Managing Overdue and Lost Items

Home > Policies and Procedures > Managing Overdue and Lost Items

Best Practices:

  1. Run Overdues and Bills on a set schedule. Check with SHARE staff to see which overdue intervals you have established in Polaris. Coordinate your staff to run overdue and bill notices at least once per interval. Be sure to run overdue notices first, bill notices second. Once a bill is generated, no other notices are generated for that item.  (Located:  Utilities/Reports and Notices/Notices/Overdues)


Reports to Run Periodically:

  1. “Items Lost and Returned but Still Charged to Patron”

    Description: Items on this report were once lost and billed to the patron, but payment was never received. These items were then returned, but the replacement charge was not cleared from the patron account.  (Located:  Utilities/Reports and Notices/Tools)

    Action: If you wish to waive the replacement cost since the items have been returned, then look up the patron record and waive the fine. If you want to keep the charge on the patron record, do nothing.


  1. “Lost and Paid Items”

    Description: Items on this report have been paid for by the patron.  (Located:  Utilities/Reports and Notices/Tools)

    Action: Delete all item records that are on this list.

    Note: You may wish to double check that the item was paid for at your library. If the item was paid for at another branch, check your records to ensure that the transacting library properly forwarded the payment to you. If they have not, you may contact them to recover your replacement cost. For the full procedure, please see “Lost Item Payments.” To check this, bring up the item record, click on “Links” and “Last Borrower”. On the patron status window, go to the “Accounts” tab and click on the “Transaction Summary” button. Find the item transaction and right click to choose Properties to see the library that created the payment transaction.


  1. “Lost Items”

    Description: Items on this report have a status of lost and the patron has been charged for the item.  (Located:  Utilities/Reports and Notices/Tools)


    1. Be sure to delete all items included on the Lost and Paid Items report before processing this report.
    2. Check your shelves for all items. If found, check the item in. Check the patron record to be sure the item charge was removed from their record. If the charge is still there, you may want to waive it.
    3. Check the patron barcode and check out branch of each item. If the item was lost by another library’s patron, you may send a final replacement bill to that library within the one year timeframe. NOTE: If the “Check Out Branch” is blank, the item was most likely migrated into Polaris from your old system (April 2013).
    4. Lost items should be deleted from the database. The charge will remain on the patron’s account. NOTE: lost items will be listed in the “Claim” section of patron records until the item has been deleted.


  1. “Long Overdue”

    Description: This report will catch any overdue items that have not generated a bill for whatever reason. Note: If your overdue setup is correct, you should only be seeing your items that have been checked out by other library’s patrons.  (Located:  Utilities/Reports and Notices/Circulation)

    Action: If ample time has passed, you can manually make these items lost so that the patron is charged for the item. You may also send a final bill to the borrowing library. Please contact SHARE if it appears that a library is not running their bills.


Purging Lost Item Records
(New Procedure)

To maintain the cleanliness and consistency of the SHARE database, member libraries are responsible for purging lost item records on a regular basis. Items that have not been cleared after several years are often the last item on a bibliographic record, and can cause frustration when searching. Any items in lost status after three (3) years will be deleted by SHARE staff. SHARE will send a report of items scheduled for deletion, for the member library to review and resolve. If the lost items are still in lost status 90 days after notification, SHARE staff will purge the item records.