Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

1. Loans

Books circulate for 4 weeks and may be renewed up to 5 times (books should be renewed online whenever possible).  Fines for overdue materials accumulate at $0.50 a day per book.  Journals and pre-1920 materials do not circulate.  All materials are subject to recalls that may shorten the original due date.  Overdue recalls are fined at the rate of $2.00/a day from the adjusted recall due date. The minimum borrowing period is 14 days.

The Library is not responsible for non-receipt of recall and other library notices.

2. Renewals

Online Renewals:  All Harvard ID and Countway Special Borrower cardholders with pins can renew their books online using the HOLLIS catalog.  To renew books online, follow these steps:

  1. Connect to HOLLIS Classic or HOLLIS+
  2. Click on click on "My Account/Renew" or “Sign in” at the top right of the page.  You will be redirected to the login screen and prompted for your Harvard University PIN.  Enter your HUID/Countway SB card number and PIN; after successful authentication you will be returned to the HOLLIS Classic or HOLLIS+ entry page.
  3. Once again click on "My Account/Renew."  You will be presented with a list of transactions associated with your account. To renew materials, click on the line that reads "Materials checked out (view or renew)" and follow the prompts to renew your materials.
  4. Patrons without PINs can register for one at

Books may be renewed in person at the Circulation Desk any time the library is open.

Books may be renewed by phone at (617) 432-2136.  Callers will be asked to provide their HUID number and, in some cases, the book barcode. 

Books may be renewed by email by responding to the courtesy notice and asking for a renewal.

3.  Returning Items

Countway Library loan items may be returned to the Countway Library circulation desk, the outside drop box (located at the beginning of the ramped entrance at 10 Shattuck Street) or to any Harvard University Library.  Countway items cannot be returned to the library of any Harvard affiliated hospital.  

4.  Fines and Fees

4.1.  Goals of Fines

The goals behind charging fines and fees to patrons are to encourage responsible behavior with regard to borrowing and renewal practices and treatment of library materials. Although there is a punitive component to the use of fines, our primary motivations in issuing fines is to persuade the patron to behave differently in the future. For this reason, a certain amount of leniency is encouraged in dealing with people who are not repeat offenders.

4.2.  Fine Rates

Fines for overdue circulating materials in the general collection accumulate at $0.50 a day per book. 

Reserve materials are subject to a $1.00 fine each hour the item is overdue.

All materials are subject to recall which shortens the original due date. Overdue recalls are fined at the rate of $2.00/day from the adjusted recall due date.  The Library is not responsible for non-receipt of recall and other library notices.

The maximum fine is $28.00. 

Lost or missing items are charged to the patron at a rate of $120.00 replacement fee plus an additional $35 processing fee.

4.3.  Fine Negotiation

Access services staff may negotiate the reduction or elimination of fines within the guidelines outlined below. Difficult or overly insistent patrons and repeat offenders should be referred to the Access Services Librarian along with a copy of the borrower fine history and a brief summary of any offers you may have made to remediate fines or other actions you may have taken.

4.4.  Fines Billed in Error

Fines billed in error or otherwise the result of a mistake made by Harvard or Countway staff should be waived or cancelled at the earliest available opportunity. Please make a note of the reason and your initials in Aleph. 

4.5.  First-Time Offenders

First time offenders contesting a fine or requesting leniency should be fully informed of Countway fines policies. Staff should also check email and address information to confirm that they are correct. If information is not correct, the patron should be instructed concerning how to update his or her contact information.

In the case of a first-time offense, staff may offer to waive 50% of the fines in question. If the fines are still in “Active cash” they may be waived directly in Aleph. If the fines have been sent to Accounts Receivable (for patrons with non-student status), contact the HL Privileges and Finance office (  617-495-3015) with the details so that a credit memo may be issued against the invoice. If the fines were sent to a student’s term bill, a credit can be created in Aleph for the amount waived. Contact the Harvard Library Privileges and Finance office.

4.6.  Blocked Patrons or Those in Receipt of Block Warning Letters

Patrons who have had their borrowing privileges blocked or received block warning letters (from the HL Privileges office) as a consequence of non-payment of fines are expected to pay the full amount of their outstanding fines before privileges are reinstated. The only exception to this policy is in the event of an error on the part of Harvard or Countway staff.

4.7.  Lost Book Fees

Lost book fees, including replacement fees ($120) and processing fees ($35) are generally not waived. Exceptions to this policy include:

Replacement copies: If the patron has reached an agreement with the Acquisitions Librarian to provide a replacement copy of the lost item, the $120 replacement fee is waived and the patron is charged only the $35 processing fee.

Stolen items: Replacement and processing fees are not charged to patrons who can provide a copy of a police report indicating that they reported that the item owned by Countway was stolen.

4.8.  Other Cases

Other situations may be handled at the discretion of the staff member, keeping in mind the guiding principles outlined above. Partial or full waives may be made on the basis of genuine extenuating circumstances, not merely because the patron might have suffered an inconvenience. If in doubt, please refer cases to the Access Services Librarian.

4.9.  Waiving, Canceling, Crediting and Adjusting Billed to External Fines

Waiving, Canceling, Crediting and Billed to External Fines

    • Make a note of your initials when adjusting fines in Aleph.
    • All active cash fines can be waived, partially waived or cancelled regardless of patron status.

Fines that are billed to external can be adjusted depending on the patron status.

    • Student Billed to External fines: Can be credited in Aleph.
    • Non-student Billed to External fines: Contact the HL Privileges and Finance office (  617-495-3015)so that a credit memo can be issued against the invoice.

Student with  “Billed External” fines or fees – Crediting in Aleph

    • In Aleph Circ module go to the patron tab, cash item and click on NEW.
    • Scan the item barcode and click credit and enter sum. Add a description if necessary. 

4.10.  Fine Processing Flowchart

5.    Charging Books to Preservation

Damaged items can be charged to preservation/repair by using preservation pseudo-patron card (00455660) and put on repair shelf.

6.     Claims Returned

When patrons say that they have received an overdue notice for a book that they have returned to the library, check their patron record to see if the item is still charged out to them.  If the item is still on their record, print out a copy of the record.  Write the patron's phone number on the item printout and mark it with "claims returned" and the date. 

Search the stacks for the item.  If the item is found, and in good order, discharge it and cancel the patron's overdue fines.  Notify the patron that the item has been found.

If the item is not found, change the item status to "Claims Returned." 

7.   Replacement Policy

A patron may provide a replacement of a lost item under certain conditions.  First, the patron must contact the Access Services Librarian to determine if the library will accept a replacement.  If the library decides not to accept a replacement, the patron is liable for a $120 replacement fee, $35 processing fee, plus any fines accrued. 

If the library agrees to allow a replacement copy the patron is told the specifics of the item needed.  For example, the item must be the correct edition, hardcover or paperback specified, and in new condition, not used.  A $35 processing fee applies to replacement copies, in addition to any accrued fines.

8.    Searching for Lost & Missing Books

When a patron reports a Countway item is missing or lost, or an item cannot be located on the Harvard Direct list.

8.1. Harvard Direct Searches

  1. Student worker searches 1st time. Marks items they cannot find NOS.
  2. Access Services Staff check Aleph to make sure that the item is not already in transit or on hold shelf (caused by delay from printing pull sheet to pulling items).
  3. Later that day or early the next day Access Services Staff does a second check. This should be very thorough:
    1. Correct spot on shelf, area around correct spot, all call numbers starting with the same letter, mixup of numbers, etc.
  4. If not found on shelf, mark the item ‘Missing’ in Aleph.
  5. Print out HOLLIS record along with patron information.
    1. If the item shows up within the next 24 hours, notify the patron. If not, assume that the patron has used another resource to request the item.
  6. Cancel the hold on the item.
    1. If the item is available at another library who offers Harvard Direct, put a hold on it for the patron.
    2. Send patron an email through Aleph explaining other options for obtaining material:
      1. Another Harvard library
      2.  Borrow Direct
      3.  ILL
  7. Put printout of Hollis record on first search pile.
  8. Mike follows through with further NOS searches.
  9. Within 24-48 hours, all NOS items will be dealt with so that they do not continue showing up on Harvard Direct pull slip.

8.2. NOS searches

  1.  If a patron cannot find an item, Access Services Staff (if possible) should go and look for the item in the correct place on the shelf.
  2. If unable to find, put a hold on it for the patron and make note if it is urgent.
    1. Do a thorough (same as Harvard Direct) search within 24 hours.
  3. If still not found, and marked urgent by the patron, fill out a book recommendation form:
    1. Make sure to mark as a rush order.
  4.  If still not found, follow directions above starting by marking item missing in Aleph (#4 above).
  5. Mike will keep track of searches on a shared spreadsheet.
  6.  Searches should be done 6 times over the course of 6 months.
  7. After NOS searches are complete:
    1. Gather list of items that are missing.
    2. Give to Betsy to determine if the Library will replace them.

9.  Recalls and Holds

Recalls can be placed by patrons online in HOLLIS. Holds can also be created by staff at the circulation desk using Aleph.

9.1.  Instructing a patron on how to place a hold on an item using HOLLIS.

  1. Patron can only place a hold on an item if that item is currently checked out, or if the item is available through a library currently providing Harvard Direct.
  2. Find the HOLLIS link in the search box on Countway's homepage.
  3. Log in by clicking the link "Sign in" link in the upper right of the HOLLIS website.
  4. Once logged in, search for the item and click "Locations & Availability".
  5. If item is checked out, the patron can then place a recall request by clicking "Request Item".
  6. This will generate a hold which will email the patron that has the item checked out. When the item is returned, the patron will be notified via email.
  7. A Harvard Direct request will generate a hold at the owning library, which will be pulled the following day and sent to Countway through campus delivery. Once the item has arrived, the patron will be notified via email. 

9.2.  Placing a Placing a Staff-Created Hold in Aleph.

  1. In Aleph go to the "book" tab (Square Box Icon or hit F8 button)
  2. Make sure the item you want to put on hold is highlighted (make sure it is from the correct sub-library)
  3. Click "Hold Request" button and fill in appropriate patron ID and pickup location. 

10. Patron Address Changes

  • Students should contact the Registrar's Office their school:
    • HMS: (617) 432-1515
    • HMSD: (617) 432-8243
    • HSPH: (617) 432-1032
    • Other Harvard Schools: Contact your Registrar's Office
  • HMS/HSDM faculty and staff can update their information via eCommons, by calling (617) 432-2035 or sending e-mail to
  • HSPH faculty should contact Faculty Affairs (617) 432-1381
  • HSPH staff should contact Human Resources at (617) 432-1046
  • Faculty and staff of other Harvard schools should contact their local Office of Human Resources.
  • Countway Special Borrowers can update their information by contacting the Circulation & Privileges Department at (617) 432-2136 or

11.  Checking Out Unbarcoded Items

  1. Photocopy title page of unbarcoded item.
  2. Take a pair of matching item barcodes; attach one to the upper left back cover of the item and put the other on the photocopy of the title page.
  3. Search HOLLIS for the item.
  4. If a matching bibliographic record is found, skip to step 10.
  5. If no matching bibliographic record is found (check author, title, date of publication, publisher, and place of publication), create a stub record in Aleph Circ module (Items > Catalog Record and Create Item).
  6. This will automatically generate a hold for the cataloging psuedo-patron and recall the item. Inform the patron that they will get a recall notice, we do not need them to return the item, and that they should reply to the emailed recall notice to help ensure that the recall is deleted properly.
  7. Add the circ note "Route to Cataloging [date] / [initials]".
  8. Delete hold for cataloging pseudo-patron.
  9. Skip to step 15.
  10. If a matching bibliographic record is found create a new item record in the Cataloging module.
  11. Look up bib record in the Cataloging module.
  12. Click the "New" or "Duplicate" button as appropriate (on the right side of the upper pane). If duplicating, check to make sure all information is correct. You may need to change the "Material Type," adjust the "Item Status," add a volume number to the "Description" field, or other small changes. Don't worry if you're not sure exactly what to do here, since it will all be reviewed by Cataloging once the book is returned. If entering a new item on an existing bibliographic record, make sure to enter appropriate data for the "Material Type," "Item Status," "Description," and "Call Number" fields.
  13. Add the circ note "Route to Cataloging [date] / [initials]".
  14. Click update.
  15. Check item out to patron.

12.  Offline Circulation Procedures

This lets you record Circulation transactions when the computer cannot connect to the server or has lost internet connection. The transactions are saved in a file which you can send to the server once the connection is re-established. The system will then check the transactions and produce a “check” report.  

**Please see complete instructions at back of binder.**

12.1.  Loaning and returning materials

      To perform a transaction:

  1. Make sure that the file located at C:\AL500\Circ\files\HVD50\offcirc.dat does not have any data in it. If it does, delete the data.
  2. Open Aleph Circulation.
  3. Do Not type in a User Name or Password-Click Cancel.
  4. At prompt for Start the Application anyway, click Yes.
  5. Click OK on the Remote Service Error.
  6. Go to Circulation > Offline Circulation.
  7. Open the first tab Offline Circulation and select type of transaction (loan, return).
  8. Enter patron barcode & item barcode.
  9. Click Loan button to loan item to patron.
  10. Continue to charge items until finished with this patron.
  11. Clear patron ID from the box before continuing with next patron.

12.2.  Uploading files when system is back online

When you have completed use of the Offline system, the data files must be imported into the Aleph online circulation system.

  1. Log in to Aleph.
  2. Go to Circulation > Offline Circulation.
  3. Click the Import File button.
  4. Find the file. Located here: C:\AL500\Circ\files\HVD50\offcirc.dat
  5. Click the Send File button.

13.  Harvard Depository

Harvard affiliated requests can be made online by clicking ‘Request Item’ on the item online record.

Patrons with Harvard IDs, RAs, and BML members can request HD items online using their ID and PIN log in. Other patrons can request items at the Circulation Desk.

If a patron has borrowing privileges but no Harvard PIN, such as MIT or Massachusetts Medical Society members, he or she can still check out circulating items. They should contact the Circulation Desk to have items requested from HD. Circulation staff place the request using the ‘Media Retrieval Request Form’ available at

13.1.  Circulating Item Requests

When the regular, circulating HD item arrives, it must be checked in via Aleph, press CTRL+L for a hold printout. The resulting printout should give the patron’s name and a hold period of one week. You can then place the item, with its hold slip (the printout), on the Circulation hold shelf.

Patrons can request circulating HD items from other Harvard libraries and can choose the pick up location via HOLLIS.

When returned, items must be checked in and placed in the green campus delivery bin to go back to the owning library, not returned directly to the depository.

Make sure to discharge all returned HD items via Aleph (F6), if there is a hold on the item, it must be deleted. Next, all returned items owned by Countway should be placed in the red bins to be shipped back to Harvard Depository.

In case of problems or rejected items, the Harvard Depository Circulation staff can answer any questions. They can be reached at (508) 481-3224 ext 19 or

13.2.   Non-Circulating Item Requests

Non-Circulating items must be used inside the library. Patrons may view the materials at the department worktable.

Patrons may use non-circulating items at our Medium Rare reading area, adjacent to the Access Services desk.

If a patron requires the items to be on hold for a longer period, we can hold items for as long as the patron needs. MAKE A NOTE OF THE EXTENDED HOLD PERIOD ON THE ITEM PICK-UP SHEET.

13.3.  Rare Books through Harvard Depository

Rare book department requests are made in advance. Requestors should call (617) 432-2170. Rare book items are non-circulating and must be used in the Center for the History of Medicine reading room.

13.4.  Forms for Requesting Service

Forms are available online at The forms can only be used for Countway-owned materials.

14.   Aleph Report, Daily Products, and Harvard Direct

14.1.  Activating and Printing Daily Aleph Products and Reports

  1. Go to the Admin tab in Aleph (looks like a cup with pencils in it).
  2. For daily products, click Print Daemon and the Activate button.
  3. For Harvard Direct, click FileList, select the med.outstanding_hold_req.MEDHVDDIR file and click the Print button.
    1. Some staff Aleph credentials do not allow for Harvard Direct printing. This is due to a limited number of available logins for certain functions. If unable to print this report, please sign in using the following log in and password: Username: HLMEDHVDR1, Password: 4HLAS
  4. Most notices will be emailed to patrons. For patrons who do not have an email address saved in the Aleph record, letters will print out to be mailed to the patron. Mail all patron notices and letters immediately.
  5. With the Hold Shelf Report, go to the hold shelf and remove any item on the list.  Make sure that there is not an active hold and place the item on the department book truck or into the correct bin.  

15.   Borrow Direct

15.1.  Cancelling Borrow Direct Requests

If a patron ever needs to cancel a Borrow Direct request, you can do it by:

  1. Going to:
  2. Username: harvard
  3. Password: harvard
  4. Searching by request number is easiest. You can find this number in the request confirmation email that the patron received.


  • No labels