[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Checking out holds to an alternate patron

Rogan Hamby rogan.hamby at yclibrary.net
Thu Nov 7 06:14:27 EST 2013

I'm on the fence about this one.  On the one hand - we run into the same
scenario, absolutely.  I  find it hard to imagine any public library
doesn't.  On the other hand our policies regarding privacy and patron
accounts might keep us from taking advantage of such a feature despite it's
utility.  With the correct patron opt in features ... maybe.  Though that
might dissuade my libraries from using it due to having to take it to the
individual boards and educating users.

So .... an ambiguous maybe?

On Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 12:41 AM, Kathy Lussier <klussier at masslnc.org> wrote:

>  Hi all,
> One big issue for our libraries has been the workflow in checking out
> items when the patron sends a family member or another person to pick up a
> hold on their behalf. We've been exploring different possibilities for
> development to improve this workflow.
> There are various ways our libraries handle this situation, but the
> following is a likely workflow:
> - A patron goes to the library and picks up their spouse's hold. They
> might pick it up from a self-service holds shelf or, if the holds shelf is
> behind the desk, they will ask staff for the item.
> - We have some libraries that use notes to verify who is allowed to pick
> up holds. In other libraries, particularly the smaller ones, staff may know
> by sight who is allowed to pick up a patron's holds. Libraries also have
> different policies on whether the hold should be checked out to the person
> who has picked up the hold or the person who originally placed the hold.
> - For those libraries that check out the item to the person who is picking
> up the hold, when they perform the checkout, they receive the message
> saying that the item is on hold for somebody else. Staff who have
> permission can then override that message and continue with the checkout.
> - The hold for the original patron remains, and there is no easy way to
> cancel that hold from this screen. Instead, staff need to retrieve the
> record for the original patron to cancel the hold. If they don't follow
> this last step, the hold remains on the patron's account and gets filled
> again.
> Circ staff who have the right permissions have the ability to perform the
> checkout and cancel the original hold so that the transaction can be
> completed. However, it takes several steps, particularly when it comes to
> the hold cancellation.
> MassLNC is considering a development project that would leverage a friends
> infrastructure already built into Evergreen that would allow us to easily
> manage who can pick up whose holds and automate the process a bit. If we
> decide to move forward with this project, I know I'll be sharing more
> information on this list as we work through some of the implementation
> details.
> However, we also recognize that, even if we provide a means for patrons to
> identify who can pick up their holds, there will continue to be situations
> where friends/family who have not yet been linked to a patron's account
> will be sent to the library to pick up someone's holds. In those
> situations, we still would like an easier way to handle the checkout.
> Here are our thoughts for improving the workflow:
> - If an item from the hold shelf is checked out to another patron, staff
> receive a prompt saying that the item is on hold for somebody else. This
> alert should display the name of the person for whom the item is on hold.
> - This prompt should provide three options: an option to cancel the
> checkout; to proceed with the checkout and remove the original patron from
> the holds queue; or to proceed with the checkout but leave the original
> patron in the holds queue.
> - The system should continue to use the same permissions it does today to
> determine if staff is authorized to proceed with the checkout by overriding
> the alert or authorized to cancel the hold.
> We aren't looking to give staff the ability to do anything they can't
> already do. We're basically trying to remove some of the steps required to
> complete the transaction.
> Before moving further on this project, I wanted to throw the idea out to
> the community to see if others would view this additional option on the
> prompt as an acceptable workflow improvement.
> Thanks!
> Kathy
> --
> Kathy Lussier
> Project Coordinator
> Massachusetts Library Network Cooperative(508) 343-0128klussier at masslnc.org
> Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kmlussier


Rogan Hamby, MLS, CCNP, MIA
Managers Headquarters Library and Reference Services,
York County Library System

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit
-- C.S. Lewis <http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1069006.C_S_Lewis>
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