Koha Upgrades Fall 2021

nhaisLOCAL libraries, and other ByWater Partners, will be upgraded to Koha version 21.05 this fall. We expect to be scheduled for upgrades sometime in November and will notify nhaisLOCAL partners by email (as usual) when we have details on timing.

There are a TON of cool new things coming in this version. If you did not attend one of the What's New webinars I strongly encourage you to view a recorded session to see what's coming to your Koha system.

Here are a few of the enhancements that seemed especially interesting to me:

  • In the OPAC patrons will be able to view their past holds (if you turn this feature on with the OPACholdshistory system preference) as well as to search and print that info. Check out this Monday Minutes for details. Note that this works independently of the patron's reading history.
  • There are new tools for sending reminder notices to patrons who have a hold waiting to be picked up. This was covered in Monday Minutes.
  • You can now define reasons for cancelling an individual hold and attach that reason to the record when you cancel the hold. A blog post on cancelling holds explains your options.
  • The ability to restore overdue fines on lost/returned items has now been integrated into Koha. It was previously possible with some fancy work-arounds, but now it is built in and easy to do. 
  • A new system preference, RecordStaffUserOnCheckout, will allow you to display (in the staff interface only) which staff user made a particular transaction (based on logins). If you don't already have specific logins for each staff person you may want to set that up to make this feature useful for your library. 

ByWater Solutions has a blog post that gathers all the info about the new version into one place. Check it out to see what's coming that will make your system work even better for you.

As always, all the new system preferences will be defaulted not to change current behavior of your system, so you will need to turn on features you want. nhaisLOCAL libraries can contact the NHAIS Help Desk to make these requests.


Self-paced Learning Resources

ByWater Solutions assembled several series of self-paced learning videos. These may be useful to your library as a refresher course, to train new staff, or for cross-training purposes. These are not necessarily new, but a recent question reminded me of them.

 These links have been added to the RESOURCES Page of this blog for future reference.


Changing a "new" item status automatically

If your library would like to have new items circulate for a different amount of time than other items there are tools available to you in Koha to make this pretty easy to do.

You need to set up an itemstatus in your system for the new materials with the circulation rules you want applied (a one week loan period for example, or no renewals) and when you add a new item to your collection that you want to have handled this way you will use this itemstatus.

Then you will want to set up those items to be automatically modified a specific number of days after they are added to the system (say 180 days which is about 6 months). The Monday Minutes video below shows you how to set this up.  

Note that you will need to have a chron-job set up to make this magic happen after everything is configured.  nhaisLOCAL libraries should contact the NHAIS Help Desk to have the chronjob started.