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    How to - Configure Short Loan Letters and Block for overdue items in Alma

    Created By: Stacey van Groll
    Created on: 11/06/2020



    This simple step by step guide is created to help Alma customers configure short loan letters and block in Alma.

     

    I've created this guide after much effort figuring out how to do this, as part of COVID-19 re-opening efforts, to balance the needs of all users to access high demand materials.  The Alma documentation does not detail the full steps for setting up short loan configuration in an easy to follow manner, which made our process of implementing this much more painful than it needed to be, and caused confusion for staff and users alike.  See links to all of the documentation I found below. 

    Disclaimer: As always, do your own testing and I take no responsibility for unintended consequences (I'm just a customer too!)

     

    In sum, the short loan option allows a site to trigger a Courtesy Letter and an Overdue Letter, along with adding a block to a user account, solely for overdue loans which have a due time in minutes or hours, as opposed to days.  It works outside the standard Loan Profiles, which may remain completely disabled, which is useful in these times when we do not want to bombard users with notices. overdues, and penalties.  For our site, we only have one type of short loan which meets this category, our High Use collections typically for high demand Learning Resources to support courses, which are 24 hour loans.  We also use Patron Limits for maximum overdues, instead of Overdue blocks, in our 'normal' times.  We decided to send the Courtesy Letter at 1 hour before due date time and the Overdue Letter and block application at 1 hour after due date time.

     

    Configuration of short loans - in order of steps

    • Adjust letters via Configuration > General > Letters Configuration
      • Courtesy Letter > Courtesy Notice > Labels
        • short_loans_message
        • Example: We notice that the following item/s you have on loan are due for return shortly. Please note that you will not be able to borrow, renew, or place requests once these item/s become overdue, but we understand that this may be a difficult time, and any charges accrued during this time will be waived.
      • Courtesy Letter > Courtesy Notice > Template
        • Show due time as well as due date
        • Example: <td><xsl:value-of select="new_due_date_str"></xsl:value></td>
      • Ful Overdue And Lost Loan Notification Letter > Ful Overdue And Lost Loan Notification Letter > Labels
        • Codes without types are used by short loans
        • Example: This is to inform you that the items below are now overdue and must be returned. Please note that you will not be able to borrow, renew, or place requests until these item/s are returned.
          • inform_you_item_below - This is to inform you that the items below
          • borrowed_by_you - are now overdue and must be returned.
          • decalred_as_lost - Please note that you will not be able to borrow, renew, or place requests until these item/s are returned.
        • Also adjust to remove the word 'Long', as not true for short loans:
          • subject: Library Long Overdue Items - Notification to Library Overdue Items - Notification
          • letterName: Library Long Overdue Items - Notification to Library Overdue Items - Notification
      • Ful Overdue And Lost Loan Notification Letter > Ful Overdue And Lost Loan Notification Letter > Template
        • Show due time as well as due date
        • Example: <td><xsl:value-of select="item_loan/new_due_date_str"></xsl:value></td>
    • Create a Block Description with code OVERDUE via Configuration > Fulfillment > Patron Configuration > User Block Description
      • Example:
        • Code: OVERDUE
        • Description: Short loan block
    • Create a Block Definition with code OVERDUE via Configuration > Fulfillment > Patron Configuration > User Block Definitions
      • Example:
        • Id: OVERDUE
        • Type: Loan
        • Description: Short loan block
        • Overridable: ALL
        • BlockedAction: 03 - for LOAN, RENEW, HOLD
    • Enable short loans via Configuration > Fulfillment > General > Other Settings
      • short_loan_courtesy_reminder - Time (in minutes) before the due date to send a courtesy notice, valid values are integers between 1-1440 (=24 hours)
        • Example: If 60, when a short term loan is 60 minutes from the due date time, a Courtesy Letter is sent
      • short_loan_overdue_reminder - Time (in minutes) after the due date to send an overdue notice, valid values are integers between 1-1440 (=24 hours)
        • Example: If 60, when a short term loan is 60 minutes past the due date time and is not returned, an Overdue Letter is sent
      • short_loan_overdue_block - Whether an overdue block is created when a short loan overdue reminder is sent
        • Example: If TRUE, when a short term loan is 60 minutes past the due date time and is not returned, a block will be applied concurrently with the Overdue Letter being sent ie NOT at the moment the resource is overdue, despite the name of the block

     

    Additional Notes

    • It is not required to have the Courtesy Letter active
    • The application of the block on the user account is tied with the Overdue Letter being sent, so is not retrospective for short loans already overdue when this configuration is enabled.  We created a manual block for this and applied it by API, and set up a daily Analytics report to check for returns and remove the block
    • The indication of a block will appear when entering a user account via Fulfillment > Manage Patron Services, as well as via Users search in the Blocks column, and in the Blocks tab of the User Account
    • The removal of the block on the user account will occur automatically when the item is returned

     

    OLH

    All of these pages reference short loans in some portion, but there are rarely links between them, and no guided flow on what is essentially a simple configuration

     

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