Circulation policies determine loan periods, notifications, patron borrowing privileges, fine and fees, renewals, recalls, and holds. Circulation polices are set in the WorldShare Circulation module of OCLC Service Configuration. If you are a WorldShare Management Services library with Group Aware, you must take extra care when configuring your circulation policies, since you are sharing patrons and items among your group. See Group aware for consortia for more information.
If you are a new group aware library, it is important for you to think about how you will be configuring your patron types
You need to decide among your group if you are going to be using different patron type policies or share patron policies:
Item and Loan Policies
Policies affected: Loan Policy, Location Policy, Long Overdue Policy, Hold Limit Policy, Hold Request Policy, Hold Fulfillment Policy, Notification Policy (all Notification Types except for Bill Notifications)
Loan and item based policies are tied to the owning (lending) institution. This means that the loan and item policies configured at the owning institution will apply to all patrons using those items, regardless of their home institution.
For example, Institution A has a 1 week loan period for DVDs, whereas Institution B has a 2 day loan period for DVDs. If a patron from Institution A checks out a DVD held by Institution B, the 2 day loan period will apply.
Policies affected: Notification Policy, Patron Type Policy
Bill notifications are used to notify patrons that they have accrued bills. The Bill Notification, which determines the amount at which the notification is sent to the patron, is set in the Patron Type Policy. Thus, bill notifications come from the patron's home institution (even if they check out items and accrue fines and fees from different institutions), since it is based on their Patron Type Policy and their amount of fines and fees.
For example, you are a professor at Institution A and are unhappy with the current selection of books in your field at your home institution. You decide to check out books from Institution B and Institution C since their selection is better. You are happy with the books you have on loan, so you keep them and never remove them from your office. However, you accrue over $500 of fines and fees from the books you never returned back to Institution B and C. You have the Patron Type Policy of PROFESSOR at your home institution, Institution A, which has a bill notification in place that says to send a notification 0 days after $500 worth of bills are accrued. You receive an email from your home institution, informing you about your accrued bills, even though the fines you accrued were due to books on loan from Institution B and C.
Loan Overdue Notifications
Loan overdue notifications are used to notify patrons that their items are overdue. The Overdue Notification Policy is selected in the Loan Policy, which is then applied to items in the Loan Policy Map. Thus, loan overdue notifications are based on items and come from the owning (loaning) institution.
Since the notification can go to any patron in the group from any institution in the group, you want to consider making the text in your overdue notification very generic.
For example, in the end text of the notification, you may want to write, "Please return any overdue items to a participating library in [your group]."
Policies affected: Patron Type Policy, Institution Borrower Categories
The Patron Type Policy limits patron accounts based on items overdue, outstanding bills, waived bills, total value of loans and/or items claimed lost, never had, or returned. Patron Types are created on the Institution Borrower Categories screen in the WorldShare Management Services Institution module.
Patron policies are tied to the patron's home institution. This means that the system recognizes the patron type policy settings of a patron regardless of where the patron is performing the circulation action.
For example, a patron has the STUDENT patron type policy. They are from Institution A. Their patron type policy limits them from checking out more than 10 items. The patron has 10 items on loan, but goes to Institution B and tries to check out more items. The system recognizes they are over their limit and denies the action from taking place (without an override).
You need to decide among your group if you are going to be using different patron type policies or share patron type policies:
- If you decide every institution in your group is going to have different patron type policies, OCLC recommends to prefix differing policies with your institution's OCLC Symbol. For example, INSTA Student and INSTB Student would respectively be the patron type policy for students at Institution A and the patron type policy for students at Institution B. The values set in the policies would vary depending on the institution.
- If you decide your group is going to share patron type policies, your group should decide on the patron types and their limits collectively.
Group Payment Policy
The Group Payment Policy is used to determine which institutions in your group can accept payment and waive bills for your patrons. Your institutions needs to decide if you want to grant institutions in your group permission to accept payment or waive bills for your patrons. If you do not set a group payment policy, institutions in your group will be able to accept payments for your patrons, but will be unable to waive your patron's bills.
For more information, see Group Payment Policy.
Hold Fulfillment Preferences
Your Hold Fulfillment Preferences (under Admin/General) can be changed if your institution prefers to fulfill holds for your patrons before patrons of other institutions within your group. The default setting is to not prefer your institution's patrons.
For more information, see Hold Fulfillment Preferences.
When you are part of a group, you can limit holds so that only patrons from your branch or institution can place holds for items in specific locations.
For more information, see Location Policy.