Evergreen RAQ (Recently Asked Questions)

Added 10/28/2020

35. If a patron who has registered online doesn't visit the library within six months from the card being issued and then reaches out to us to renew, would you suggest we renew it or should we ask them to visit to verify their identification / address in-person?

In order for a patron to have their account converted from the "Online Patron" profile to a "Patron" profile, a patron should visit a library with proof of identification and/or address. When this is done, Evergreen should automatically change their expiration date to two years from the current day (the expiration interval for "Online Patron" profiles is six months, and the expiration interval for "Patron" profiles is two years, and switching from one to another should also adjust the expiration date accordingly). If everything is working properly, there shouldn't be anything that you will need to do to update the expiration date when the profile is updated. A patron who is converted from an "Online Patron" to a standard "Patron" profile also shouldn't need to be issued a new physical card -- they can keep using the same card that was mailed to them.

If the patron doesn't come in within six months and reaches out to renew their card, it should be totally fine to renew their card. In this case, since they'd still have the "Online Patron" profile, using the "Update Expire Date" button should update their expiration date to six months from the current date.

Added 10/8/2020

34. Are we able to continue to use the Amnesty Mode checkin modifier?

The amnesty mode checkin modifier is a workstation setting -- once it's been set at a workstation, it will remain set until you turn it off. We didn't do anything to turn it on or make it a default, although we did recommend its use.

It's important to be aware that because it's a workstation setting, if you use any new computers or if you lose workstation settings for some reason (usually caused by clearing cookies from Chrome's cache), you would have to turn amnesty mode on (and you'd have to reset / reconfigure all other workstation-related settings, like receipt templates, search scope settings, etc.). There's nothing that we will do to shut off amnesty mode for anyone still using it.

Added 9/3/2020

33. Are holds that had previously been suspended being unsuspended?

No, if a hold had been suspended before delivery between libraries stopped in March, that hold will remain suspended. There are a few exceptions: If a patron had set an expiration date for the hold and the expiration date has passed, that suspended hold will have expired. If a patron set a date on which the hold should be unsuspended and that date has passed, the hold will be considered an active, unsuspended hold.

The process we have been using to prevent holds from targeting items at libraries other than the pickup library does not affect whether or not that hold is suspended or unsuspended. Lifting those restrictions to allow items to move between libraries again also does not affect whether a hold is suspended or unsuspended.

32. Holds from July are appearing on our pull lists to be sent to other libraries. Should this be happening?

You may start seeing holds placed through mid-August on your pull list. The most recent batch of holds released included holds placed earlier this summer. We are releasing these holds in batches so that holds placed earlier in the summer / earlier this year have an opportunity to retarget items system-wide before new holds are able to be placed for items system-wide.

Added 9/2/2020

31. I was able to place a copy-level hold on another library's items. Is this a loophole?

Staff are able to place a copy-level hold on another library's items. However, even though the hold can be placed, Evergreen will not target the other library's item for the hold, even if it is available on the shelf. If you have a patron you've placed a copy-level hold for and you look at their list of holds, you should see that there are 0 "Potential Items" (even if the item is available). Essentially, any hold for pickup at one library that's a copy-level hold on another library's item will end up as an "orphan" hold until we reconfigure those holds to be allowed to use other libraries' items.

Added 8/31/2020

30. Emailed hold notifications have been turned back on. Are SMS (text message) hold notifications back on, too?

SMS (text message) hold notifications are still off. The hold notification emails were approved with modified language asking that patrons visit their library's website or contact their library to confirm pickup arrangements. Having this extra language in the SMS messages would have made them unwieldy. Additionally, the hold notification emails were approved with a delay, which wouldn't be possible to implement for SMS messages.

Added 7/21/2020

29. Are overdue emails being sent?

No overdue emails are currently being sent. However, pre-due notifications (AKA courtesy notices) and auto-renewal notifcations are still being sent, and may be causing some confusion. Some patrons who return items on or near their due date will receive these emails while their items are in quarantine but still checked out. The pre-due and automatic renewal notification emails now include the following text, which closely mirrors the text we have in the special message on owwl.org:

Please note that when you return items, they may remain on your account for several days, but no overdue fees will accrue. For your safety and the safety of library staff, current recommended safety protocols include quarantining returned items for a set number of days. Items will be checked in by library staff once the quarantine period has passed. Once checked in, these items will no longer appear on your account. If you have already returned your items, please disregard this notice.

Added 7/9/2020

28. May libraries issue cards to "Online Patrons" (who self-register for a card remotely) who live outside Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming, or Livingston counties?

While the workflow for self-registration was primarily designed to replace the Instant Digital Cards through OverDrive (which were only able to be issued to patrons with a verifiable address in OWWL counties), libraries, especially those close to neighboring counties, may wish to issue cards requested through self-registration to patrons who do not live within the system. Libraries should follow their local borrower policies for issuing library cards to Out-of-System residents.

27. Are emailed hold notifications able to be activated on a per-library or per-patron basis?

Evergreen runs the hold notifications as a batch process for all libraries. That batch process is off for now to accommodate the many new (and different) workflows libraries have adopted as they have resumed modified services. Whether or not that batch process will continue to remain off will be reevaluated by PLSDAC.

Questions below may reference older models of hold fulfillment and are obsolete

Added 7/2/2020

26. An item on my pull list is being sent for a hold at another library. Why did this happen?


25. Where can patrons go to sign up for a library card online?

The registration form is not yet being widely advertised. The link is on the home page of the catalog on the bottom left (it should show up as "Request Library Card" as long as you're not logged in: https://evergreen.owwl.org/eg/opac/home).

Directors were also sent an email with further information and with a spreadsheet that includes individual links that can be used to add to each library's website to direct patrons right to the form with your library preselected. This link can be added to a library's website.

24. What do I do if a family member is picking up holds for a patron?

Some libraries may allow a designated household / family member to pick up holds for a patron. If your library allows this, we recommend still checking out the items to the patrons who originally placed the holds. If your local policy requires the items to be checked out to the patron picking the items up, then you must cancel the originally placed holds after checking the items out to the household / family member picking the holds up.

Failing to do one of these two options may create a rogue hold that will search for an item system-wide.

23. When I mark an item as damaged, I don't see the confirmation to charge the most recent patron for the item and the patron is charged automatically. Where did that confirmation pop-up go?

We've received multiple reports about a missing confirmation pop-up when marking an item as damaged. Normally, this confirmation pop-up would appear after you mark a returned item as damaged asking you to confirm whether you want to charge the most recent patron (and how much to charge). The reports we've received indicate that marking an item as damaged does not cause this confirmation pop-up to display and results in the most recent patron being automatically charged the full price of the item.

We think this issue may have been caused by a combination of a patch / bug fix and an issue with browsers. We're investigating and will follow up when we have identified and fixed the issue.

In the meantime, please be aware that items you mark as damaged will results in the most recent patron being automatically charged. If you did not want to charge the patron, you will have to forgive the fines.

Added 6/22/2020

22. Are patrons being sent email or text hold notifications? When we scan in items, some of them are showing that patrons are being notified by email or text.

The messages that you are seeing when you receive holds from transits are there because of what the patron put in for their notification preferences when they placed the hold back in March (or earlier). Normally, these preferences would then tell Evergreen to send the email and/or text message. However, we have turned off these specific emails and text messages, so they shouldn't actually be sent.

We didn't deactivate all emails, though -- so if somebody gets checkout receipts emailed, for example, Evergreen will still send those emails. If you are checking materials out to people for curbside pickup well ahead of time, they will receive those emails.

Added 6/18/2020

21. We received an item from another library in our cleanup delivery run that was scanned in and showed a hold for pickup for one of our patrons. Should this be happening?

Anything you receive in delivery right now is fair game to receive for holds for your patrons. The items you're receiving in the clean-up delivery runs include items that had already been captured and put in transit back in March and have been sitting in delivery bins at libraries or at PLSHQ. After you receive these holds, you will want to make sure to get in touch the patrons by phone or email when you are ready to have patrons pick up items (hold notifications are off, and will remain off for the foreseeable future).

Any holds that had already been captured will continue to move in these cleanup delivery runs.

However, any holds that had been placed back on or before March 14 that were NOT already captured have been changed so they will only look for items owned by the pickup library for the hold. When we turn on the ability to place holds again on June 29, newly placed holds will also only look for items owned by the pickup library to fulfill the holds.

20. If a patron logs in to the OPAC, will they get results limited to holdings for their home library?

The default scope of a search depends on the preferences of the patron. If a patron is logged in to their account on the OPAC, there is a preferences page where a patron can set their "Preferred search location." The default preference is the patron's home library, but it is possible for patrons to change this preference; we have a page on owwl.org that gives a brief walkthrough for patrons.

19. How will patrons searching the catalog know they can only request materials from the pick-up library they select?

Before we turn holds back on (on June 29), we will replace the current red banner on the OPAC with a more concise banner (in a friendlier color). The banner will point to a page that we will have on owwl.org that will explain the specific restrictions we have in place (that patrons can only place holds on items owned by the pickup library they select). This page on owwl.org will also give a walkthrough for patrons on how to search for items only at a particular library.

18. Will patrons who have self-registered and been mailed a card be able to check out or renew physical items?

No, they will not be able to check out or renew items; the restrictions we have in place mean that these specific online patrons will not be able to check out physical items until they have later been converted to a "regular" patron type. This could happen the first time they visit a library -- they would be required to provide ID (or whatever your local practice is for confirming identity and signing up for a card). From then on, they would act like any other patron and would be able to check out or renew items.

17. For the purposes of reporting: Will pending patrons count as new patrons on patron reports?

The patrons will not appear or count as a new patron until you have actually registered them for a card.

From the Pending Patron list, you would select the option to "Load Patron," which would bring you to the patron registration screen that you are familiar with. From there, they will be assigned a barcode and the specific patron type ("Online Patron"). After their registration is saved, they will show up on the next "Monthly New Users" report that is run.

16. When we check in materials belonging to another library, if there is a holds request on that item to send it to another library, should we fulfill the hold or ignore it and place the item back in delivery to the owning library?

At this point, Evergreen should be sending all items "home," so if you have any items -- especially any of your own items -- that are being sent to other libraries for holds, Evergreen isn't doing what we're expecting it to. The only time that Evergreen should be putting an item in transit for a hold is if that item is going for a hold at the owning library.

If you're finding that Evergreen is trying to send items for holds, please send an email to evergreen@pls-net.org with a barcode (or more than one, if you have more than one) of an item that was put in transit for a hold.

15. Are we able to use the Amnesty Mode Checkin Modifier on all returned items or only on items owned by our library?

If you are planning to use the amnesty mode Checkin Modifier, please feel free to use if for all items; no need to separate other libraries' items before checking in!

OWWL policy for overdue fines is that bill payments are kept by the library that collects them. Also, in general, we have Evergreen set up so that it calculates fine accrual based on the checkout library's circulation rules, not the owning library's rules.

14. Do holds that are on holds shelves (waiting for pickup) count towards the limit of seven holds?

Yes. Seven is the maximum number of holds -- whether active, suspended, or available -- that any patron will be able to have at any one time.

13. The date on which holds will be able to be placed (6/29) was recently confirmed. Will all of the restrictions previously discussed (such as only being abe to place holds for pickup from a library that owns a copy of a title) still be in place?

Yes. Please see question #1 on this page for more information.

Added 6/16/2020

12. What if a patron no longer wants a hold that has been on the hold shelf for them since March? Can we cancel the hold?

Yes, you may! There is a two-step process:
  1. Cancel the hold. You may do this either from the patron's list of open hold requests or from your "Holds Shelf" view (in Circulation > Holds Shelf). Either way, you would cancel the holds by selecting the checkboxes for the applicable holds and then pressing "Cancel Hold" from the "Actions" menu. "Cancel Hold" is one of the last options in that menu.
  2. After you have canceled the hold, please make sure to check the item in! If it belong to another library, it will go in transit. If the item is owned by your library, it should either be captured for the next hold in the queue for pickup at your library or should go into reshelving.

11. When are items checked out now going to be due? Should they be coming up as due in July?

Below is a chart that gives a breakdown of the due dates for all items. The final due date shift itself happened on 6/9 and affected all items due between 3/15 and 7/2:

Original Checkout / Due Date Combination Updated Due Date Fine Information
Items checked out before shutdown AND
Due before 3/15
(i.e. items that were already overdue)
Keep original due date (from March or earlier)

-Overdue fines may already have been accruing before 3/15 (these were items that were already overdue)

-Fines were frozen from 3/15 to 7/1
-Fines begin to accrue again as of 7/1
-Strongly recommend checking in all returns using Amnesty Mode Checkin Modifier to remove fines for items through end of July
Items checked out before shutdown (before 3/15) AND
Due 3/15 - 7/2
Due date updated to 9/30 -No fines
-Fines will begin to accrue on 10/1*
*Or later if grace period is still in effect
Items checked out between 3/15 and 6/9 AND
Due 3/15 - 7/2
Due date updated to 9/30 -No fines
-Fines will begin to accrue on 10/1*
*Or later if grace period is still in effect
Items checked out between 3/15 and 6/9 AND
Due 7/3 or after
(This only would have happened if a library manually edited a due date)
Keep original due date -Fines will begin to accrue after due date
(Don't forget 5-day grace period!)
-Strongly recommend checking in all returns using Amnesty Mode Checkin Modifier to remove fines for items through end of July

Items checked out 6/9 or after AND
Any due date
Follow normal circulation rules and keep original due date*
*"Closed" rules in Evergreen mean that these items default to being due on 7/1 (for most libraries)
-Fines will begin to accrue after due date
(Don't forget 5-day grace period!)
-Strongly recommend checking in all returns using Amnesty Mode Checkin Modifier to remove fines for items through end of July
The only items that were shifted to 9/30 were any items that were already checked out as of the date we made the shift (6/9). Everything checked out from 6/9 forward will follow normal circulation rules, with the caveat that Evergreen thinks that all libraries are "closed" through 6/30. If you are checking items out now and have a 7-day loan item, this status of being "closed" will cause Evergreen to make the item due on the next "open" date (7/1 for most libraries).

10. How will patrons be notified of available holds?

All SMS and email hold notifications are off for everyone right now, and will remain off for the foreseeable future. These were turned off, and are being kept off (on advice of PLSDAC) to allow libraries to contact patrons on their own time. PLSDAC's Executive Committee will revisit this decision at a later time. For now, libraries should contact patrons for available holds when they are ready to resume services to the public.

9. Should Evergreen allow local holds to be captured?

Yes! Although nobody can place holds at the time that this question is being answered, any holds that had been placed prior to 3/14 (the date on which we shut holds off) could be captured.

Evergreen should only be using items owned by your library for holds for pickup at your library.

(One exception to this: If you are working with any cleanup delivery runs and are checking in items that had already been put in delivery from another library for a hold for pickup at your library back in March, those items should also end up on your holds shelves).

8. Are libraries able to keep their own items that were put in transit to other libraries for holds in March?

No, items in transit should stay in transit.

If a transit for a hold is canceled, Evergreen will look across the system for an item to fulfill that hold, not just at the pickup library. Unfortunately, there is not a risk-free way to intervene to prevent canceled transits from acting this way in the future without potentially affecting the holds for items that are already in transit, so we please do not cancel any transits.

However, you are still able to cancel holds themselves. Feel free to cancel a hold if a patron has requested their hold be cancelled. The hiccup in Evergreen occurs when a hold had previously been captured, and then is "uncaptured" when the item is canceled from transit. In this case, the hold has not been canceled, so it then looks system-wide for an item to fulfill it.

7. Will holds that were placed prior to 3/14 (the date on which holds were turned off) be kept? Will they keep their place in the queue?

Holds that were placed on or prior to 3/14 (the date we shut holds off) will remain on patrons' accounts. There are some notes / exceptions, though:
  • Holds may have expired. The default hold expiration in Evergreen is 300 days, but can be manually adjusted when a hold is placed. If a patron had placed a hold about a year ago that had never been fulfilled, it's possible that this hold expired.
  • Since holds are only going to be fulfilled by items that are locally owned, patrons' holds may remain unfilled if there are no locally owned copies. If a hold was placed last summer and still hadn't been filled, it's possible that those holds might have already expired, or might expire soon.
  • The queue should remain the same, but patrons will be "skipped" if there are no locally owned copies of a title to fulfill the hold. However, they will remain in the queue order, and may eventually have their hold fulfilled once delivery resumes (assuming their library hasn't purchased a copy of heavily requested items first).

6. Is it OK to use the Amnesty Mode Checkin Modifier with other Checkin Modifiers?

Yes, absolutely! You may have some Checkin Modifiers active already (most likely "Auto-Print Hold and Transit Slips" and "Always Retarget Local Holds"). When you activate the "Amnesty Mode" Checkin Modifier, it will be added to the list in the bar at the top of the screen. For more on Checkin Modifiers, see this page.

Added 6/8/2020

5. Will patrons be able to place holds on other libraries' items?

Yes, patrons will not be limited to placing holds for pickup at their "home" library. However, they will only be able to place holds on other libraries' items if they select that other library as the pickup library.

4. What if a patron has more than seven holds already?

Patrons who already have seven or more holds will not be able to place any additional holds. No existing holds will be removed, though. Patrons who have found that they have run into the hold limit may want to consider using the My Lists feature to keep track of reading lists if they had previously used suspended holds for keeping track of reading lists.

3. Is the hold limit seven holds per library?

No, the hold limit is a system-wide hold limit. Seven holds (whether active or suspended) total may be placed.

2. When holds are able to be placed starting June 29, how many holds may patrons place?

Patrons will be able to place up to seven holds. One key difference between hold policies prior to COVID-19 and now is that suspended holds will count towards the limit.

1. Are patrons able to place holds?

It depends on when you're reading this! Until June 29, 2020, nobody will be able to place holds. However, any existing holds may be still captured. Items will now only fulfill holds at their owning library. Holds will either show up on the owning library's pull list or will be captured opportunistically.

On June 29, staff and patrons will be able to place holds again. However, holds will be able to be placed only if a copy of the title is owned by the pickup library. Because there will not yet be any regularly scheduled PLS deliveries, these measures will cut down significantly on the number of items put in transit between libraries.
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