Resource Sharing Standards

Patron records

Each library is responsible for any loss incurred when it does not follow Resource Sharing policies.

 Patron Registration Policy

  1. System Residents: System Residents: A patron account, for use in all Mid-Hudson Library System member libraries,  shall be created free of charge at all Mid-Hudson libraries for anyone meeting the following criteria:
    1.  A resident* of any city, town, or municipality within the Mid-Hudson Library System Service area**
    2. Does not already have a Patron Record in the Sierra patron
  2. Non-Resident Patrons: Anyone not eligible for a patron account as a System Resident may be issued a non-resident patron account by any MHLS library based on local policies, including fees and borrowing.  The decision to honor non-resident patron accounts is at the discretion of the circulating library.
    ~DA Approved 2/19/2020
  3. Institution accounts may be issued by any MHLS library based on local policies, including fees and
    borrowing. The decision to honor institution accounts is at the discretion of the circulating library.
    ~DA Approved 6/9/2021

The issuing library shall require proof of name and address when creating or verifying a patron record.

*Resident as defined by Commissioner’s Regulations 90.3 (5) Resident borrower means an individual who resides within the boundaries of the chartered service area of a public or association or “Indian library” as defined in section 253 of the Education law and who is a library cardholder at that library.

**link to service area map (DLD)

The following fields must be accurately completed in all patron records:

Fixed Length Fields: Ptypetown codehome libraryzipexpiration datebirth date Variable Length Fields: barcodenamemailing address, (street address if different from mailing), phone or emailAPATIDentered by


Before issuing a card, first make sure that the patron does not have an existing record. The surest way of determining this is by checking for a duplicate APATID. In the Sierra checkout function, enter “u” then the APATID into the search field and press enter.

If you determine that a record already exists, verify that the record is up-to-date, complete and accurate.

If you determine that the patron does not have a record, create a new patron record.

In the Sierra checkout function, click on the New icon. Accurately fill in all the required fields.

If the patron resides in another library’s service area, enter the Sierra record with the correct Ptype, Home Library and Town Code, as described below.  The registration form  or a screen capture of the Sierra record should be sent to the Home Library by email or through the MHLS delivery.

Required fields appear in bold below.

EXP DATE: Check your library’s policy. At most libraries choose a date 3 years from today’s date.

GENDER: m for Male or f for Female or n for Not-specified

BIRTHDECADE: The decade in which the patron was born.

BIRTH DATE: Actual birth date. DD-MM-YYYY
For institutional cards use 01-09-1919

TOWN CODE: The municipality where the patron resides.

HOME LIBR (This is a 3 letter code-Do not use the 4 item location codes!): The library in whose area of service the patron resides is the home library. For non-residents the issuing library is the home library. When issuing library cards to residents of unserved areas of the Mid-Hudson Library System, home library is the issuing library.
For Institutional cards use issuing library.

P TYPE: The Patron’s Ptype should match the home library. When issuing a non-resident card the P-type is 3 non-resident. Note: For non-resident, the issuing library shall designate themselves as the home library when creating patron records for individuals who do not reside within the Mid-Hudson Library System’s service area. The issuing library will include a Message field in the patron record that includes the date and a statement of the amount paid for the non-resident membership and the library location collected.
Example: Issued 12/12/2017, Non-resident membership fee of $25 collected at KHK.
For Institutional cards use issuing library.


ZIP: Find the zip code in the list that reflects the patron’s residence.

NOTICE PREFERENCE: To establish the desired way of ILS contact for patron.

Note: Notice preference is used for ILS notification.  Unless specified, default order is Email, then Phone, then Print.  See the notification flow chart for more details.

NAME: Last Name, First Name Middle Initial.
Example: Smith, Jane E. Do not use other titles like Dr. Junior etc. If you wish, they can be put in the notes field.
For institutions use name of the institution without punctuation. Example: Bliss Nursing Home

MAILING ADDRESS (a address): When typing addresses please use the proper postal abbreviations.
Example: 103 Market ST, Poughkeepsie NY 12601

STREET ADDRESS (h address): Required if different from the mailing address.

TELEPHONE: Use the area code and type as shown: 555-555-5555

EMAIL: A single and properly constructed email address, including an “@” and a “.” STAT CLASS: This statistical field is unused and can be defined separately by each library.

APATID: First 4 letters of the Patron’s Last Name (if last name does not have 4 letters insert an “*” for each missing letter), followed by the first letter of their first name and then the single digit of their birth month followed by the two digits to indicate the day of the month. For October use the Letter O, for November use the letter N and For December use the letter D. The APATID IS TYPED IN UPPER CASE. This field is necessary to check for duplicate records.

Example: Smith, John, born 7/04/1976 APATID = SMITJ704
NOTE: To search by APATID, type the letter “u” before the APATID in the search box type “uSMITJ704” , and press enter.

For institutions use the first four letters of institution name followed by *INS. Example: BLIS*INS  

BARCODE: Type or scan the patron card barcode number. Do not add spaces.

MESSAGE (Required only for Non-Resident): a message that pops up each time the record is accessed.  Used to alert staff of immediate circumstances.  When entering a non-resident card the Message field should be edited to include the date the card was issued, any membership fee that was collected, and the library 3 letter location code.

Example: Issued 12/12/2017, Non-resident membership fee of $25 collected at KHK.

ENTERED BY: Three letter library code followed by a hyphen and staff initials and the date. This field is also added and completed, when verifying a record that has been created using Online Patron Registration.

Example: adr-ls 01/22/2019

NOTE: Use this field to put in any information that you may wish to maintain in the patron record.  This field does not pop-up when entering the record.

PIN: When it is entered it is displayed in an encrypted format that cannot be read. A PIN (Personal Identification Number) should be between 4 and eight characters long, contain both letters and numbers if possible, and not have any repeating patterns of characters. To reset a PIN delete characters in the field.

INTERNET: Used for local internet policy. Can be used to instruct public computing management software or parental permission has been signed for youth cards.

E-CONTACT:  Permission for the library to contact the patron via email in addition to ILS notices.    Enter either “y”, “yes”, “n”, or “no”

GUARDIAN: an optional field that can be used to indicate a guardian in the case of a minor. Should be entered in the same format as the name (Last name, First name) Example: Smith, John

 Required for Institutions – Enter the name of the contact person for the institution. Example: Doe, John

E-CONTACT: If the patron did NOT check the box on the library card application opting out of email contact, then enter Y in this field. If the patron DID check the box opting out of email contact, then enter N in this field. This field indicates whether a patron has agreed to be contacted for library promotions.

Note for Non-Resident The issuing library shall designate themselves as the home library when creating patron records for individuals who do not reside within the Mid-Hudson Library System’s service area. The issuing library will include a Message field in the patron record that includes the date and a statement of the amount paid for the non resident membership and the library location collected. Example: Issued 12/12/2017, Non-Resident membership fee of $25 collected at KHK

Alias: An alternate name that can be used for patrons who prefer to use something other than their legal name.  This field is free text and will be treated as a single phrase.  The Alias can be used in custom notices at the library’s discretion.
~DA Approved 11/12/2020, updates approve 6/9/2021

Joey Ramone
Snoop Dog

Remote/Patron Self-Registration Policy

Staff shall review records that have been created online within 30 days for accuracy and duplicate records. The record will be considered temporary until verified by staff.  Records that have not been verified to meet previously stated registration policy or merged with an existing record within 30 days will be expired.

A verified record must include the library code and initials of who verified it and the date of verification.


Review: Libraries with online registration will review all patron records created through their form within 30 days to determine that someone is eligible. Staff completely and accurately fills in all required fields and checks Sierra to determine if a record already exists. Staff verifies home library and notifies home library when appropriate. Follow local procedure to issue a 14 – digit barcode.


  1. Verified Card Required
    1. Circulation requires a Verified library card, the only exception being a photo ID with an address that matches the one in ILS ~ Approved by Directors Association 10/3/11
    2. This language requires the identification to be presented on checkout of materials. ~Clarifying language added by Resource Sharing Committee 11/17/2016
    3. Verified Library Account – Borrowing physical materials requires a verified library account.  Libraries assume the financial responsibility of all transactions completed at their libraries when in violation of Resource Sharing Standards.~ Approved by Directors Association 11/6/19
  2. Claims Returned
    1. The decision to apply the “claims return” process is determined by the owning location.
    2. A library may not place a “claims returned” on any item that they do not own.
    3. The number in the “claims returned” field in the patron record may be reduced by MHLS if a “claims returned” is located. The request for the reduction must come from the owning location and be submitted through the ticket system to MHLS. ~DA Approved 6/9/2021
  3. Lost Materials
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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
  4. Fines & Fees
    1. If $25 or more is owed to any one library, payment must be sent to the owning library.
    2. Fees / Manual Charges
      • 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)
      • Collection Agency Fees must be paid in full-no partial payments.
        ~Approved by Directors Association 3/5/11
    3. 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
  5. Checkout
    1. Libraries are responsible to only check out items to patron accounts that are valid and in good standing according to the Verified Account Policy ~Approved by Directors Association 11/06/2019
    2. Libraries checking out items are responsible for verifying that the materials being checked out match the information displayed in Sierra and are in acceptable circulating condition.
      ~Approved by Directors Association 2/18/2021
  6. Renewing An Item
    1. The library determines the loan rules for items checked out at their location, allowing up to two renewals per item.
    2. A library may override the renewal limit on their items only.
    3. Items can be renewed if the number of available copies in the system exceeds the number of open holds.
      DA Approved 11/16/19
  7. Check in
    1.  An item checked in is considered accepted by the library that checks it in; at which point the library assumes responsibility for the condition. Financial responsibility does not extend to items whose damage cannot be determined visually, upon a cursory inspection.
    2. The check-in library must comply with all of the item’s pop-up messages entered by the owning library.
      ~DA Approved 11/16/19
  8. Checking In Items With Damaged Part(s)
    1. 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
    2. Do a visual check before check-in. If books are damaged, AV components 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 2/18/2021.
    3. 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.
    4. 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
  9. Indicating damage to an item
    1. Permanently attached notes (including tape and stickers) may only be placed on an item by the owning library.
    2. Post-its and small notes may no longer be used to indicate damage to an item.~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/21.
    3. Replace the use of post-it notes with an m- message in the item record to indicate damage to an item. The message should be added by the library that notices the damage.
      The recommended form of the message is:
      Damage noted at Adriance: page 32 torn top right corner adr-LS 08/05/2021 
      ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/21.
  10. Damage beyond circulation:

    No items should fill holds or continue to circulate if any of the following conditions exist:

    • Incomplete or damaged beyond use of primary content
    • Loss of original structural integrity
    • Contamination (e.g. mold, bugs, etc.)

    Note : Items with reasonable wear or minimal damage can be used to fill holds and circulate.

    For items received in delivery that are too damaged to circulate:

    1. Do not check the item in
    2. Change the itype to “no holds”
    3. In Search/Holds search by the item barcode retrieve the record
    4. Select the Item Hold Tab
    5. Select the hold from the list and click the Transfer Holds button
    6. Transfer the 1 hold from i######## to b########, which will be the first record listed in the dropdown selection.
    7. Add m-Message to the item record describing the location and extent of the damage. Must initial and include date.
    8. Check in to return to the owning library
    9. If the owning library chooses to circulate the damaged item after review, it must add an “M-Message” into the item record, noting the damage (see example).

    Example Message
    m-Message format example: Damage noted at Pawling; DO NOT CIRCULATE! – pages missing PAWFR 10/25/21
    ~Ammendment Approved by Directors Association 11/16/2021

  11. Overrides / Stops / Change Of Due Date
    1. 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.
    2. Loans can be extended on your own materials. For materials that your library does not own, loans can be renewed for up to two loan periods as long as there is no demand for the item. ~Approved by Directors Association 12/2/2016
    3. 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.
  12. Book Club Request Form
    1. When contacting libraries to process holds intended for a book club, the Book Club Request Form shall be used. (Currently Located Here)~Approved by Directors Association 3/5/15.
  13.  Special Collections
    1. Special collections, such as equipment, exclusive subscription services, and museum passes, may be excluded from the holds system, and checkout and checkin in of such items may only be done at the owning library or by the library’s residents. Pilot or experimental collections may be non-requestable during a defined test period.
  14. Loan Rules
    1. No system loan rule may allow more than 2 renewals.~Approved by Directors Association 12/2/16.A library may not place a claims returned on any items that they do not own.  A patron account with three items marked as claims returned will automatically be permanently blocked from circulation system wide.

Printing Notices

  1. Title level pages and item level pages should be printed and filled at least once daily.
  2. Holds pick up notices should be printed at least once daily.
  3. Overdue and Billed Notices should be printed at least once a week.


  1. Bibliographic and Item Level Holds
    1. 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.

  2. Limits on System Hold
    1. 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.
  3. Awaiting pickup
      1. Items remain in “awaiting pickup” status for no longer than 7 business days (open days for individual library).

  4. Copies to Holds Recommended Purchasing
    1. 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 (widescreen or full screen).
    2. Local Hold copies 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.
    3. 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.

  5. Rerouting Holds after put In TransitItems 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.

  6. Multiple Holds on Bib Record
    1. 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.

Inter Library Loan (ILL)

1.     ILL Loan periods

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.

2.     OCLC ILLs

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.

C. 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.

3.     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.     Process Routing Slip –

A. You must use the MHLS default transit template in ILS 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).

Offline Circulation – OCIRC

Offline client may be used for checkout only, including items from other libraries.  Materials from other libraries are checked out at the financial risk of the check-out library. ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 10/4/13

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).

Acquisitions & Collection Development

1.     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 DVD’s, holds are considered by title not format (wide screen or full screen)

2.     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

3.     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.

C. All multi-disk DVD series shall be cataloged with the itype of Long Loan DVD with the exception of high-demand items with greater than a 5-1 hold ratio. Approved by DA 6/2/2016

3.     Inaccuracies in the catalog

A. Should be reported to MHLS Cataloging & Database Maintenance Department by e-mail ( or phone (845-471-6060 x221).

4.     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

5.     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

6.     Identifying Label

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

7.     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)

Collection Agencies

1.  Collection Agency Notices

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 for the fees/fines owed to those libraries working with collection agencies. Clarifying reorganization made 1/27/2016 by Resource Sharing Committee

 Management & Reports

1.     Updating Passwords

A. Sierra 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 ILS. 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.

D. Group Logins may only have such permissions as designated and periodically reviewed by the Resource Sharing Committee and viewed in Appendix A.  ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/14.

E. Group login passwords are changed upon the departure of any individual with access to the login.  ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/14.

F. Any loss, damage or issue arising from, related to, or prompted by the usage of group logins shall be the liability of the library using group logins.  ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/14.

G. Any change to the ILS that facilitates rapid and effective switching of users shall prompt the immediate discontinuation of group logins.  ~Amendment approved by Directors Association 9/10/14.

2.     Create Lists

A. Clearing out review files

1. All review files should be cleared out when finished.
2. Any Review Files and Web Management reports that are older than 30 days will be deleted.

Approved policy for violation of Resource Sharing Standards. ~Approved by Directors Association 2/5/09. Approved Revisions 12/2014.

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, 7/13, 10/13, 9/14 Patron registration revision approved by Directors Association 02/20/19

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