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How to Prepare: Profiling Survey #4


Welcome to the last survey of the profiling segment of the migration! We really appreciate all the time and consideration libraries have put into filling out the surveys. Your survey responses and questions have been invaluable for putting this first step towards a Polaris database together.

As we finish compiling the survey results over the next week, CCS will be following up with libraries on any questions we may have. As always, if your library has any questions, you can email needs@ccslib.org. Please have appropriate supervisors and staff, in conjunction with Library Leads, review this blog post and complete Profiling Survey #4 by July 28th. If you are part of a multi-branch library and have different policies per branch, 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 and download the survey in PDF format.

Part 1: Establishing Limits

Material Limits

In previous How To Prepare entries, we looked at the different material types that will make up the basic categories of items in our database. We also established patron codes, and asked libraries to define their overall checkout and hold limits for each patron code. This week, we will use these two elements to establish more specific checkout and hold limits.

Material limits set a maximum checkout per material type. Material limits may not be relevant for all material types, just where you need to reflect any specific material loan policies.

  • Example: Your library does not limit the number of books or audiobooks a patron can have checked out on their card, but does limit the number of DVDs they can have checked out to 10.

They also determine any hold limitations for a specific material type.

  • Example: your library allows patrons to have 20 holds on their card at a time, but limits the number of video game holds to 5.

How will material limits work with patron codes?

Material limits work within the umbrella of patron loan limits that we reviewed in Profiling Survey #1. The patron loan limits set the overall number of items a patron can have checked out and the overall number of holds on their card at any given time. Depending on your library’s policies, this overall number may change with the different patron codes. Material limits dictates the maximum number of a specific material type that patron can have checked out at any given time. They also dictate how many holds on that material type they can have overall on their card at any given time.

Material limits gives libraries the flexibility to set limits on specific material types for specific patron codes. This is also where libraries can specify that a specific material type is not eligible for checkout or as a hold by a certain patron group (example: non-CCS reciprocal borrowers, Chicago Public Library patrons, school cards) or is only eligible for your cardholders.

  • Example: Your library only allows your eReaders to be checked out by your cardholders.

  • Example: your library does not allow non-CCS reciprocal borrowers or Chicago Public Library cardholders to place holds on your items.

Libraries can also place higher or lower limits on material types for specific patron codes.

  • Example: Your library limits most patron codes to 2 device checkouts, but staff can have up to 10.

  • Example: Most patron codes can have an unlimited number of DVDs checked out, but limited use cards can have up to 3 checked out.

Review the Material Limits Tables here. Select your library or branch from the tabs at the bottom of the document.

Where did this information come from?

The material limits were pulled from the existing Sirsi Circ Map and from policies posted on the library’s website, when available. Because there may have been outdated policies still included on the Circ Map, it’s important that libraries review the limits to make sure they reflect current policy.

  • Material Limit designates the maximum number of items from that material type a patron can have checked out at a given time.

  • Hold Limit designates the maximum number of holds (both pending and available for pickup) a patron can have on their card at a given time. If a hold limit was not specified in the Circ Map, the number was taken from the Total Holds indicated in the Patron Loan Limits from Survey #1.

  • The Other Branches columns designate any lending or hold policies for other CCS libraries that differ from your cardholders. If the field is blank, it follows the general policies listed for that material type.

Why are there such high limits for the eResources (eAudiobooks, eBooks, eVideos, MP3 Audiobooks, Online Resources)?

Downloadable titles need to be mapped to a type of eResource for proper display to patrons and staff in the catalog and need to have a value assigned in the tables. Access to downloadables and download limits are still governed by the resource vendor.

My Digital/eResource Use Only card is included in the limits, but they’re not able to place holds.

The total checkout and total hold limits on the patron codes specified in Survey #1 trump the material limits. If your library has profiles that are limited to zero holds and/or checkouts (such as a Digital/eResource Use Only card), they will not be able to place holds.

Why are material types my library doesn't carry listed with limits?

We understand that not all libraries carry the same material types. A number has been assigned to these material types to account for the possibility of intra-CCS interlibrary loans. If you do not carry a specific material type and wish to limit the amount of checkouts or holds your patron can potentially request, indicate the desired amount on the survey. (A zero signifies that the material type does not circulate or is not holdable, either to all or to the specific patron codes listed.)

  • Example: Your library does not carry Launchpads, but you would still like to limit your patrons to 2 Launchpad checkouts and 2 Launchpad holds at a given time. This way, if your patron travels to a library that allows unlimited Launchpad checkouts, they will still be limited to 2 checkouts.

To Do: Review your library’s table on the material limits document. Indicate any corrections, changes, or requests on the Material Limits question on Survey #4. We understand there will be some discrepancies - this is where we need to know if your library has different loan policies within a material type or if you have any irregular loan or holds policies.

*Note: 2 patron codes have been added to the initial list based on library feedback. A current list of patron codes and descriptions can be found on each page of the document.

Material Group Limits

Libraries can also create material groups of similar material types and place check-out and hold limits on the group as a whole for specific patron codes. The material group limit may be different from the individual limit on each material type that is part of the group.

  • Example: A patron code has an individual checkout limit of 5 DVDs and 5 BluRays. However, if both material types are assigned to a “Movie” material group with a group limit of 5, and the patron’s code is specified for the Movie group, the patron will be blocked from checking out any additional DVDs OR BluRays if they already have 4 DVDs and 1 BluRay disc or a similar combination checked out.

To Do: Answer the Material Group Limits question on Survey #4. If your library will use material groups, indicate which material types will be included in each grouping. In the comment box, please indicate if the group limits will only apply to specific patron codes. If the group(s) will include a material type that is not included in the list, still include it in your answer.

Part 2: Loan Periods

Loan Period Codes

A loan period is the length of time an item can be checked out for. In Polaris, loan period codes are used to set standard loan periods at each library and branch. As per the recommendation of Polaris and other library consortium, each loan period code will have a name that corresponds with the material type it will be assigned to. Loan periods are displayed in the drop-down box on the item record. An individual item's loan period code can be changed directly in that particular record.

Patron codes and item loan period codes are shared by all libraries to facilitate lending and receiving items anywhere in the system. While all CCS libraries will share the list of loan period codes, each library will able to decide individually how that code is defined.

  • Example: Both Ela and Des Plaines will share a loan period code called "Book, Default." At Ela, the definition of this loan period code might be 21 days, while at Des Plaines, this code might be defined as 28 days.

When an item is being checked out, the loan period will follow the rules of the library at which the transaction is occurring. In other words, the checkout library's loan period codes will apply.

  • Example: A Lincolnwood DVD (which is assigned a loan period code of Video Default, defined as 21 days by Lincolnwood) is sent to Lake Villa to fill a hold. When the item is checked out to a patron at Lake Villa, it will be checked out for 7 days as per Lake Villa's Video Default loan period code.

To Do: Review the list of Loan Period Codes and definitions. The loan period codes and definitions were pulled from the existing Sirsi Circ Map and from policies posted on the library’s website, when available. If there were no specific loan periods listed, a loan period was assigned based on the library's default loan period. Because there may have been outdated policies still included on the Circ Map, it’s important that libraries review the loan periods carefully to make sure they reflect current policy. Please fill out the question in Profiling Survey #4 that relates to Loan Period Codes. In the comment box available, please list changes or missing loan periods. If there are too many changes to list, email needs@ccslib.org an updated version of the spreadsheet.

Loan Period Exceptions

Loan period codes work in combination with patron codes to set loan period exceptions. Each branch can designate non-standard loan periods for specific patron codes.

  • Example: A library allows teacher or school cardholders a standard loan period of 42 days for all material types.

  • Example: A library allows outreach cardholders (such as home services patrons) to check out all materials for 56 days, regardless of material type.

A loan period specifies how long an item can be checked out, based on the loan period code assigned to the item and the patron code of the person checking out the item. You can specify a different time period for each combination of loan period code and patron code. You can have only one loan period for a specific loan period code/patron code combination in each branch.

To Do: Please fill out the question in Profiling Survey #4 that relates to Loan Period Exceptions.

Part 3: Other

Replacement and Processing Fees

If an item is damaged or lost and needs to be paid for, libraries will always use the price listed in the item’s record as the replacement cost. If, for some reason, the item price field is blank, Polaris will draw from a default replacement cost. The database will also automatically add a processing fee, based on the library’s policies.

Libraries are able to set a default replacement cost and processing fee for all material types, or can customize both by material type.

To Do: Please review your library’s column on the Replacement Fee Settings chart. Double-check the magazine material type as a number of libraries have special defaults for those. Check to make sure the appropriate processing fee is listed and, if your library uses default replacement costs, the correct price is included. The information was gathered from the Default Price spreadsheet from the Sirsi Policy Tables. Some libraries did not have policies listed on the Default Price spreadsheet, in which case a default of $0 was assigned on the Replacement Fee Settings chart. In the survey, indicate whether your library’s rates are correct or if you would like to make any changes. Tip: If your library would like a way for staff to easily flag a default price visually, we suggest not using a whole number. For example, instead of $25.00 use $25.01 or $24.99.

Shelving Status

When an item is returned to its assigned branch and checked in, the item’s circulation status in the public catalog becomes "Available," even though the item may not be immediately returned to the shelf. This can be confusing for a patron who finds the item in PAC, notes that the item’s status is "Available," but cannot find it on the shelf because it is still waiting to be reshelved. To inform the patron that the item is not yet returned to the shelf, libraries can set a period of time during which the item’s "Available" status is displayed as "Recently Returned."

The shelving status is based on the individual library's business hours, not the 24-hour clock.

  • Example: An item is checked in on Saturday afternoon, the shelving status is set for 12 hours. The library is closed on Sunday. The item's status will continue to show as "Recently Returned" come Monday morning.

We have set the default for all libraries as 12 hours. If you would like your shelving status time frame to be different or would not like to use the shelving status feature, please indicate in Profiling Survey #4.

As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Debra at 847-483-8595 or Mieko at 847-483-8956, or email needs@ccslib.org.