Consortia Loan Period Codes and Fine Codes

In our consortia, we currently have the item owning library determine loan length and fines. For clarity, we have loan period codes and fine codes which are descriptive (ex: 1 day, 14 day, 28 day, .10 day / $5 max) This way any staff member can look at any item and be able to tell the patron how long it goes out for and the penalty for late returns.

Because some of the libraries are fine free, we are considering switching to a system where the checkout library determines loan length and fines. However, this would necessitate a change in our loan period codes and fine codes. Do any of you have generic terms that you use? What are they?

For loan periods, I’m considering the following:

  • Short - Print
  • Regular - Print
  • Long - Print
  • Short - Media
  • Regular - Media
  • Long - Media

I’m less sure where to go with the fine codes. How many exceptions do there need to be? My starter was:

Regular - Print
Rental - Print
Regular - Media
Rental - Media

I’m leery of getting into material type specific codes too much because I don’t want to have to keep adding fine codes whenever we add a material type. Maybe it’s inevitable though?

Hi Trevor,

We now have a mix of fining and fine-free libraries. It was a little easier for us because we started from a place of having standard loan periods and fine codes across the system (for materials that can be shared) and have always had fines set by transaction location. It is up to the libraries to ensure that the fine codes and loan periods are applied correctly to the item records, and patron codes can override them.

Loan periods were unaffected by the shift to fine-free, but I included them below. For the fines, we left the fine code descriptions the same, but changed the amount in the fines table to $0 for the fine-free libraries. So, most adult book items have a thirty cent fine code, regardless of which library owns them. If they are checked out and overdue at a fining location, the fine is $0.30/day, if they are checked out at a fine-free location the fine is $0. Fortunately, the system recognizes that it should not charge for a fine of $0.

Our shared fine policy:

Our actual fine codes (some are rarely used):
No fine
twenty cent
thirty cent
two dollar
three dollar
five dollar
seven dollar
dollar/42 (Fine Retained)
twenty-five dollar

Loan periods (the last 2 were created as exceptions to pandemic loan extensions):
21-day ILL
Passes 7-day actual

The range of fines and loan periods seems to cover the libraries’ requirements.

I’ve attached our loan period codes and fine codes! We use what our implementations manager called the “book/book/book” model. The loan periods and fine codes names reflect the material type instead of being actual numeric values. Each library in the consortium determines how each code is defined at their branches. This allows the transacting library to determine loan periods and fines.

This has worked very well for us. We have many more loan periods and fine codes than we actually need at this point, especially now that 27 of our 28 members are fine free. We’re due for some cleanup on these codes, but for now, they’re fine! I would love to have system-wide loan period values so that we can further streamline, but that’s a pipe dream and a project for another day :slight_smile:

I will add that we haven’t added a loan period code, material type or fine code since we’ve moved to Polaris in 2018. All requests for new material types and codes go through our consortium Database Management group for approval, and they’ve declined the few material types that have been requested over the last few years. So we’ve been able to keep the list of codes from growing.

Loan Periods and Fine Codes.xlsx (10.9 KB)

We also use the “book/book/book” model.

But we let our members know that it isn’t a requirement for all codes to be the same on an item record. So, occasionally they’ll mix-in a different loan period code with the material type to achieve the desired loan period for a particular item. Primarily this is for material that isn’t shared within the consortium, so it is less confusing than it sounds, and it keeps us from having to create additional “matching” codes to accommodate a loan period length that is already defined in the system for that library.