Editing a Patron Record (Check Out (Circulation Desk)) (Sierra)

When you open a patron record in the editor, the record display includes two sections, fixed-length fields at the top and variable-length fields below. The default presentation of fixed-length fields is a three-column grid. You can edit some fixed-length fields. For each fixed-length field, there is a label to the left and data to the right. You cannot edit the label. For information on editing data in fixed-length fields, see Patron Fixed-length Fields.

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Editing a Patron Record

In order to edit a patron record, you must be in the Check Out (Circulation Desk) Function for Sierra.

You have several options to bring up the patron’s record.  

  1. You can scan the patron's barcode.  You can also type in the patron’s barcode number as well.

  2. You can type the letter “n” and the patron’s last name and first name.  Suggestion: When asking for the patron’s name, you can verify the patron by asking for a phone number or address like you would do when you have multiple patrons with the same name.

  3. You can click on the Search box to bring up the Find a patron screen.  You can use the dropdown to either enter the b PATRON BARCODE, n NAME., u ID (unique ID), f FAMILY ID, w Phone, Email, Birth Date,  or .RECORD #.  You would type the patron’s last name and first name. Note: Searching for the Birth Date only works if you have that information in the variable-length field for birth date.


Tip: the Birth Date that is searchable is found in the variable-length fields that can be added from the Insert dropdown menu.

Scanning the barcode or typing the patron’s name will bring up their account.  If you get a message, “Your entry= would be here,” this means the patron is not in your system or the name or barcode is incorrect.  If you need to add the patron please see “Creating a Patron Record.”  

 If the patron record displays correctly, click on the Edit icon.

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Variable-Length Fields

Variable-length fields are located at the bottom of the patron’s record.  Variable-length fields are the information you can type into the field.  The information you add can also vary in size up to 50 characters.  If you made a mistake spelling the patron’s name or address, you could fix it by clicking anywhere within the field.  

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Insert, Move or Delete a Field

To Insert a field you can either right-click to bring up the pop-up box with the Insert Field, you can type Ctrl-I, or you can click on the Insert Icon located at the top of the screen.


You will get the Insert a non-MARC field box that pops up which gives you the option to insert extra fields.  You can either click on the item in the list or type the letter that comes before the item.  We are going to choose the o Mobile Phone No. from the Insert a non-MARC field dropdown menu.

Enter the mobile phone number.  Click OK.

The new information will be displayed at the top.  This will move once you save and close the account.

Note: if you put your cursor on the field line above where you would like the information to display, it will put the information exactly where you want it in the record.

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Moving a Field

If you insert a field without putting your cursor in the area you would like to have the field appear, you can always move it.  Right-click on the field you want to move to bring up the pop-up box.  Click on Move Down until you get the field where you want it.  You can move the field up as well by clicking on Move Up(H).

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Deleting a Field

If you decide you no longer need a field,  you can delete it.  You would right-click on the field you want to be removed.  This will bring up a pop-up box with the Delete Field.  You can also highlight the line and delete it, or use backspace to remove the information. 

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Patron Blocks

You can block a patron manually by clicking on MBLOCK.  Double click on the box next to MBLOCK and the Select pop-up box (this contains the codes that Marmot in conjunction with our members have selected and are used system-wide) will appearPatrons can also be blocked for owing fines and not returning materials.  These blocks are created by your loan rules.

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Adding Messages or Notes

One way to let your staff know why there is a block on a patron’s account or other important information is to add a message.  Another way is to add a note.  Messages and notes can be used to convey many things to your staff about a patron.  A message is visible when the account is first opened in Sierra.  It will appear as a pop-up box.  Unfortunately, multiple messages will not show up in the pop-up message box.  Notes will also not show up in the pop-up box during check out.  A note shows up when View or Edit is selected by the staff member.  Notes are for internal use, which means that only the staff member will see the information.  

One way to add a message to a patron’s account is to click on the PMESSAGE. These are the codes that are used system-wide. Double click on the box next to PMessage and a popup box will appear with message choices. 

Note: you will need to change this to No Message, once you no longer need the message.

Another way to add a message is to click on the Insert icon.

The Insert a non-MARC field screen will appear.  You can use the dropdown menu to pick m MESSAGE or type the letter m in the menu drop-down box.  Type the message you want to appear on the patron record.  Click OK.

Another option is to enter the message directly into the non-MARC fields by adding m on a blank line and then the information you want into the record that will appear in the pop-up the next time the account is opened. Note: click on the last line in the variable field and click the enter button to create a blank line.  

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Adding a Note to the Patron’s account

A note is for internal use.  The note does not pop up during check out like a message.  Notes are also automatically added to the patron’s record by Sierra when an item is billed, claims returned or paid.  To add a note click on the Insert icon.

The Insert a non-MARC field screen will appear.  You can use the dropdown menu to pick x NOTE or type the letter x in the drop-down menu box.  Type the note you want to put on the patron’s record.  Click OK.

Another option is to enter the note directly into the non-MARC fields by adding x on a blank line and then the information you want into the record.  

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Viewing Messages or Notes

There are several ways to view messages and notes on the patron record.  One way is to hover over the 

(for information) in the right corner of the patron record.  This will bring up every message or note on the record.  You can see the PMESSAGE, the NOTE, and the Messages.

Another way to just see a message on a patron record will be during check out.  Once a patron’s record is on the screen a pop-up box with any messages will appear. You will notice that the PMESSAGE and the added message will appear.  It does not bring up a NOTE.  Unfortunately, Sierra only shows one added Message during checkout.  It will be the message that appears first in the record.

To see all the messages you have to hover over the

Another way to see a message or a note on a patron record is to click on the Edit or View icon.     

You will be able to see every message and note on the patron’s record.  If you use the edit mode, click on the Save/Close after adding a message or note, or editing a patron’s record. 

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Renewing a Patron’s Account

The EXP DATE or expiration date of the patron will be either red or yellow depending on the Sierra color scheme you are using.  

Click on the Edit icon.

The EXP DATE is the date the patron will no longer be able to checkout or place a hold on physical items, or eContent titles for your library.  To enter a date either type it in using the mm-dd-yyyy format, or double click in the white box to bring up the calendar (see below).  Click Next

When you bring up a calendar, the greater-than (>) symbol will advance the calendar by months.  The double greater-than (>>) symbols will advance the calendar by years. You must pick a day by clicking on it.  Click the OK button when finished.

When you are finished editing the patron record, make sure to click on the Save/Close icon.

If you forget and click on the Close icon, you will be prompted with a warning message.  Click Yes to save any changes. 

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