Merlin Consortium Circulation Standards

Standard Practice

To provide the best service to all residents of the NWLS service area, Merlin members agree to share all circulating materials and follow standard policies and practices supporting efficiency and effectiveness of operations and services:


• The library will reserve the “copy returned soonest” (bib hold) even when there are items available. Item holds should only be placed when (a) a specific volume is needed, or (b) multiple copies are needed. 
• The library will print notices (including failed notices) and paging lists (bib and item) as well as fill holds from paging lists each day  the library is open. When a paged item cannot be found, the library will promptly change the item status to “missing.” If the library owns the only copy in NWLS, they must notify the borrowing library as soon as possible. 
• The library will clear the holdshelf each day the library is open to remove expired holds.
• The pickup location determines the library allowed to cancel a patron hold without patron approval. 
• The library will order in a timely manner any books in high demand by local patrons. The current Merlin purchasing recommendation states: With the exception of book club borrowing, hold ratios for all materials follows purchasing 1 copy for 5-14 local holds; 2 copies for 15-29 local holds; 3 copies for 30-49 local holds; 4 copies for 50-99 local holds; and 5 copies for 100 local holds or more.


• Library employees will sign an upon hire agreement stating they will not tamper with or compromise privacy of library records, with an annual reminder to staff of the rule. 
• Patrons may pay fines at any Merlin library. Libraries will send replacement fees to owning library with a receipt. Libraries will not waive fines and bills owed to other libraries. 
• The library may apply local patron block policies to all walk-in patrons. The library will block circulation to patrons with outstanding bills of $5 or more for replacement costs, goods, and services but excluding fines which may be negotiable. Patrons are limited to 20 holds.
• New patron records will be entered as complete as possible before any circulation transactions are made.  Patron records will be kept up to date and pop-up alerts will be promptly addressed.  A complete record includes data in the following fields: patron type, patron status, home library, county code, local government code, name, address, home telephone, and email. Patron names are entered last name first, comma, first full name (no nick-names) and full middle name. It's important to avoid the use of characters in names (hyphens, dashes, etc.) 
• The library will notify NWLS if an institutional patron record needs to be created or if a patron record needs to be merged or deleted