Circ Manual

Site: Swarthmore Moodle
Course: McCabe Library Access & User Services
Book: Circ Manual
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Friday, September 22, 2023, 10:21 AM

1. Attendance


Students are responsible for working their chosen shifts through the final exam period.

Fill out your electronic time sheet at the end of every shift.  The times you write on it should be accurate within 5 minutes.


If you are unable to make your shift, please request a sub on LibStaffer in a timely manner.
    If you are sick or have an emergency, let a staff person know as soon as possible by calling x8477 or by sending an email to the Staff person who supervises that shift.
    Written warnings will be issued for regular tardiness, unexcused absences, poor work performance, etc.

    Three warnings will result in dismissal as well as a ban from any future Library employment.  

    2. At the Desk

    Desk Behavior:

    A desk assignment is usually only one- two hours long.  Set aside that time to be attentive to patrons and desk operations.

    Be aware of visitor patrons and ask them to sign the Guest Book.

    Empty the Book Drop during your opening shift. Do not leave an unkempt work area for the next shift.

    Distractions = Mistakes.

    Most errors occur during the check-in process. Pay attention to the screen and be mindful of any pop-up messages and item locations.

    Refer to Customer Service guidelines.

    Workspace Maintenance:

    Always be mindful of how approachable you are while at the desk. We encourage you to be as approachable as possible.

    The desk should not be cluttered with personal homework. Reading is acceptable during slow times. Do not come to work expecting to do your homework while at the desk.

    Please limit the time spent chatting as this can make the desk unapproachable for other patrons.

    Do not use laptops or other devices, such as headphones, while at the desk. You may use them while shelving books or doing tasks in the stacks.

    Please keep Alma and Tripod readily available on the Circulation computer. Do not let email or homework monopolize the computer screen when it is needed for library business.

    3. Customer Service Guidelines

    Always greet patrons.

    Help out at the Reserve Desk if Circ is quiet and Reserve is not.

    Respect patron confidentiality at all times. Any and all information in a patron’s record is private and protected by law.

    Give out no more than $3 in quarters or $5 in one-dollar bills.  Give this change out regardless of whether or not they’re making copies, doing laundry, etc. Do not accept anything larger than a $20. 

    Encourage patrons with General services needs to approach the Circ end of the desk as opposed to the Reserve desk.


    Telephone Procedures

    The phone at the Circulation Desk is the main line into the Library.

    Phones are for library business. Avoid making or receiving personal calls. Keep calls brief. Do not let patrons use the phones. Direct them to the phone near the elevator.

    If a patron calls to ask whether we have a specific title or periodical, you can check for them provided you are not busy. Avoid reading call numbers over the phone. Refer patrons to the Research & Information desk for more complicated searches.

    To put On Hold: You may need to ask a supervisor a question while taking a call. Instead of covering the phone with your hand, simply put the call on hold. First, tell the person on the line that you are putting them on hold, then push HOLD. To return to the call, push RESUME (the exact button where it said HOLD previously).

    To Transfer: Many calls will have to be transferred to the appropriate office or department.  A list of the McCabe Staff, as well as a few other important numbers, are located on the counter near the phone.  To transfer a call, push TRANSFER, enter the number, push TRANSFER again then hang up.


    Checking In

    Make sure date-due cards are removed from checked-in books. File date-due cards in the right place after use.

    Keep the sorting shelves neat.

    Check in everything promptly. Look for specific locations on the screen. Keep the book returns empty.

    Library books and equipment are expensive.  Treat them with care.


    Staff Referral

    Please refer patrons to a staff person if you can’t help them. Don’t try to guess the appropriate procedures or policy.

    Ask questions.  No one is expected to know everything. 

    Leave notes on staff's desk regarding any problems, questions, or observations. Most problems and mistakes can be corrected if staff is informed.

    Use your best judgment.  We trust you to do your best but don’t expect you to take on more responsibility than necessary.

    Staff members’ desks and computers are off-limits.

    Do not bring food or drink to your shift.

    Do not discuss the Library’s security system with other student workers or with anyone outside the library. Any details you may discover about it should be kept confidential.

    4. Borrowing and Check-out


    All members of the Swarthmore College community--faculty, staff, students, and spouses--are eligible for library borrowing privileges.

    Some guest visitors, such as individuals who live within Swarthmore, professors of local colleges & universities, and visiting scholars, are also allowed to borrow materials. Since we are in a consortium with Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, their community members are extended borrowing as well. Please see the Visitor Borrowing Application for a list of who has borrowing privileges.

    Loan periods are determined by patron type and the item classification. Only a staff person can override or allow for any exceptions.

    Although you may be familiar with some of these exceptions, do not attempt to take on any of the decision making process. Staff always considers each request individually and decisions may vary due to circumstances. If any unusual requests occur when there is no staff person in the department, ask the person to return and let them know when a staff person will be available.

    Check Out

    When checking an item out to a patron, always be certain to:

    Scan the patron barcode in order to access the patron’s record
    Always verify that the correct patron record is on the screen
    Observe the screen for any pop-up messages
    If the due date looks strange, alert a supervisor
    Insert the date due card that matches the date shown   
    Create an On-the-Fly record for unbound periodicals    ~or~    any items without a barcode
    Close the patron’s record when transactions are complete.

    If the item says “on hold for another patron” or “Does not circulate”  tell the patron you can not check the item out to them at this time and refer them to a Staff person
    Books on exhibit can be checked out, you will receive a pop-up message saying the item is currently checked out. Ask the patron if they found it on an exhibit shelf, and override if yes.

    5. Floors of the Library

    Lower Level 
    [Call letters A ~ E]

    Materials: Religion, Philosophy, Psychology. History, Government documents, Census materials, Peace Collection.

    Facilities:  Restrooms, Typing room, Study rooms, Thesis carrels, Computers, Kurzweil machine, public campus phone, student belongings shelf, vending machines, compact shelving, locked compact shelving


    Level I (Main Level)

    Materials:  Reference materials, Indexes, Bibliographies, Atlases, Current periodicals, Newspapers, New book shelf, Popular paperbacks, McNaughton collection, Audio books

    Facilities: Circ desk, General Reserves, Research & Information desk, Library Director’s office,  Reference librarians’ offices, Interlibrary loan office, Friends Historical Library, Computer cluster, Scanner, Public printers,  Public campus phone,  No public restrooms


    Level II [Call letters F ~ L]

    Materials: History, Comics, Geography, Economics, Sociology, Law, Education

    Facilities:  Open study lounge, restrooms [including gender neutral restroom], computers, study rooms, staff lounge, thesis carrels, student belongings shelf


    Level III [Call letters N ~ Z]

    Materials: Art, Language & Literature, Science, Psychiatry, videos & DVD’s, microforms, Potter Collection (spoken word records), Evans materials, Rare Book Room, all ++oversize books 

    Facilities:  restrooms, computers, microform reader-printers, video viewing areas, Video Classroom, video viewing rooms, Electronic Resource Room (computer lab),  student belongings shelf

    6. Check-in


    • Select: Check-In in Millennium and scan barcode.
    • Remove all date-due cards as you check items in.
    • Always be attentive to the screen as you scan items and follow any pop-up instructions carefully. 
      • **Use the mouse to click through messages. Do not use the ‘Enter’ key.
    • SORT!  -  SORT!  -  SORT!
      • Sort the item where Millennium wants it to go – not where you think it should go. Take special care to ensure that all items are returned to the proper sorting shelf or ‘home' location.
      • Familiarize yourself with some of the most frequently encountered locations. Examples include:
      • Haverford                                                     
      • Feature Films
      • Bryn Mawr   
      • Documentaries
      • ILL
      • Periodicals
      • EZBorrow/PALCI
      • MacNaughtons
      • Government Documents
      • Cornell
      • Peace Collection
      • Underhill
      • If you are uncertain as to where a checked in item should go, ask a Staff person – never guess.
      • Be sure to return all reserve materials whether General or Honors, to their respective Reserve re-shelving area so it will be available for the next person’s use.

      7. Claims Returned and Searches


      Claims Returned items are those items that a patron indicates that they feel they have returned library material(s), but it still appears on their record 

      In order to ensure that these claims are properly processed and searched, please use the following procedure:

      • find the patron’s account in Millennium
      • select the Checked Out Items tab
      • select the item(s) they claim to have returned.  
      • right click on the item
      • choose VIEW THIS ITEM
      • at the upper right of the screen, click on the Print icon
      • click on the Close icon
      • take printout from the printer, and stamp it with “CLAIMS RETURNED” stamp and date.
      • Initial the printout, and place it in the Search bin

      Do not leave scraps of paper with handwritten notes.  It can be difficult to decipher the information and these claims must be given priority.



      If a patron indicates that they are unable to locate an item on the shelves in McCabe:

      • Have them fill out a PINK Trace card
      • Be sure they includes all the pertinent information [call number, title, edition etc.] as well as their name and contact information.
      • Place the Trace card in the search bin.

      As always, if there are any questions or problems, please see a staff person.

      8. Closing

      Preparing to close the library:

      • 30 minutes before closing, ring buzzer (on the panel to right of circulation station), do cash register count 
      • 15 minutes before closing, ring buzzer, lock all but middle two doors, unlock the bookdrop, put away coffee urn
      • 10 minutes before closing, ring buzzer, ensure that all Laptop computers have been returned and checked in. 
        •  Remove all paper money and checks from the cash drawer. Slide them into the slot on the top of the safe door (small black box) which is located below the reserve desk.
        • Lock the filing cabinet to the right of the circ desk (key labeled "K")
        • Lock the two drawers above the laptop cabinet
        • If all the laptops are back, lock the laptop cabinet and put the laptop cabinet key in the cash drawer.
        • Once the laptop cabinet key is back in the cash drawer, lock the cash drawer (key labeled "C") and slide the keys into the slot on the top of the safe door
      • 5 minutes before closing, ring buzzer, turn off lights above circ desk and ITS desk (two lightswitches to the right of the buzzer panel)

       Straighten up the reserve area. Leave desk areas as neat as possible. Place date due cards for the following day in the bins.


      At Closing:

      • Ring the buzzer one last time.
      • Turn off lights by Circ’s back door.
      • Make sure the back door is closed.
      • Lock the middle front door.
      • Walk through the building looking for stragglers (have one person each take levels 3, 2, and Lower Level).
      • Turn off all switches for levels 3, 2, and Lower Level.
      • Dial 8281 and tell Public Safety that you're about to lock up. Also tell them whether or not Environmental Services (the cleaner) is in the building.


      9. Honors Seminars

      Honors Books

      All Honors Seminar materials are located on Level I against the back wall beyond the Circulation Desk. The Honors Seminars are arranged in alphabetic order by the course name and then number (ARTH 136, ECON 141, PSYC 106, etc).  The books are shelved alphabetically by title within their seminar.

      All seminar materials are shelved in this area whether the seminar is currently active or not. If active, the books circulate overnight and are due in by 1:00 pm the following day. If the seminar is not active, the books circulate like regular stack book (i.e. 28 days). All seminars become active as of April 1 of every year.

      Honors books and materials must be checked in and out at the Reserve Desk. 


      Shelving Honors Books 

      Confirm that all books on the wooden Honors truck in fact belong to an Honors Seminar. Be sure to remove any book that belongs in General Reserve. Each book must have a WHITE label as well as a ROUND BLUE HONORS label attached to the spine.  The label will include the seminar name/number as well as the BOOK TITLE and the barcode #. 

      Separate the books into seminars then sort alphabetically BY TITLE within each seminar. Incorporate any items from the Honors sorting shelf onto your truck. Also, tidy the area as you go, returning any mislaid Honors books to their proper location. In addition, if you spot any stray library materials – journals or books that are NOT checked out – return them to the sorting area in Circ. 


      If the book still has a card in it, give it to a Staff person to process before shelving.


      Always report any problem areas to a Staff person.  

      10. Laptops and DVD Players


      The library has laptop computers which circulate to Swarthmore students only.  Each Laptop comes in a case and has its own power cord and locking device.  These items come as one parcel and can only be checked out as a ‘package’. All three (3) items are barcoded and therefore must be checked out and checked back in.


      The parameters for Laptop circulation are:

      • the patron must be a Swarthmore Student
      • they must fill out the ‘Laptop/DVD  Agreement Form’
      • they must not have message in patron record that says ‘Not Eligible to Check Out Laptops’  
      • Laptops circulate for 4 hours and there are no renewals
      • you must allow the 20 minute waiting period before re-checking out a laptop

      ** Accruing excessive Laptop penalty points caused by regular late returns will result in suspension of laptop privileges. In addition, leaving a laptop unattended and or damage to laptop are also reasons that eligibility for Laptop borrowing can be withdrawn. These items are very expensive and in small quantity and therefore, there is no leniency with regard to penalties.




      The laptops are stored in the locked section under the Reserve desk counter. The key for the cabinet is stored in the cash drawer and it should only be unlocked when a laptop is requested for use.  Once the cabinet is unlocked it can remain that way for the rest of the day.  

      • Students must always return laptops directly to the Reserve desk worker – not in the book drop.
      • If a Laptop is left unattended on the counter or if you see one in the library unattended and not secured bring it to a staff person immediately. DO NOT check it in.
      • Be sure to check in all parts and return them to the cabinet for safe storage.
      • If there is damage or one of the parts is missing DO NOT CHECK IT IN.

      Do not leave laptops on the floor or around the desk. Once it is checked in, return the laptop to the cabinet.    

      Laptops must be returned at least 30 minutes before the library closes. Be sure to check that all laptops and their pieces are stored and lock the cabinet. After the cabinet is locked return the key to the cash drawer for safe keeping.

      If there are any questions or problems with the laptops direct the student to a staff person. Do not attempt to ‘fix’ or adjust the desktops or parameters in any way.


      N.B. Once the laptop is shut down, all documents are automatically deleted and cannot be retrieved.

      11. Photocopiers


      There are two photocopiers in McCabe located on Level 1 near the Honors section.  The copiers accept either cash (coin or paper) or cards.  They reduce and enlarge, adjust for light/dark, have document feeders. One copier has a beveled edge and is good for thick books or journals and books in bad shape. Copies cost 15¢ per page using cash and 10¢ per page using a copy card.

      Paper jams can be cleared easily by checking the display and following the directions. Look at the instructions inside the cabinet to see how to clear the jam.  Refer all other problems with copiers to Staff.


      Copy Cards

      Copy Cards are sold at the Circulation Desk for $1. Make a record on the cash log for every card sold. Once the patron has bought a card they may add value to the card via the machine. Cards should never have more than $20 on them or the machines will not read them. All cash put into the machine will be added to the card; the machine will not make change for card users.  Encourage patrons to write their name on the back of their card.

      Some academic departments and faculty have pre-purchased cards. These cards are kept in a box in the drawer below the cash drawer at the Circulation Desk. The cards are filed alphabetically by department/name. Patrons must sign and date the accompanying card to validate use. 

      To add money to a department copy card use the Copy Card Receipts form found in the file drawer. Fill in the information and have the person and a Staff sign and date the form. Put the receipt in the cash drawer and give the person the proper denomination of money (usually $10.00) from the cash drawer which they can use to recharge the card at the machine.

      12. Fines


      The library assesses fines and/or penalty points to encourage patrons to use library materials responsibly and to allow equitable access.

      Library privileges are automatically blocked if:

      • an account exceeds the limit of monetary fines
      • account has more than the defined number of items checked out
      • an account has passed the expiration date
      • a student has been determined ineligible per the Registrar’s list

      Student may lose Interlibrary Loan privileges if that service is abused.

      **Fine policies**


      Penalty Points

      In lieu of monetary fines, Penalty Points are accrued if Reserve materials are returned late. One Penalty Point is accrued for every hour or part of an hour that a Reserve item is returned late.  Once a student accrues 20 penalty points, overnight privileges are blocked for 14 days.

      If borrowing privileges are abused, students may be subject to discipline by the Dean’s Office. Particularly blatant or chronic misuse of reserve materials would be an example of behavior that would result in contacting the Dean.


      Fine Collection

      Fines are collected at the Circ desk terminal only. It’s very important to be accurate when collecting fines.

      Follow these steps:

      • clear patrons’ fines in Tripod
      • write the amount collected on the cash log
      • print out the payment slip and attach onto the clipboard 

      13. Holds and Recalls

      Placing Holds

      Holds are placed on items that are located at either of the other two TriCo campus libraries. You may place holds on books through either the CHECK-OUT or SEARCH/HOLD function in Millennium. We do not place holds for items located on this campus.

      We don’t accept hold requests over the phone. Patrons can place holds themselves using the REQUEST button in Tripod, or they can request them in person. The only exception is that we will place ‘holds’ for Alum if they are in the library. 

      Items requested from Haverford or Bryn Mawr usually arrive the day after it is requested.  There are two TriCo van runs daily during the week and one on Saturday and Sunday.  There can be delays for items requested from branch libraries.  Sometimes items are just hard to find and take several days.

      Not all items are holdable and not all patrons are allowed to place holds. If Tripod won’t let you do something, ask a staff member. (For example, visitors cannot request items from Haverford and Bryn Mawr.)



      If a patron places a hold on an item that it checked out to another patron, a recall is automatically generated. Tripod will determine a new due date for the item, and a recall notice will be sent to the patron to whom the book is checked out. It is important to let the requesting patron know that it is checked out and the hold cannot be filled until the item has been returned. The wait time for a recall to be returned can range from 5 days to 2 weeks, depending on when the book was initially checked out.

      All books are subject to recall and all recalls must be honored. If a patron indicates they still need an item that has been recalled from them, they must return it but may recall it for further use. There are daily fines for overdue recalls.

      Always refer any problems to a Staff person.

      14. In-house Use Only

      In-house Only items may only be used within the library for reasons set by the lending libraries. The item MUST be stored in the Circulation department until the borrowing time has expired. Follow the below procedure to insure that these materials are kept safely yet available for the borrower to use freely:

      • scan the patron’s barcode
      • a ‘pop-up’ message should indicate the person has a hold.
      • locate the item on the HOLD SHELF
      • there will be a YELLOW band on the item indicating “In House Only”
      • scan the item barcode and check the item out to the patron
      • explain that they may use the item in the building [they would have received an email explaining this but it’s important to reinforce this message]. Ask that they return it to the Circ desk when they are through with it for that time
      • ask that they not put the item in the book drop.

      Be sure the patron indicates whether they wish to have the item for further use. Patrons have been greatly inconvenienced when we returned items to the lending library before they finished using them.

      • If the patron returns the item and indicates they are through with it, check it in and place it on the ILL return shelf.
      • If the patron returns the item and indicates they have further need for this item [and the due date has not passed] DO NOT CHECK IT IN but put it back on the ‘hold’ shelf.
      • If a patron indicates they have an “In House Only” hold already checked out to them, retrieve it from the hold shelf and simply pass it to them. Remind them that they can use it in the building and should return it to the Circ desk when they are through with it for that time.

      15. Newspapers and Magazines

      The current day’s editions of the New York Times, Delaware County Daily Times, Financial Times, USA Today and Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers can be found in the newspaper lounge located on Level 1.   

      The library usually keeps newspapers until we receive the microfilm.  For a few titles, we do not get microfilm but discard the newspapers after several weeks. Tripod usually makes it clear what we do and do not have.   

      There is also a variety of regional and international newspapers and magazines located in the newspaper lounge.

      If a patron wants to check out one of these items, an ‘On-the-Fly’ record must be created.

      16. On-the-Fly

      To Create an On-the-Fly Record:


      Unbound Periodicals

        Scan Patron Barcode

        Attach a 31797... barcode to upper right hand corner of item

        Hit CAPS LOCK

        Scan item barcode

        Click  *NEW on the Tool Bar

                    Author = NEXT

                    Title = Include full title, Vol. , No., Year, Issue – NEXT

                    Loc = SMCUR

                    Copy = NEXT

                    Call = NEXT

                    V = NEXT

        IF at this point a new window opens listing other items – CLOSE THIS WINDOW .

        Click SAVE then OK



          Scan Patron Barcode

          Attach a 31797... barcode inside first page of the book

          Hit CAPS LOCK

          Scan item barcode

          Click  *NEW on the Tool Bar

                      Author = Last name, first name (MICHENER, JAMES)

                      Title = Include full title(TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC)

                      Loc = SM

                      Copy = (insert if there is one) 

                      Call = PS3525.I19 T2 1967

                      V = (insert if there is one)

          Click SAVE then OK

          17. Maps and New Books


          Atlases are kept on special shelves in the Reference area on Level 1. There are also maps in the Government Documents collection. Refer patrons to a reference librarian for help.

          In addition, Philadelphia and Delaware County maps are on reserve shelved under Maps. These include Philadelphia and vicinity street maps and a Rand McNally Road Atlas on the oversize reserve shelf. 


          New Book Shelf

          New books are processed daily, some of which are placed on a set of shelves across from the entrance to the newspaper lounge. Generally, these books remain here for one week. 

          Patrons may check out items that are currently on this shelf. A message will appear that says:

                      ITEM STATUS is ‘ NEW BOOK SHELF’ – CLEAR IT (y/n)

                                  CHOOSE y

          and proceed with the check out as usual.

          18. Government Documents

          The Library is a selective depository for United States government official publications. Selected documents from state and foreign governments and international organizations are also received.            

          These are shelved on the Lower Level in the compact shelving system*. Most documents circulate under the same loan rules as regular stacks books. Document periodicals circulate like regular periodicals. Most documents will not have a date-due pocket.  Stamp the due date on the yellow sticky date-due slips. Do not put pockets in Gov Doc’s.


          The barcode is usually on the front cover of the item.  If there is no barcode on the item, follow the On-the-Fly instructions at the desk.

          When a document is returned, check it in, remove the date-due slip, and be sure to place the document on the DOCUMENTS return shelf in the sorting area.


          If not by their appearance alone, documents are easily recognized by their unique call #’s which often include markings like slashes ( / ) and colons (:). Also, be careful to note that documents can be in the form of books, pamphlets or even a single sheet of paper.

          Tripod will not allow you to circulate certain documents to Haverford and Bryn Mawr patrons. Read your prompts clearly and explain to the patron that these items are non-circulating to them. Encourage them to copy what they need or to request the items through the circulation desks of their home libraries.



          *If patrons experience any difficulty operating the compact shelving, refer them to a staff person.