Support » Plugin: WebLibrarian » Admin (Librarian) Clear Hold Function?

  • I solved our “non-logged in hold function” problem by creating a single generic “subscriber” user any member of our club can use to log in and place a hold request on a book, thereby letting the librarian know to bring that volume to the next meeting.

    Is there a simple way the librarian can clear such holds (say, if the member changes their mind)? I have deliberately hidden most of the WP toolbars and the profile page from that generic user to avoid confusion, as this is not a tech-savvy club for the most part, and I want to reduce the possibility of accidental errors.

    Something like what an individual patron sees if they use the hold item under their profile, where books can be checked and then the hold released.

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  • Plugin Author Robert Heller


    Well, you have somewhat gone off the deep end here. *Normally* each patron has their own login / username and places holds under their own patron ID. When they check out the item, the hold is ‘converted’ to a ‘checkout’ — the hold record is deleted and a checkout record is created. When the patron returns the item, the librarian checks the item in and the checkout record is deleted. There isn’t really a way for the librarian to clear holds, only a way for patrons to cancel holds. (I guess there probably should be a way for the librarian to clear holds as part of admistrative clean up procedures.) Question: when the librarian hands out items at your meetings, does the librarian do a checkout? Do your club members actually have their own patron records?

    It seems like you have added *unecessary* complications with this single generic “subscriber” user — *I* think you would be far better off simply providing a way for each club member to create their own ‘user’ and associate it with their patron id. They don’t *have* to ever deal with the back end (since the *librarian* can make the WP user <=> patron id association). This has the *added* advantage that the librarian will know who requested which book.

    Believe me, I considered doing that. This technique is a giant step up from the old way of accessing “members-only” info on the site, which was via a simple, infrequently updated htpsswd file. Asking every member to have a WP user account was briefly considered and dismissed by the club board of directors.

    Our club registration system *does* automatically create a patron ID for each member, and the librarian does check the items out to the appropriate patron when they pick up the items, and check them back in on return.

    Plugin Author Robert Heller


    You don’t actually have to ask every member to have a WP user account. This can (and should!) be a self-service action: a member that *wants* to use the web interface to place a hold on a book can create an account (assuming you have the WP registration / login links available), and then associate their user account with their patron ID/record.

    Question: using your ‘generic subscriber’ hold ‘feature’, how does the librarian know who requested a hold on which book?

    If you are going to continue with this ‘generic subscriber’ hold ‘feature’, you are probably going to be on your own. I guess you can manually check out the item to the ‘generic subscriber’, then check it back in and then check it out to the real patron. Combersome, but that should get what you want. Or else you will need to hack the code, which might not be easy.

    It is possible to backdoor to the holds page after logging in as the generic user (I did not disable the function, just hid the links) to release holds.

    Our books are only checked out/returned once a month at the clubs meeting, and volume is low, so I think this might be the best compromise I can come up with at the moment. *

    I am also going to offer individual WP userids for frequent library users, just as you suggest. That occurred to me this morning even before I saw your reply.

    An administrative tool for releasing holds might still be a useful feature.

    *in case you think I’m exaggerating the problem, many of the members don’t understand why I have to change the password regularly, and several still haven’t figured out how to download our monthly newsletter now that we don’t send it out as an actual email attachment. I have to walk a tightrope as I add new features to our site to avoid making it unusable for the less savvy members. Your library tool is head and shoulders above our previous system, I just need to keep the front end a little simpler for the general members.

    Oh — an addendum. By “low volume” I mean only 6-10 books each month. So that is actually small enough that the requestors just come up to the library table at the club meeting and tell the librarian which book they requested.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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