MHLS Home MHLS Resource Sharing Standards
approved by the MHLS Director's Association

Patron Records | Circulation | Holds | Inter Library Loan (ILL) | Delivery | Acquisitions & Collection Development | Data Entry | OCIRC Printing Notices | Management & Reports | Approved procedures for action when standards are not followed

Patron records

  1. Placing a stop on a patron's record

    A. Manual stops should not be placed on a system-generated delinquency solely to "reinforce" the system-generated delinquency. Please note that patrons with a stop on their record are unable to participate in Request-A-Title (placing holds on materials from home). Do not use manual stops for any of the following reasons:

    1. ILL awaiting pickup
    2. Lost personal property
    3. To reinforce a system-generated delinquency , which is generated automatically for fines $10 and above, and expired cards.

    B. Manual stops may be placed / removed by any library where the problem occurs or is rectified. It is up to the library director to designate what staff in their library that can perform this function. Examples are:

    1. Patron is not responding to notices

    C. When a manual stop is placed on a patron's record, detailed information must be entered in the Patron Notes field, and should include the following:

    1. date placed
    2. library's name or three-letter code
    3. The Initials of the person placing the stop
    4. details on the reason for the stop

  2. D. Remove the notes and the manual stop once the situation is rectified. If a library encounters a situation where there are no notes on a manual stop then the stop should be removed.

    E. Manual stops should not be used to denote a duplicate record. Duplicate patron records should be merged.

  3. Pop-Up Messages & Notes

    A. Pop up messages should not be used to notify staff of overdue material or fines. The checked out items tab and fine tab will display red (and optionally sound) when a patron has an overdue item and/or fines. When items are checked in (especially in check-in - no patron) staff may not realize that the message or note should be removed. Any message placed on a patron's record should be removed when it has served its purpose.

    B. When a Pop-up Message is placed on a patron's record, the following information should be included:

    1. date placed
    2. library's name or three-letter code
    3. the initials of the person placing the message
    4. details regarding the message

    C. Reasons for placing a message include non-Millennium communications such as:

    1. ILL awaiting pickup
    2. Personal property left at the library
    3. Instructions from patrons about use of their account

    D. Patron Notes

    1. The Notes field may be used for additional Patron Record information. Please be aware that Notes do not pop-up.

  4. Patron Registration

    A. See instructions for entering patron records for the following:

    1. Re-registration-Patron has a card but no longer lives in the same area of service.
    2. Patron does not have a card and resides in the Mid Hudson Library System's area of service.
    3. Patron has a card, but cannot find it.
    4. Patron does not have a card and lives outside of Mid Hudson Library System's Area of Service.

    B. Check for a current record - In order to ensure that each patron in the system has only one card, it is imperative that a search be done against the Millennium database before a new card is issued. Search by all possible names to avoid issuing a duplicate card to a patron.

    C. Identification and proof of residence:

    1.Determine patrons home library by identification that includes proof of residence (Ex: license, lease agreement, utility bill etc.).
    2. Determine responsibility of cardholder (Ex: parent for child, facility for group home individual, etc.)

    D. Patron registration: Any person living in an MHLS service area may obtain a card from any member library, following that library's registration policies. The library should code the home library and town code to match the patron's home library, and forward the registration card to that library. Staff should not issue patron cards if the Patron Registration information is not fully entered in the database. The library that issues an incomplete card will be responsible for any lost items checked out to the card.

    E. A patron record and registration card must include a 14 digit patron barcode. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/3/08.

  5. VIP Status
  6. A. The VIP status has been removed as a valid patron type. A note should remain in the patron's record as long as necessary with pertinent information to help staff identify patrons where fines whould be waived. ~Ammendment approved by the Directors Association 10/3/2012.

  7. Expired patron records

    A. After proper ID has been shown, any library can update and re-authorize the information in an expired patron record. Current length of time for expiration is three years.

  1. Contacting another library's patrons

    A. Any patron may be contacted by any physical address or e-mail in their record only for any Millennium based activity.

    B. Other contact such as Newsletters and announcements can be sent at the patron's request

  2. Linked Patrons

    A. The linked patron feature should not be used in violation of patron privacy.

    B. Only the patron's home library can link patrons without their permission.

    C. Patrons can be linked or unlinked by their request at any library.


  1. Valid Card Required
  2. A. Circulation requires a valid library card, the only exception being a photo ID with address that matches the one in Millennium ~ Approved by Directors Association 10/3/11

  3. Claims Returned
  4. A. Claims returned should be used as a last resort. The counter will be advanced by 1 for each item claimed returned. This cannot be removed after items are checked in. A system-generated note is added to the patron record which displays the item record number and the date the claim was made. This note is removed when the item is checked in.

    B. Claims Returned for items belonging to other agencies: A library may NOT place a claims returned on any item that they do not own, regardless of where item is picked up. It is the responsibility of the patron to contact the owning agency regarding the missing material. The pickup agency may serve as a conduit to the contact, but is not required to do so.

  5. Lost materials

    A. The Replacement cost of an item will be the cost listed in the item record. If the library wishes to recover processing fees, those fees must be included in the item's price. Replacement fees are forwarded to the owning library.

    B. If a patron offers to replace the missing or damaged item with a replacement copy at a library other than the owning library, that library must contact the owning library to see if they will accept a replacement copy. It should not be assumed that this is acceptable. Replacement copies must be forwarded to the owning agency.

    C. Material was lost, paid for, and then found:

    1.This situation is a local issue on whether the policy of the library is to accept the return of the lost item or not, or refund the money paid back to the patron or not. This also includes items paid for through commerce. Approved by Directors Association 1/7/09

  6. Fines & Fees
  7. A.If at time of payment fines $25 or over are owed to any one library, payment must be sent to the owning library.

    B.Fees / Manual Charges

    1. Should be forwarded to the originating library regardless of the amount. (Some examples include: fax fees, copy fees, fee for missing barcode, fee for missing case)

    2.Collection Agency Fees must be paid in full-no partial payments.
    ~Approved by Directors Association 3/5/11

    C. Libraries should not waive fines on items checked out at other libraries. Because we use the loan rules of the checkout agency it is no longer necessary for "Free" libraries to use the ‘Waive Fines’ button in check-in.
    ~Approved by Directors Association 2/5/09

  8. Renewing an item

    A. The renewal cannot be processed if:

    1. owning library does not allow renewals of that item
    2. your library's rules do not allow it
    3. there is at least one open hold on that title

  9. Checking in Items with damaged part(s)
    A. Owning library must indicate the number of parts in the item - in M-message field of the item record. Without this indication missing pieces will be the responsibility of the owning library. An item checked in is considered accepted by the library that checks it in, and the library assumes responsibility for the condition. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 11/11/06

    B. Do a visual check before check-in. If books are damaged, AV componennts are broken, or if the item is missing pieces or damaged beyond normal wear and tear, do NOT check the item in. See Missing Components Procedure.
    ~Update Approved by Directors Association 2/5/09

    C. It is the financial responsibility of the library, at check in and check out, to make sure all pieces are included. This does not require removing components.

    D. The library that is checking in the item needs to make the first attempt to recover the missing parts by a phone call to the patron within 48 hours. The library that is checking in the item over their desk from the delivery box will call the last patron, regardless of whose patron it is, within 48 hours. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 11/1/06

  10. Attaching notes to items
  11. A. Permanently attached notes (including tape and stickers) may only be placed on an item by the owning library.

  12. Overrides / Stops / Change of Due Date

    A. Only directors or their designated representative(s) can override messages, to prevent abuse. The director is responsible for all overriding done at their library. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 12/7/07.

    B. Loans can be extended on your own materials. Generally, if the item belongs to another library, you have to call the library to ask for permission. Exceptions: book clubs (as long as there is no demand for the title), 7-day books coming in for holds can be changed to 14 days.

    C. An override of a hold is required when a patron presents an items for checkout where a hold exists. Staff must choose "proceed with checkout" when presented with an item which attempts to trap for a holds, regardless for whom the hold is for.< ~Approved by Directors Association 2/6/13.


  1. Bibliographic and Item level Holds
  2. A. Libraries should use bibliographic level holds (hold copy returned soonest) and not item level holds for faster service, excluding those with volumes. ~Approved by Directors Association 3/26/06.

  3. Limits on system holds

    A. In the OPAC, the patron is limited to placing 50 holds. A library staff member can override this on a case by case basis. ~Approved by Directors Association 1/5/2012.

  4. Awaiting pickup
  5. A. Items remain in "awaiting pickup" status for no longer than 7 business days (open days for individual library).

  6. Copies to Holds recommended purchasing

    A. Libraries should own 1 holdable copy for each 4-7 holds; 2 copies for 8-14; 3 copies for 15-23 holds to be picked up at their location. These minimum purchases also apply to audiovisual material. In the case of DVDs, holds are considered by title not format (wide screen or full screen).

  7. Rerouting Holds After Put in Transit

    A. Items that are in transit to fill a hold cannot be rerouted. Only exception is when patron has made an error in choosing their pickup agency.

  8. Multiple Holds on Bib Record

    A. Only one hold can be placed by or for a patron on any single Bibliographic record unless that patron is administering a book discussion. For book discussions the override option can be used.

  9. Missing paged item
  10. A. If an item is missing from your collection and it has a checked-in status, change the item status to missing within 36 hours, so the catalog status display will more accurately reflect its status and the item will no longer be eligible to fill a system hold. Once found and checked-in the status will change automatically from missing. If the material is not found, it is a local decision on when to manually move this item's status from missing to discard. ~Updated to include time line of 36 hours by Directors Association 2/5/09.

  11. Second Copy Local Holds

    A. Any library can choose to make a second copy limited to be requested by their local patron type. Local Hold copes can be made only after a first copy is purchased to be made available system-wide. All items for which there is not already an exception in the MHLS Direct Access Plan, regardless of hold status, must be made available to any MHLS card holder on site.~Approved by Directors Association 1/8/13.

    B. Items added to the catalog as Local Holds need to be identified in the call number field. Items will use system defined item types. ~Approved by Directors Association 1/5/2012.

  12. Special collections
  13. A. Special collections, such as e-readers, equipment, and museum passes may be excluded from the holds system and that checkout and check in of said items be done only at the owning library. Pilot or experimental collections may be non-requestable for a period of six months. ~Approved by Directors Association 9/7/2012.

Inter Library Loan (ILL)

  1. ILL Loan periods
  2. A. Be aware that any hold being sent to 'PATRN NAME: Mid-Hudson Library System-ILL-OCLC/ILL' is an out of area request, which will have an extended loan period in accordance with regional ILL lending procedures.

  3. OCLC ILLs
  4. A. Any hold for 'Mid Hudson Library System ILL-OCLC' is an out of area request and will have an extended loan period in accordance with regional ILL lending

    B. When an item that has been filled via OCLC by MHLS Ill Department becomes overdue, it is the prerogative of the owning/loaning library to determine whether or not to grant a renewal. It is the responsibility of the requesting library to notify MHLS ILL Department that a renewal is needed, before the due date. Items that become overdue may affect the ability of other MHLS libraries to borrow through OCLC.

    B. MHLS will bill each library for each OCLC loan filled for their patrons. It is acceptable that libraries who are not passing the fee on to their own patrons, to charge patrons from other libraries for the service.
    As of September 1, 2007 this fee was suspended.

  5. Processing ALA form ILL requests for agencies outside of the MHLS or SEAL membership

    A. If you receive an ALA request form from a library outside of the MHLS or Seal Membership you can either ship the item at your own expense or contact the requesting agency and ask that the request be placed as an OCLC request, which will be processed by the MHLS ILL Department.

Delivery ~Approved section by Directors Association 2/5/09

1.Delivery Procedures and Packaging Standards

A. The Directors Association has approved Delivery Procedures & Packaging Standards . Libraries are expected to follow the delivery procedures that are described in the document. Items damaged in delivery using other, non-standard packaging will be the responsibility of the owning library.
~Approved by Directors Association 2/5/09

2.Proces Routing Slip -

    A. You must use the MHLS default transit template in Millennium or use the MHLS standard print copy , which you can reproduce on two sides.

    B. The delivery location must be printed in a large format at the top of the delivery slip and secured in the item. Do not use the location's 3 letter code.~Amendment approved by Directors Association 2/7/07

    C.When using two-sided routing slips, make sure the library name is crossed-off on the used side. Do not include patron personal information (ex: phone number).

Acquisitions & Collection Development

  1. Copies to Holds recommended purchasing
  2. A. Libraries should own 1 holdable copy for each 4-7 holds; 2 copies for 8-14; 3 copies for 15-23 holds to be picked up at their location. These minimum purchases also apply to audiovisual material. In the case of DVD's, holds are considered by title not format (wide screen or full screen)

  3. Circulation of items missing parts

    A.Items missing parts should not be used to fill holds, but may be retained in a library's circulating collection. The item's itype should be set to -no holds and the call number should include "Missing Parts-No Requests". An item with an integral part, or something that would change the borrowers core experience, should be considered to be missing parts. ~Approved by Directors Association 3/5/11

  4. Order Records

    A. Members should delete order records of items that have been canceled, so as to not create bib records or transfer carts for items that will never be brought into the system.

    B. Order records will be removed and holds deleted if the order date is more than one year old, and funds are not encumbered.

Data Entry

  1. Circulation of Multi-part items (books-on-tape, videos, etc.)

    A. Owning library must indicate the number of parts in the item in a pop-up item message or with a label by the barcode, such as "check for 6 tapes" or "check for 1 book and 1 tape".~ Approved by Directors Association 3/26/06

    B. Owning library must indicate the number of parts in the item in message or with a label by the barcode, such as "check for 6 tapes" or "check for 1 book and 1 tape."

    C. Multi-part items owned by the library should be labeled with the library name. ~Approved Directors Association 5/2/06

  2. Guidelines for multi-volume records

    A. items that come in seasons must stay together.

    B. Motion pictures and other boxed releases with separate original release dates and separate titles can have separate bib records. Exception: If it comes as a boxed set, you have the option to catalog as a set with a separate bib record for the set or break it up with a separate bib record for each item.

  3. Inaccuracies in the catalog
  4. A. Should be reported to MHLS Cataloging & Database Maintenance Department by e-mail, fax or phone.

  5. Wording for Items that are No-Holds

    A. For Items that will not be available for holds call number should read "LOCAL HOLDS " ~ Wording updated by Directors Association 1/5/12

  6. Barcode Placement

    A. Barcodes may not be placed over a title, and must be in a visible place (i.e. not underneath the item)

    B. A scanable Barcode must be affixed to all circulating materials. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/3/08

  7. Identifying Label
  8. A. All circulating library materials must be marked on the exterior identifying the items as a library material (spine label, stamp, etc.). Approved by Directors Association 10/3/11

  9. Uncorrected Proofs

    A. Uncorrected proofs and screening copies cannot be in the catalog because they are not in their release form, are not intended to be distributed to the public, and carry the same ISBN as their trade counterparts. (New from 4/13/mtg-needs DA Approval)


  1. Offline Circulation Client Software

    A. All libraries must have an up-to-date copy of the offline circulation client installed.

    B. Currently, it should be used for only for offline checkout (not check-in or patron entry).

Printing Notices

  1. Title level pages and item level pages
  2. A. should be printed and filled at least once daily.

  3. Holds pick up notices

    A. should be printed at least once daily.

  4. Overdue and Billed Notices
  5. A. should be printed at least once a week.

  6. Collection Agency Notices

    A. Libraries interested in sending accounts to collection need to create their own notice to send to patrons, to warn them before collection. Note that any patron in the system could get a collection notice from one of the few libraries that would initiate this.

Management & Reports

  1. Updating Passwords
  2. A. Millennium passwords need to be changed regularly, at least every six months and always when you have had a staff member leave your employment.

    B. Beginning in February of 2008, each library will maintain at least 3 sets of initials and passwords for Millennium. The passwords will have staggered levels of authority. The highest level will include the ability to override renewals and claim items returned. Only directors or those designated by the director may have access to this level. The Medium level will be used by most staff and the lowest level can be used with pages, volunteers, or new employees to limit access. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 12/7/07

    C. Each Sierra user is required to have an individual username and password. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 8/7/12.

  3. Create Lists

    A. Clearing Out Review Files

    1. All review files should be cleared out when finished.
    2. Any review files 30 days or older will be deleted.
    ~Approved by Directors Association 2/5/09

May 4, 2001; revised 8/28/01, 9/5/01, 9/21/01, 10/26/01, 2/14/02, 3/23/03, 8/2/03, 8/9/04, 3/7/05, 2/3/06, 6/1/06, 1/1/07, 1/1/08, 8/3/08, 1/7/09, 4/5/09, 1/6/10, 3/5/11, 12/20/11, 1/6/12, 5/20/13


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