circulation pages

New and Improved eCard Registration Service

July 10th, we'll turn on the new eCard registration form. This is being LSTA funded through the MBLC for eight of the MA networks; CLAMS, CW/MARS, MVLC, MBLN, MLN, NOBLE, OCLN, and SAILS.  We've been allowing patrons to register for online cards for several years now, however we never had control over who was registering. Now we do, with the Quipu service. We've contracted with them to provide a basic user lookup, based on street address and last name. They will also check our system for duplicate cards. Much of the patron record will be updated automatically, and if the patron wants to come into the library to get a permanent card, other than their profile, the card will be properly filled out. Here are the basic rules for how this will work. Thank you to the circulation policy committee for helping fine-tune the process.

Who should be eligible to sign up for an eCard through SAILS?

  1. Massachusetts residents only:
    1. This is a change from the current online card signup form, which allows anyone to register for a card.
    2. Out-of-state residents who work and go to school in a SAILS community also will be ineligible. SAILS libraries have different policies on how to handle these patrons.
  2. Age requirements:
    1. Must be 13 or older to register
    2. Teens between the ages of 13-15 must supply a parent email address. A notification saying the new card was created, will be sent to this address.
    3. Ages 16 and up will get a standard eCard registration with no parental notification. 

What Profile Will Patrons Get? How will we manage physical lending for these accounts?

  1. For verified online registrants in a SAILS community:
    1. SAILSOU (SAILS Online User) profile
    2. Allow five holds and checkouts  (checkouts only circ for one day)
    3. One year expiration
  2. For verified online registrants outside of SAILS, but in MA:
    1. MASSOU (MASS Online User) profile
    2. Allow five holds and checkouts  (checkouts only circ for one day)
    3. One year expiration
    4. Different profile gives the library flexibility for preventing access to some online resources if desired.
  3. For provisional cards where the address is not verified:
    1.  OUREG (Online User Registration) profile
    2. Allow five holds and checkouts  (checkouts only circ for one day)
    3. Three week expiration
  4. The barcode prefix will match the library’s current prefix, but will start with a ‘5’ instead of a ‘2.’
    1. This will also make it easy for libraries to determine if they want to authorize an online card for local online content or not.
  5. When patrons visit the library, they will need to follow a similar process to what is done today to upgrade their card to a three-year card that borrows materials.

Which library will be assigned to each online patron?

  1. SAILS will continue to allow patrons to select a library. 

What data will be populated in the record for an online user?

  1. All name data we currently collect, with the option of adding a preferred name and checking a box to use that preferred name in all communications.
  2. The address that will be used for verification purposes will need to be entered as Address 1 and it must be in Massachusetts. 
  3. Email address (required), phone number, cell phone number (separate from phone number and used if the patron wants SMS notifications.)
  4. Date of birth - this will also be used for determining the user category 1.
  5. User category 2 will be based on the entered town/city of the address.
  6. NOHISTORY or ALLCHARGES - do you want to keep a history of the items you check out?
  7. Preferred notification method  - depending on this selection, they will be required to enter a cell phone or regular phone.

What data will not be populated in the record for an online user?

  1. Preferred language - only a few libraries have requested that this info be maintained.
  2. User groups
  3. Address 2
  4. Parent information in a ℅ field - only five libraries responding to the survey responded that they collect this information.
  5. Newsletter opt-in - varying policies among libraries. Even those who request this info from patrons don’t store it in Workflows.

Duplicate checking

Duplicate checking will be done by rejecting an account where there is an existing record matching the last name and date of birth. There are some edge cases where registrations will fail (e.g. twins), but, in Quipu’s experience, adding a first name to duplicate checking results in too many duplicate records being created.

Retaining patron information in eCard system?

Quipu stores 30 days of accepted and rejected registrations. This could be useful for troubleshooting.


Based on survey results. Brazilian Portuguese ranked high, but, after discussing the results with the Board, we agreed that it is close enough to European Portuguese to support just one Portuguese form. This makes room for both Russian and Hindi, which received an equal number of votes.

  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Haitian Creole
  • French
  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Russian
  • Hindi

Processing Damaged Items

Handling damaged items can be a complicated task. Here is the policy and procedure for processing damaged items.

Here are a few videos that show step-by-step instructions on how to deal with damaged items, depending on the amount of damage and where you are in the process.

» Processing items with minor damage
» Processing items that can no longer circulate
» Billing for Damaged Items
» Paying for Billed Items - what to do when accepting payment for an item owned by another library

Missing Items w/ Holds

A standard report for getting the information on unfillable holds is almost impossible. The problem with the one we had in workflows is that it would only report titles that had one copy on the record. It wouldn't show titles that had 2 missing copies, or 41 available copies and one missing. Just titles with one copy would be found.

The one we had in BC Analytics was reporting any title that had at least 1 missing/lost/discarded copy on it. Even if there were 41 available copies on a title, you'd get it in your list. 

The solution is a little messier, but I think it works. Use this link and you should be able to view a report listing all the holds that have unavailable items. - Items with unfillable holds. On the right side of the page, select your library to view your holds on titles with no available copies. You'll see the item count as well. Below the unavailable copies, are listed the available copies, so you can tell if you have a hold for Maus, there are 5 unavailable copies and 9 available ones.
You can copy a barcode from the list by clicking on the cell with the barcode and clicking the ctrl and v keys on the keyboard, or right click on the cell and select to copy cell. You can also print the page by using the browser's print option in the menu on the upper right.

We'll put a page with the link to this report in the g-drive. I hope this works for you. Please let me know if you have any other ideas.


Holds for patrons – item in hand

Does this situation sound familiar? A patron calls to ask to put aside an item they "see" is on the shelf. You find the item, put it on hold for the patron, and immediately trap the hold for them. We've heard of a new problem that can happen with this scenario. If you don't select the item in hand, when trapping the hold, it's possible the first copy added to the system will be selected to fill the hold, get trapped, and appear on the owning library's hold shelf. This may not be your library.

Holds aren't placed on local copies unless they're copy specific holds. The safest thing to do, after placing the holds on the items, is to use the discharge wizard, instead of the trap hold wizard. The discharge wizard should then direct you to fill the hold with the item in hand. It seems using the trap hold wizard, even if entering the local copy, can lead to inadvertently selecting the first copy added to the system as the hold. That is how title level holds are placed - on a basically random copy. Then the system finds an appropriate copy to fill the hold. Since you have the item available, using this method should flag your item to fill the hold.

We Heard You! – Training for FY19

One comment we received a couple of times on our last survey was why the SAILS staff can’t come out to libraries and do onsite training, since staff can’t easily get to our offices. Well we love coming to libraries to train! There are many benefits doing training at the library. The main one is that everyone at the library hears the same information. Procedures are done because “we’ve
always done it that way” and you may not know there are other ways of doing what is being tried. Maybe there’s a more efficient way of doing it or  sometimes we hear of a frustration point at the circ desk, for example, and it turns out something isn’t working properly because the properties at the workstation need to be changed. Being onsite often brings out these
issues, since being at the place it happens triggers the memory of what’s happening. We can also help you change your properties if we’re there and can also see examples of what’s happening and better troubleshoot.
If having us come out and train your staff sounds good, we have a form online at:
We will need the approval of the director to train onsite but the form is open to anyone and can possibly get a conversation going if you’re not quite ready to schedule the time. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

Post-it notes for damaged items

There seems to be some confusion about these post-it notes. On the line that says Lending Library enter the name of the library that was going to circulate it - not the owning library.
1. Using the standard post-it note form supplied by SAILS record the type of damage, enter today’s date and circulating library. This post-it should be put inside the cover of the item if possible.
2. The item can then be checked out to the patron
3. The circulating library should immediately place a copy specific hold on the item for the item’s owning library. A hold note must be entered briefly stating the item is damaged.
4. When the item is returning to the owning library, that library should update the item record so that the circulation note states the item is damaged. The item can then be put back into circulation.

Also please note - it is the owning library that enters the circulation note not the circulating library.

The purpose of these post-it notes is to allow a patron to borrow an item without being charged for existing damage.

Circulation Tips