Emergency Closing Handler Should Adjust "All" Associated Fines

Bug #1818917 reported by John Amundson
This bug affects 25 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

Evergreen 3.2.4.

I'm reporting this bug after a lot of testing and trial & error on my part. The release notes for the Emergency Closing Handler are a little vague when it comes to fines adjustment, so I don't know if this observation is a bug or perhaps desired future development, (though I'm leaning towards the former).

NOTE: I have tested this with the library setting "Charge fines on overdue circulations when closed" set to FALSE and left empty; (it is generally left empty on our system, which allows items to NOT accrue fines when the checkout library is closed).

When an emergency closing is entered, items due during the period will have their due dates updated to the next open day. Fines accrued during the closing will also be voided IF, (and only if?), the associated due date was updated by the closing.

For example, if an item was due 2/21, and on 2/28, library staff puts in an emergency closing for 2/21 to 2/25, the item's due date will be updated to 2/26, and the fines accrued from 2/21 to 2/25 will be voided.

Alternatively, if an item was due 2/20, and on 2/28, library staff puts in an emergency closing for 2/21 to 2/25, the fines accrued on those days will not be adjusted because the item was not due during the period. As the library was closed for these these days, the fines should be reversed regardless of due date.

This distinction seems arbitrary, and fines should be reversed, (as long as settings dictate), regardless of if the item's due date was affected by the closing.

Revision history for this message
Mike Rylander (mrylander) wrote :

Hi John,

That behavior is intentional. In order to keep the development targeted and avoid getting stuck in extreme edge cases with fines, the code only looks at circs due within the closing window and holds with a shelf expire time within the window.

The prescribed method for making sure that fines are addressed during an unexpected closing has always been to use backdated (amnesty mode) check-in set to the beginning of the closure. That remains the case even with the emergency closing handler.

I think possibly voiding fines during the closing might be a good enhancement, though.

Revision history for this message
Jeremiah Miller (jeremym-t) wrote :

FWIW, relying on backdating/amnesty mode checkins doesn't work so well if one has an automated return system.

Especially if the drop hasn't been closed/locked, patrons happen to return things while the library is still closed.

Revision history for this message
Diane Disbro (ddisbro) wrote :

We closed for Covid-19 on March 18. Items due in February are now six weeks overdue, the status is changing to LOST, and patrons have bills that prevent them from using our online resources. This is a big problem. We will be closed for six more weeks.

Revision history for this message
Terran McCanna (tmccanna) wrote :

Diane - is your library system doing the change to Lost via an action trigger? If so, you can temporarily disable it through Local Admin > Notification / Action Triggers. (We have two related action triggers that we temporarily disabled - one for the action of changing the item status / creating the bill, and one that sends a message to the patron when that happens.) We'll re-enable it after we are able to reopen.

Revision history for this message
Diane Disbro (ddisbro) wrote :

Terran - I don't know what is controlling the behavior. Our org unit isn't listed for anything in Notification / Action Triggers. Equinox had to turn off our courtesy notices.

Revision history for this message
Diane Disbro (ddisbro) wrote :

Never mind! I figured it out with some help from my friends.

Revision history for this message
Terran McCanna (tmccanna) wrote :

This is causing problems with our libraries. The documentation does not match the actual behavior and even if the documentation were updated to match the behavior, having it void only some of the fines doesn't make any practical sense to patrons or to library staff.


In 3.4 and 3.6:

The current Emergency Closing Handler documentation says "Overdue fines will be automatically voided for the day(s) the library is marked closed" and "By selecting the Emergency checkbox, the system will void any overdue fines incurred for that emergency closed day or days," but that is misleading.

It is only actually voiding fines on items that were due on a closed day, but it does not void fines on items that were due *before* the first closed day.

For example, John Doe has two overdue items - one that was due on January 7 and another that was due on January 12. Both are getting daily fines on every day that the library is open, but not on days the library is closed. On January 15, an emergency closure is entered for January 10-14. This changes the due date on the second item and voids the overdue fines for the 10th-14th, but it skips over the item that was due on January 7 and leaves the fines for the 10th-14th.

Changed in evergreen:
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → Medium
tags: added: admin-pages
tags: removed: webstaffclient
tags: added: circ-billing
removed: billing
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