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How To Prepare: Revised Patron Codes and Stat Classes Survey

As CCS completed the profiling process, we discovered an alternate configuration that would allow libraries greater flexibility near- and long-term. The alternate configuration includes revising the list of patron codes and patron statistical classes. This adjustment allows libraries to:

  • Have more control over who has access to checkout high demand or high value materials

  • Automatically manage holds placed by non-CCS patrons

  • Maintain the balance of the patron's home library limits and checkout library limits

As an added benefit, it also provides CCS with the most flexibility to adjust or implement new policies in the future.

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. Originally, patron codes were intended to be shared by all libraries with the intent they would be used for comparative reporting. Patron statistical classes do not affect circulation limits or fine calculations. They were originally intended to be customized to each library to fulfill internal reporting needs. The initial list of patron codes and a link to the list of patron statistical classes can be found in the June 30th How To Prepare post.

The Revision

  • Patron codes will now be specific to individual libraries.

  • Patron statistical classes will be shared system-wide and used for comparative reporting.

As stated in the introduction, this adjustment will provide libraries with more control over who has access to certain collections. With the new modification, libraries will be able to restrict material checkout to local patrons, CCS patrons, or all patrons including Chicago Public Library and non-CCS reciprocal borrowers based on material type. In our current system, libraries who do not allow Chicago Public Library patrons and non-CCS reciprocal borrowers to pickup holds at their locations have to manually remove those holds. With the new configuration, Polaris will manage that process. Even with the addition of library-specific patron codes, we are able to keep the amount of patron codes at a manageable level for Polaris system administration.

Patron Codes

There will be several universal patron codes that will continue to be shared by all CCS libraries. These include non-CCS reciprocal patrons, as well as profiles that are not in use outside of the home library:

  • Reciprocal Patron: Non-CCS reciprocal patron

  • CPL Patron: Chicago Public Library patron

  • ILL Library: Non-CCS libraries who have a patron profile for ILL purposes

  • Digital/Eresource Use: Cards that only provide the user access to electronic and digital resources. Patrons with those code do not have access to check out materials

  • In-House Use: Institutional profiles used for library-related business (example: storytime card, technical services department card, collection management card)

In addition to these, each library will have 6 patron codes specific to their location. CCS reviewed data collected about patron loan limits from the June 30th How To Prepare/Profiling Survey #1 and the current Symphony user profiles to identify six general patron codes:

  • Patron: Includes residents, non-residents, and business cards

  • Limited Use: Reduced access card; may include students, temporary cards, or any user who would have different loan limits and/or fine thresholds than a regular patron card

  • Outreach: Special services users, such as home services

  • Educational: Includes both institutional school accounts and individual teacher accounts

  • Special Use: Courtesy cards that, for example, may be issued to volunteers, city employees, community organizations, etc.

  • Exempt: Users who are exempt from fines, which may include staff personal-use cards, library trustees, etc.

Why were certain patron codes combined together, such as resident/non-resident/business and teacher/school?

Patron codes are used to define such elements as loan and hold limits and fine calculations. Looking at Symphony user profiles and survey answers, we found that types of patrons such as residents and non-residents had the same limits. Further, in-district business by law have the same level of access as resident and non-resident patrons. In the survey responses, we also found that libraries issued either school or teacher cards and found the separate teacher/school profiles to be redundant.

What about Online Registration patrons?

Polaris will automatically place a block on a patron's record when they register in the PAC until staff can verify the account. There will be an online registration indicator in the patron's record even after it is made active so that staff can track statistics on PAC self-registration.

Can my library use more patron codes than listed here?

Libraries may change the name of a suggested patron code, but each library is limited to 6 library-specific codes. Separate patron codes are needed for groups of patrons that are treated differently. Other fields, like patron stat class, patron user defined fields, and patron custom data fields can be used to distinguish groups of patrons for reporting or other grouping purposes.

Can my library use fewer patron codes than listed here?

Yes. If your library does not have different loan periods, limits, fines rates, or thresholds for different patron groups (perhaps no patrons are exempt from fines) you may need fewer codes and can indicate which you do not need in the survey.

Patron Statistical Classes

Patron statistical classes will now be shared between all libraries. They will assist libraries in generating comparative patron reports and help define patron codes. CCS has developed the following list of patron statistical classes based off of current Symphony user profiles:

  • Business

  • City/Village Employee

  • Home Services

  • ILL-Inside IL

  • ILL-Outside IL

  • Library Board

  • Nonresident Fee Card

  • Nonresident Taxpayer

  • Organization

  • Outreach

  • Resident

  • School

  • Staff

  • Student

  • Teacher

  • Temporary Resident

  • Volunteer

The previous version of patron statistical classes were designed for libraries to generate internal reports; many statistical classes defined elements such as the patron's age category, gender, or which school the patron attends. Polaris offers patron profile features and options that allow libraries to generate reports around this data, even if it is not reflected in a patron statistical class.

  • Age: Can use birthday, now a required field. (At their July 26th meeting, the Governing Board voted to require libraries to collect patron birthdates.)

  • Gender: Libraries do have the option to track patron gender using a gender field in the patron's record. Not required.

  • School: Libraries can opt to define patron custom data fields - free-text fields in the patron's record that can be customized based around what the library wants to track (such as the patron's school). CCS will be exploring custom data fields during the testing phase to maximize usefulness for libraries.

  • Geographic Area: CCS has been working with address geographic data to develop reports.

To Do

Library leads should review the patron code and patron statistical class revisions with their circulation managers and directors and complete the Revised Patron Code and Stat Classes Survey by Monday, August 21st. This is a tighter turnaround than many previous How To Prepare surveys, but it is imperative that we receive responses by the 21st in order to stay on track with our data load. Preview the survey here.