Holds Overview

overview, polaris, shared-ext-housekeep

Wes Osborn

Most holds settings and limits are enforced by the requesting/logged in library location*. However some elements are also controlled by the item’s owner. This article explains how the various settings for holds works with Polaris.

*Note: We have seen some instances where the settings are being incorrectly enforced. If you find cases like this, please open a HelpDesk ticket with examples with the relevant details.

Controlling which items can fulfill hold requests

  • The request section of Item → Cataloging workform controls how an individual item record participates in filling hold requests:

The Polaris Help file explains the various options shown in the screenshot above.

  • Item records that have certain Item Circulation Statuses may also be prevented from being placed on hold. To request a list of statuses your library current prevents holds from being placed on, please open a HelpDesk ticket.

Note: This list above are the circulation statuses that a hold request would be prevented on.

Hold pickup locations

  • With Polaris Applications a patron can pickup a hold request is controlled by their registered branch. You can use this report to see where patrons are currently able to pickup items: Pickup Location Reference
  • Applications that use the Polaris API to place holds, such as Bibliocommons or the Communico and Boopsie mobile apps, do NOT respect hold pickup restrictions. For these apps, you’ll need to provide the vendor a list of acceptable pickup locations using this report: Pickup Location Reference

Volume, Copy and item level holds

Holds fulfillment

  • If a patron places a request on a bib with no items that can fulfil the request (items are not holdable or holds restricted), the request will remain active and will be fulfilled when an item attached to the bib becomes available to fill the hold (previously non-holdable made holdable, like Quick Picks).

Understanding the “Located” Status

  • Definition: The “Located” status in Polaris is a temporary designation for items on the Request to Fill (Pull) list. It indicates that a staff member has physically located the item on the shelf but hasn’t yet checked it in.
  • Purpose: The main purposes of this status are:
    • Coordination in busy libraries: When multiple staff members might be working on the pull list, “Located” prevents duplicate effort by signaling that someone has already found the item.
    • Workflow Efficiency: Marking an item as “Located” can consolidate the pull list display, potentially making the holds process faster.

Important Considerations

  • “Located” is NOT a substitute for check-in: The item’s actual status in Polaris does not change to “Held” until it is officially scanned. This means that the item technically remains available for another patron to check out if they find it on the shelf before it is processed.
  • The “Located” status isn’t item-specific: A “Located” designation on a hold request doesn’t mean only that specific copy can be used to fulfill the hold. Any available copy scanned in that matches the request can still trigger the fulfillment.
  • Timeout: The amount of time an item can remain in “Located” status is configurable. Libraries may want to adjust this based on their typical workflow. Open a HelpDesk ticket to inquire about changing the timeout.

Dates on hold requests

The hold request workform has several dates:

  • The requested date is the date when the patron or staff member originally placed the hold request.
  • The activation date is when the Polaris system will begin to actively attempt to fulfill a hold request. If the date listed here is in the future, then the hold request is considered suspended until the activation date.
  • The expiration date is the date when Polaris will stop attempting to fulfill a hold request. The default date is set in Polaris System Administration. Many libraries will set this date from 1 to 10 years in the future.
  • It is particularly important to have the expiration date be far enough in the future so that hold requests on pre-publication records can be fulfilled before they expire.
  • Once the expiration date is reached the hold requested will be canceled or deleted depending on the library’s settings.
  • Once an item becomes held on the hold shelf (ready for the patron to pickup) the hold record workform will include an unclaimed date. Once the unclaimed date is reached the HOLD status will change to unclaimed.
  • Although the HOLD status will change, the item’s circulation status will remain held until the item is checked-in.
  • Once the unclaimed date is reached, this item will show up on the unclaimed reports that staff members should run regularly.
  • The unclaimed date is impacted by the closed days listed for the library.
  • Unclaimed reports show items that should be removed from the hold shelf and checked-in for the request of the next patron on the hold list.

Common issues with holds

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