Special circulation tasks and issues

Circulation during down time

There are several options for handling checkouts when the automation system is down.

Paper—write down the transactions and key them in when the system is back up.

Scanning into a document—scan the patron and item barcodes into notepad, wordpad or other text processing software, and then copy and paste, line by line, into the system when it is back up. All of the circulation PCs have this type of software installed on them.

If the system or a library is going to be down for an extended period of time, use the Offline Circulation module of WorkFlows. Instructions are available here.

When the system is down, do NOT discharge items. Discharging offline causes problems because the system will attempt to fill holds, transit items, etc., once the transactions are processed after coming back up, but the item may have gone elsewhere.

Claims returned

Claiming an Item Returned (General)  -- Claiming an Item Returned (step-by-step)

When a patron claims to have returned an item, there is a circulation wizard to handle the process.

The claims-returned date must be set to the due date to keep fines from accruing on the item.

The Item:

  • Shows in the catalog as Long Overdue, Unavailable.
  • Shows on either the user’s ACTIVE check out list or on the INACTIVE list. The item stays on the user’s list until the item is returned or the library manually handles it.
    Note:  If the item was claimed returned after the lost notice was generated, the item displays on the user's INACTIVE list.
  • Does NOT display on their user’s checkout list
  • Does NOT display in My Account in the catalog
  • Does NOT go through the lost-assum processing

The user does not get any further notices on the item.

The claims-returned counter is incremented for each item and an alert showing the number of claims returned items displays when the user record is called up. The counter does not decrement if the item is returned. The counter can be reset manually in Modify User (privilege tab)

The library needs to decide whether the claims-returned items are to be billed or forgiven and then take care of the items. Winnefox can provide lists for the library.

The system does not record or display which library claimed the item returned.

Clearing the Claims-Returned

Clearing the claims-returned item is done by discharging the item. Write down or copy (for later pasting) the Item ID.

There are two parts to the process:

Is the item going to be made missing or withdrawn?
Either use the missing wizard to set the item missing or check it out to the library’s Withdrawn user. Either process will require an override. It may require a second override if there is a hold on the item. The standard override works for this step.

Is the user is going to be billed?
If the library is billing the user, it must be done using the Bill-A-User wizard. Use the bill reason of BILLCLMRET. The library decides the amount of the bill. The system requires the item ID.

If the library does not bill the user for the item, nothing further needs to be done unless the library chooses to put a note in the patron record. Some libraries put the date and the title of the claims-returned item that was forgiven.

If the item does not belong to your library, please notify the owning library.

Damaged items

Handling Damaged Items, Especially Ones Belonging to Other Libraries

The library where the damaged item is returned is responsible for handling that item, regardless of the owner of the item.

There is a DAMAGED user record for each library. Damaged items are checked out to that user, but do not count as a circulation transaction.  In WorkFlows the due date will show as NEVER and there are no notices.

There is one card per library so each library can see the items it has marked as damaged. The library needs to review the has-list for its damaged user at least twice a year to clean up items.

When an item is checked out to the DAMAGED user, the current location of the item becomes DAMAGED.  It displays in the online catalog as Item Damaged, Unavailable.

A Checked-Out Item is Returned Damaged

  1. Use Check Item Status to see if the item is checked out.  If the item is checked out, it will show the borrower’s name.
  2. Search for the borrower address information in Display User and fill out whatever local form is used to notify the patron about the damage.  Notify the patron.
  3. Add a charge to patron record under Billing a User. The local library, not the owning library, charge-rate applies.
  4. If the user is being charged for the replacement of the item (i.e. water soaked book or cracked CD), use the system default price unless there is a price in the item record.
  5. If the user is being charged for a repairable damage (i.e. a missing DVD case, pages missing from a magazine), use your library’s charge.
  6. Check out the damaged item to the damaged card for YOUR library, regardless of the owner of the item.  This will require an override, but prevents the item from going to Transit.

The User Pays for a Completely Damaged Item

  1. Have the user write a check for the replacement bill made payable to the OWNING library.
  2. Send the check and a note via the delivery to the owning library. The note should identify the item so the owning library can decide on replacing it.
  3. Withdraw the item by checking it out to the OWNING library’s WD user.
  4. (The patron may keep the item if that is the library’s policy.)

The User Pays for a Partially Damaged Item
When the user pays for an item that was billed for partial damage, send both the money and the damaged item back to the owning library.

The User Brings in a Replacement
Do not accept a replacement copy for another library. The owning library may be contacted to see if the replacement is ok, but that is not required.

The User Never Pays
After 6 months on the library’s damaged shelf, an item belonging to another library should be returned to the owning library so it can decide what to do with it—fix, replace, withdraw, etc. 

To Bill or Not to Bill?
We suggest that small wear and tear, such as missing barcodes, torn pages, cracked CD cases, cracked bindings, and shabby paperback covers NOT be billed. Staff time is too expensive to spend on low-cost, under $5.00 charges.

Hardship Cases
If the borrower’s situation warrants special consideration, call the owning library to work out an appropriate compromise or to cancel a bill entirely. In the case of accidents, fires, etc. there is room for accommodation.

Damaged Items and Filling Holds
If a damaged item is still useable and the library doesn’t charge for that kind of damage (i.e. cracked CD case), then it is ok to send out the damaged item to fill a hold.  If the library would bill for that kind of damage, then it should fix it before sending it or should at least put a note on the item.  The charging library might want to also note the damage (if they would bill for it) before they check it out.

User ID


Failed email notices

When the email system cannot deliver an email, it is returned to the Winnefox email system as an Undeliverable or “Bounced” email. The email is then manually forwarded to individual libraries to handle for their own patrons. The bounced notification will appear exactly as a usual notice, but with the name and address of a specific patron will be beneath the library’s mailing address.

It is very important to handle these undelivered email in a timely manner; if the email has been returned as undeliverable, then the patron did not receive their notice, and will not receive any other notices sent to that same email address.

When you receive a bounced email, go into WorkFlows and open up Modify/Renew User. Click on the User Search helper in the top left corner, and 1) change the search to a Keyword search by “6Email”, then 2) Search for the patron’s email. 

SEARCH BY EMAIL, NOT THE PATRON’S NAME, TO FIND EVERY ACCOUNT WITH THE SAME EMAIL. Sometimes a family shares a single email address for their notices. If one’s patron’s notices could not be delivered to that email address, notices for the others using that email address will bounce back as well. The email address needs to be removed from all records it is attached to.

Within the patron’s account, go into the “Address” tab, click on the email address in the Email field so that the email is highlighted, and USE THE DELETE ROW HELPER. It’s the one just above the address fields with a red X.

 Delete Row Helper

If the Delete Row Helper is not used (i.e., if the Delete or Backspace key is used instead) the email is not actually deleted within the system, and emails will continue to be sent to an invalid email address.

Once the email has been deleted from the patron’s record, optionally, you can add a note to their account requesting verification of their email address. Use the Extended Info tab to do so. DO NOT ADD A NOTE IN THE EMAIL FIELD in the address tab.

Optionally, you can then contact the patron to inform them about the content of the notice that was returned as undeliverable: a hold’s available, or they have overdue material.

At times, the email address has a very obvious error: .con instead of .com, no @ sign, spaces in the email address instead of underscores, .gmaill.com and similar misspellings. In these cases, the email address does not need to be deleted; it can be edited and saved with no special requirements.

If you have questions on a bounced email, please contact Melissa Klein at 920-236-5230, or at klein@winnefox.org

Renewals and multiple renewals

The automation system is set up to allow two renewals of an item if there are no holds on the title.

The standard override can be used to allow additional renewals.

Additional renewals should be an occasional exception, especially if the item does not belong to the library.  The additional renewals prevent browsers from finding material on library shelves.

The library should never do a renewal to override a hold.

Unreturned items (UI-LOST)

When items are checked out and not returned, there is a annual process that breaks the link between the user and the LOST-ASSUM item so the item can be withdrawn.  The item is at least 18 months overdue at the time this is done.  The user is both billed for the lost item, and is barred.


WALS uses a two reports to process items that have been checked out and not returned, and are not expected to be returned. These items show in the database as LOST-ASSUM. 

The first report, Process Long Overdue Items, does five things:

  1. Discharges the item from the patron record
  2. Bars the patron
  3. Puts the item in a location of UI-LOST for later removal
  4. Creates a generic UI-ITEM bill for each item
    The bill does NOT give the title of the lost item.
    The bill is the price of the Item if the price is in the item record.
    The price is $25 for anything without a price in the item record.
  5. Creates a Lost-Item note in the patron record for each item removed.

The title, call number, Item ID, and due date are included in the note. The information in that field is searchable with a keyword search of the notes field.  The note stays in the user's record until manually removed.

There is NO link between the item in the notes field and the bill.  If the patron pays the bill, or the item is returned in the book drop, the note must be removed manually.

The second report, Remove Item by Location, permanently removes the UI-LOST items from the database.   If it is the last copy, the report also removes the bibliographic record.

This process is done annually to remove items from the database.

ILL checkouts and special due dates

The circulation software does not have a default loan period for interlibrary loan material.  When ILL items are being checked out, the staff person needs to use the Special Due Date helper for that transaction.  The due date should match the paperwork that came with the ILL item.

There are 3 options:

  • Use special due date from now on
  • For this user only  (This is the one staff should be using)
  • For this checkout only

If you Use special due date from now on, you will be giving the date you entered for that patron‘s item to not only that patron but to every single user after that!  The program returns to the normal due dates only if you close out of checkout and go to a different function like Borrower Display or Discharge. 

If you select For this user only, all of the books that you check out to this customer will have the date you set—ILL as well as everything else. But when you leave that user, the next user will get regular dates.

If you For this checkout only, the selected date will be applied only to the first book scanned. The system reverts to regular checkout dates for that same person without you having to do anything.

Missing contents

Procedure—Handling Missing-Content Items

The library where the missing-content item is returned is responsible for handling that item, regardless of the owner of the item.

Procedures vary at Winnefox libraries as to whether the missing-content item remains on the borrower record or is discharged and then charged to a missing-content user.

The key issue is that the library where the item was returned is to make a good-faith effort to get the missing part back from the borrower. The part that was returned should remain at the library while the patron is being contacted.  

There is a MISSING CONTENT user record for Oshkosh, Menasha, and Neenah. Those libraries check items out to their MC user rather than leaving the item on the user’s record.

The User Does NOT Return the Missing Part

If the user does not return the missing part within 2-3 months, add a charge to patron record under Billing a User and put a note in the user’s record. The local library, not the owning library, charge-rate applies. In most cases, the user should be charged for the replacement cost of the item.

Within 6 months, make a withdraw/replace decision for your own items, and return items belonging to other libraries. Put a note on each item returned so they the library knows what has happened.

Missing Item List

Items that have been missing for more than 3 months should be identified by using the XX-List Items Missing+ (where XX is your library's 2-digit code) report in Workflows, and then searched for on your shelves.

Detailed instructions on how to run this report are located here.

This report is found in the Reports tab of Workflows, under "Schedule a New Report", the second option on the menu. The only change that may need to be made is the Date Last Charged field, which is in the Item Selection tab; you can change the default value of items that were last set Missing or DA more than 3 months ago.

Previous borrower

Sometimes a library discharges an item and then notices that the item is damaged or that parts are missing.

If the Discharging the Bookdrop wizard is being used, highlight the item in question and click on the Display User Wizard.  The previous borrower will appear as the Current button. This only works while the Discharging Bookdrop Wizard is still open.  If the Clear Discharge List or Close are clicked, one can't get back to patrons for those items.

If the dischared item was overdue, the discharge created a bill.  In that case search for the specific copy and look to see if there is a bill. 

If there is no bill, the log files from the automation system can be used to look up the previous borrower. Email Karla Smith (at smith@winnefox.org) or Melissa Klein (at klein@winnefox.org) with the barcode of the item.

The same report can be used to look up by borrower. Sometimes a problem situation can be resolved by seeing what else a user checked out at the time of the problem.

Please use the subject heading "Previous Info Request" when emailing Karla with the information to be looked up.