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End-of-Year Procedures

End-of-Year Procedures


The end of the school year is coming faster than you think, and planning ahead is going to be crucial for success. The steps described below should be done in order; however, Advance Patrons can be done at the beginning or end of year, whichever works best for your library.

There's a lot to do, so let's get started!



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Due dates

Get your stuff back. On time.

Inventory

Find out what you have and what you don't.

Remove copies

If it isn't in your library, it shouldn't be in your database.

Advance patrons

Move up, move up, move up!

Backups

Be prepared. Back up your self-hosted data.


Before running any of the data-changing utilities described in the steps above, create an archive so you have a restore point if something unexpected happens.

Due Dates

The end of the school year is approaching, and it's time to get your books back. Don't leave it until the last minute—no one needs that kind of stress! Most school libraries stop library circulation a few weeks before the end of the school year to allow time for overdue notices to be sent and items to be returned. Automate end-of-year due dates using Calendar and Policy preferences.

Alexandria will not adjust the due date after an item has been checked out. We recommend that you set these dates at the beginning of the year, before any items or resources have been checked out, and then review them again at the end of the year to make sure they're still set correctly.

Period Due dates

Period Due is a date by which all items should be returned to the library. The circulation period just before this date will be shortened so items are returned in time. For example, if you set a Period Due date of May 13, all items checked out before May 13th—that would have been due after the 13th—will be assigned a new due date of May 13th. 

Set a Period Due date to remind patrons to return their borrowed items before the end of the year. Alexandria will not adjust due dates after an item has been checked out, so Period Due dates should have been set at the beginning of the year. However, it's still a good idea to check your calendars for Period Due dates now.

  1. Go to Preferences > Calendars.
  2. Select a calendar from the list on the left.
  3. Choose the date by which items should be returned, then click twice to set it as Period Due.
  4. Repeat step 3 for each calendar.


Patrons are assigned to a calendar according to their Patron Policy. Go to Preferences > Policies and check that each patron policy is assigned to the correct calendar and Apply Period Due Dates is checked. If it isn't, Period Due dates will not apply.


Calendars can be set up for three years in advance. Since you're already adjusting your Calendars preferences, now might be a great time to prepare calendars for the next school year or summer circulation! Just remember to check them again at the beginning and end of each school year to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Hard Due Dates

Hard Due Date overrides all other due dates, including the Period Due date, so items assigned to that policy to be checked out all year or for an extended period. For example, if the calendar assigned to the patron policy has a Period Due date of May 21st and the Equipment item policy has a Hard Due Date of June 2nd, then items under that policy will be due on June 2nd.

Hard Due Dates used for extended checkout periods must be changed before Circulation can resume next year.

  1. Go to Preferences > Policies.
  2. Choose an Item Policy from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the Check Out subtab, update or remove the Hard Due Date.

Inventory


Do you really know what's on your shelves?

A complete inventory is a critical part of end-of-year library management. No matter the reasons, items can become misplaced or damaged over time, contributing to inconsistencies in your database. A complete inventory lets you know exactly what you have, what you don't have, and what needs to be replaced, reordered, or discarded. Now is the time to take stock of your entire collection, organize materials, and update all of the catalog listings to match the physical items in your library. This information will put you in a better position to analyze and organize your collection for the next school year.

Inventory can be a lengthy process, so we recommend that you split the work into sessions based on different sections of your collection. You can stop or pause a session at any time and resume when you're ready.

Reports and utilities

Before you're done, you can also generate a few inventory-specific reports to help with your year-end analysis:

  • Inventoried Items
  • Missing Items
  • Site Inventory Statistics Summary
  • Site System Patrons Analysis

And if everything has been returned and you're ready to start closing the library, before you click Complete Session, run the utilities to mark Lost any items that weren't inventoried. It can wait until later, too.

Volunteers

Inventory is a big undertaking, but you don't have to do it alone. Recruit some volunteers to do the scanning for you—just give them a quick tutorial first! When the inventory is done, print and divide your list of books not accounted for in the inventory, then send your volunteers to the stacks to look for them.

Learn more about Inventory Management before getting started.

Identify Lost and Discarded Copies

Loaned Items Information report

The Period Due date has come and gone, Inventory has been done, and now it's time to find out what's still missing before the library closes for the summer. Run the Loaned Items Information report to see which items and materials are still in circulation.

If you stick with the default settings, the report will show all items that are currently loaned out, even if they're not yet overdue, but you can modify that in the Selections tab if you'd like.

  1. Go to Tools > Reports.
  2. Select the Circulation > Information category.
  3. Choose the Loaned Items Information report to the right.
  4. In the Options tab, select any relevant Sort By options and choose the 1 Line format.
  5. Run the report.


Declare Missing Copies Lost utility

If items are still checked out after they should have been returned, run the Declare Missing Copies Lost utility. It will move all items that are currently checked out and were not inventoried to the Lost Copies system patron (barcode 1) and automatically charge the responsible patrons.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities.

  2. Select the Copies category.
  3. Choose Declare Missing Copies Lost from the Utilities Selection pane.
  4. Fill in the Inventory Start Date.
  5. Run the utility.

If an item is returned after this utility is run, its status will be changed to Available and any patron charges will be removed and/or their accounts credited.

Declare Missing Copies Lost during inventory

Waiting to do inventory until after everything has been returned? Before you complete the session, choose to run the Declare Missing Items as Lost utility. This will change the status of all items not inventoried from Available to Lost.


Remove Lost and Discarded Copies

Does your library remove lost and discarded items from Alexandria at the end of the school year? If not, you can skip these steps. Otherwise, keep reading.

Identify lost and discarded copies

Before making any changes to Alexandria, run the Discarded Copies and Lost Copies reports so you know which items will be removed.

  1. Go to Tools > Reports.
  2. Select the Copies > Special Status category.
  3. Choose a report.
    1. Discarded Copies lists the titles of each copy that has been discarded but not yet permanently removed.
    2. Lost Copies lists the titles of each copy that has been declared Lost.
  4. Click Run.

Reordering Details report

If you've been providing meaningful reasons for items that have been discarded, the Reordering Details report will help you isolate items you may want to reorder.


Remove lost and discarded copies

Next, run the Remove Lost Copies utility to permanently remove all lost and/or discarded items from your Alexandria database. 

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities.
  2. Select the Copies category.
  3. Choose the Remove Lost Copies utility.
  4. In the Selections tab, enter your selection criteria or leave the default settings. The utility defaults are set to remove all lost copies, but you can narrow your focus with various selections.
    1. For example, you could select a period before your last Inventory date, so that any items that were recently declared lost or discarded will remain in the system for a while longer, giving them an opportunity to return.

    2. If you need to be more specific, check the Show Additional Selections box to select copies by individual barcodes.
  5. Run the utility.

Repeat steps 3 - 5 for the Remove Discarded Copies utility.

Advance Patrons

(star) Beginning or End of Year

Advance patron grade levels and remove patrons who have graduated or transferred to prepare your system to import new students for the next year. Some libraries do it at the end of the year, and others do it at the beginning of the year. Either way is fine, just don't skip it.


Advance patron grade levels

(warning) Skip this step if you manage patron data with SIF or Clever.

There are two ways to advance your patron grade levels for the next year. Advance All Grades in Patron Preferences is the easiest option, but the Advance Patron Grade utility allows you to advance a more select group of patrons. Patrons who advance past the final grade in the grade table are assigned the value for Last Grade, which is usually "Graduated".

Advance All Grades

Advance all of your patrons to the next grade level at the same time.

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences > Patrons.
  2. Open the Grade Table tab.
  3. Double-check the grade table and the Last Grade field for accuracy.
  4. Check the Advance Grade After date, and change it if necessary. This is usually the graduation date or the last day of school.
  5. Click Advance All Grades.


Advance Patron Grade utility

Need to be more precise about which patrons to advance? Select patrons by one or more options, including status, security group, policy, homeroom, grade, last name, and barcode.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities.
  2. Select Patrons > General category on the left.
  3. Choose the Advance Patron Grade utility on the right.
  4. In the Selections tab, enter the criteria needed to select the patrons you intend to update.
  5. Click Run.

Remove graduated patrons

(warning) Skip this step if you keep records for graduated patrons.

Run the Remove Patrons utility to remove graduated students from the database. You may need to run it multiple times with different selections, depending on your needs.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities.
  2. Select the Patrons > General category.
  3. Choose the Remove Patrons utility on the right.
  4. In the Selections tab, enter the criteria needed to select the individual patrons or groups of patrons you intend to remove.
    1. Patrons with a Status of: Limit the operation to one particular status, like Active or Transferred, or choose Any to include them all.
    2. Patrons in Grade: Enter the user-defined value for Last Grade (most commonly "Graduated"), as defined in Grade Table preferences.
  5. In the Options tab, choose if you want patrons to be removed even if they have items checked out or outstanding charges.
  6. Click Run.

Do you manage patrons with SIF or Clever?

When patron data is synced with Alexandria via SIF or Clever, patrons who have an active record in Alexandria but are no longer included in the synced data will be marked as Transferred. Those patron records will need to be removed manually. Run this utility to remove patrons with a status of Transferred.

Change patron policies


Do your patron policies match your patron grade levels? Then you need to update each patron record so their policy matches their new grade. Run the Change Patron Policy utility for each grade.

  1. Go to Tools > Utilities.
  2. Select the Patrons > General category on the left.
  3. Choose the Change Patron Policy utility on the right.
  4. In the Selections tab, enter the criteria needed to select the patrons you intend to update.
    1. Patrons with a Status of: Limit the operation to one particular status, like Active, or choose Any to include them all.
    2. Patrons in Grade: Enter the user-defined value for the grade that needs to change (e.g. 8th), as defined in Grade Table preferences.
  5. In the Options tab, choose the policy that will be assigned to the selected patrons.
  6. Run the utility.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for each grade, as needed.

Do you keep records for graduated patrons?

Run this utility to assign the Graduated policy to your recently graduated patrons. If you don't have a Graduated policy yet, create one first.

Backups

(warning) Self Hosted, only. Skip if your library is Cloud Hosted.

The final step before closing your library is to create a complete backup of your Alexandria Data folder. Unlike an archive, backups are considered a "last resort" in case everything else fails.

Don't store your backups on the same device as your library data station. We recommend storing your backups with a file hosting or cloud storage service, like Dropbox or CrashPlan, which are specifically designed to backup to other machines or off-site servers. If you use an external hard drive, we suggest storing it in a fire-resistant safe in an off-site location. It may seem extreme, but you never know what will happen, and we want you to be prepared for the worst.

This is also a great time to review and possibly revise your backup strategy. Read Back Up Your Data to learn more.