Have you ever used the Amnesty function? This feature is located in the Tools menu in the Circulation module, and it allows you to mark long-overdue books as Lost.
You can specify the medium, patron types, checkout date range, and which library/branch the overdue books belong to.
Why do it?
Even for the most responsible patrons, books disappear now and then. Maybe the mail card falls out or a post office collects "those blue boxes" in a corner until they feel like dealing with them... Maybe the patron's son volunteers to return her books, but loses one in his car... Maybe a porch thief intercepts a stack left out for the postal carrier... For all we know, maybe there are little green men out there somewhere with abducted books!
But when those overdues linger on the items tab, especially for a patron that gets automatic service and hesitates to call, they can take up space in a patron's max items count. The patron isn't getting as many books as they want, AND you aren't getting the circulation numbers
Leaving missing books in Out status also means that you have misleading numbers about the actual size of your still-circulating collection. For non copy-specific libraries, it makes it harder to spot which copy might be that book that another library returned to you with no mail card.
In short, it just keeps your records cleaner and more accurate to admit it when a book is unlikely to come back in any reasonable amount of time.
Things to watch out for
If you've never run an amnesty before, or if it's just been a while, you might want to be conservative about how many total copies to amnesty at once. So long as the patron they're checked out to is still active, each copy amnestied can result in a new book checked out the next day.
Not only does that create a bigger run for your circ staff to deal with, you may see higher-than-usual numbers of them come right back to you undeliverable or unwanted, as the patron may have disappeared along with their overdues.
You can restrict the date ranges and/or the KLAS ID ranges until you're caught back up.
Need more help?
While on the Amnesty screen, press F1 on your keyboard to bring up a help page, or get in touch! We'll be happy to help you get started.
So go on and practice a little forgiveness... at least of overdue books.
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