

Things to know:

  • Patron codes are used in conjunction with material types to determine check-out and request limits.

  • Example: Residents are limited to 5 videogame checkouts at a time.

  • Libraries can designate non-standard loan periods for specific patron codes.

  • Example: A branch might want to allow teachers a longer standard loan period.

  • Patron codes can be used to set fine exceptions.

  • Example: A branch might not want to charge staff for overdues.

  • Patron codes can also identify if certain groups should be charged to checkout specific material types.

  • On Polaris, libraries will no longer need in-house cards to mark items as missing, lost, in storage, etc. Those functions will be a status change in the item record, so we will no longer need specific in-house cards to mark those items.

Patron Statistical Class

Patron Statistical Classes break down patron codes into smaller subsets for reporting purposes. Each library can use their own list of statistical classes to gather valuable demographic and background information. For example, a branch may define statistical classes for specific geographic locations in their service area. Statistical Classes should not duplicate patron codes, but should instead be used to make finer distinctions in patron code categories. Unlike patron codes, Statistical Classes do not affect circulation limits or fine calculations; they are used for reporting purposes only.

Please review the Patron Statistical Class spreadsheet. Select your library’s tab from the bottom of the spreadsheet to view the current statistical class values CCS has identified for your library. These codes were drawn from Sirsi's Patron Cat 1 and user profile values. We understand that libraries may no longer use some of the values in the spreadsheet, and encourage libraries to work with CCS to make adjustments.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are there any changes you would like to make?

  • Does your library still use the groups listed in the spreadsheet?

  • What additional information does your library need for reporting purposes?

Indicate any changes or approve the given list of Patron Statistical Class values in the survey.

Patron Loan Limits

In Polaris, libraries can define loan limit thresholds that block a circulation transaction for any of the following conditions:

  • A patron owes fines that total more than a specific threshold

  • A patron has too many overdue items

  • A patron has too many total items checked out

  • A patron has too many active holds

Please review the Patron Loan Limits document. Again, select your library's tab from the bottom of the spreadsheet. This document lists fine thresholds, total checkouts allowed, total overdues, and total holds currently in use at your library for each patron code. What are 1st and 2nd level fines?

  • A 1st Level Fine triggers a message to staff looking up a patron account that that account has a fine. CCS has defined the 1st Level Fine as $.01 for all libraries, so that staff will receive a message any time a patron has a fine.

  • When the 2nd Level Fine threshold is reached, the system displays a message that the patron is blocked. An override will be required to continue the transaction.

My library doesn’t use Teacher Cards. Why is it on my list? Even though a library might not issue cards for certain patron codes, all libraries need to account for all patron codes in case someone with that code comes to check out materials at that library. Libraries can decide how they are going to treat those patrons. For example, if a library does not use Teacher Cards, but allow Teacher Cards from other CCS libraries to check out or pickup holds at their library, they could opt to treat those cards like Residents or Nonresidents. Or, they could decide that they do not want Teacher Cards to use their branch at all, and could set the Max Items out and Max Holds to zero on the Patron Loan Limits table. CCS has chosen the second option for all libraries, but libraries are welcome to modify that to suit their needs. If your library doesn't appear to currently use a patron code, it is highlighted in blue.

Indicate any changes or approve the current Patron Loan Limits settings in the survey. If your library would like to begin using a certain patron code in Polaris, please note that in the survey.

Patron Registration Options (optional)

To speed up processing when registering a new patron, libraries can opt to set certain default values in some fields for new patron records.

These fields include:

  • Patron Code (see above section)

  • Patron Statistical Class Code (see above section)

  • Expiration term (example: 3 years)

  • Postal Code

  • Area Code

  • Notification Method (print, email, or text)

If your library would like to set defaults for any of the following fields, please note them in the Patron Registration Options section of the survey. If your library does not want to set a default, leave the field blank.

Check Out Charges (optional) These settings apply only if your library charges patrons for checking out and/or renewing items of specified material types. Your library can also choose to waive the charge(s) for certain patron codes.

Please indicate whether or not your library uses Check Out Charges in the survey. If yes, there will be space to provide details about item types and patron codes.

Patron Access Options

These settings determine which functions are offered to patrons through the PowerPAC.

Patron self-registration Polaris offers the option to turn-on self-registration from the PowerPAC. Patrons are able to register themselves for a library card, with special card restrictions that are set by the library. These restrictions will be in place until the patron comes into the library to verify their status and pick up their card. If your library currently allows patron self-registration from the online catalog or your library would like to begin offering online self-registration, please provide the following information in the survey: overdue limits, hold limits, check out limits, expiration term.

Patron contact information

In the PowerPAC, patrons are able to update certain contact information fields without staff intervention: notification preferences, email address, and phone number. In the survey, please indicate whether there are any patron codes who will be restricted from updating this information in the PowerPAC and if your library would like to receive an email notification when a patron updates their information.

Ask Us

If the Ask Us option is enabled in the PowerPAC, patrons are able to send suggestions, questions, and comments via email to the library through the online catalog. In the survey, please indicate if your library would like to activate the Ask Us feature and enter the email address where patron messages should be sent.

End-of-Term Due Dates (optional)

If your library issues teacher, school, or student cards, you are able to specify end-of-term due dates for those specific patron codes. If your library chooses to use end-of-term dates, item due dates will not go past the specified date, even if the actual loan period is longer. For example, if your library issues teacher cards and you would like all materials checked out on these cards to be returned shortly after school lets out for the summer, your library can set an end-of-term date of June 15th. Please indicate whether or not your library will be using end-of-term due dates in the survey.

Interlibrary Loan Limits

Interlibrary Loan Limits set a maximum number of out-of-system loans a patron may have on their card at a given time. If your library currently caps the number of ILLs a patron may have or your library would like to set a loan, please indicate the maximum number on the survey.

Here is the link to Profiling Survey #1. Again, please complete the survey by July 14th. If you have any questions, please contact Debra and Mieko at needs@ccslib.org.