Library Board policy as of May 19, 2015.
Libraries may choose to link individuals who want their records linked.
- Patrons who wish their records linked must sign the Library’s form.
- Patrons do not have to all be present at the same time, but the form should be signed in person and in front of library staff. (Local exceptions or alternative arrangements for homebound or disabled patrons should be developed locally and be closely supervised.)
- Children should be encouraged to sign whenever possible, though parents have full legal rights to their minor children’s records.
- Libraries that offer linking should train their staff to explain that not all libraries are using this feature.
Family members can be linked all together, but there is no ability to link children separately to each parent in the case of separation or divorce. Children are either linked to one parent only or both parents together, in which case both adults’ records are visible to the Library staff.
Other likely situations:
- Adult children of homebound parents.
- Neighbors of homebound patrons.
- Caregivers from group homes with residents of the group home.
- Residents of group homes with an institutional card for the group home.
In an era in which many families are formed in different ways, Linked Patrons should not be used to pry into private life. If persons assert that they wish to be linked and all consent to do so, then it is not the Library’s role to question status.
- Libraries that keep paper records of library applications should keep paper records of Linked Patrons. Libraries that do this are urged to share their local procedures and forms to help other libraries develop them. Libraries must also make linking and unlinking notes in the patron record in Sierra.
- Libraries that do not keep paper records must record linking and unlinking with notes in the patron records in Sierra.
- Libraries must unlink a patron immediately upon his or her request.
- Library staff should not inquire why the patron is requesting to be unlinked.
- Library Staff must note unlinking in the patron record.
Sample Note Format
4/9/2015 Patron record linked to ____________, _____________, and ____________. LS, Berlin
4/9/2015 Patron requested to be unlinked. LS, Berlin
Non-LCI patrons should be linked at their Pickup Library. There are many Connecticut patrons who travel widely between libraries. They may look for this functionality when they come to Connect libraries; it makes sense to do linking at their pickup library within Connect.
Unlinking Children as They Age
Libraries within Connect differ in their policies about when children are solely responsible for their library cards. Libraries should follow their own thresholds for aging children in order to consider unlinking their records from their parents’. Libraries can run reports in Sierra that identify patrons with linked records who have reached a certain age in a given time period, for example, turning 18.
Regular Review of Linked Status
Patrons Whose Home Libraries Do Not Link
- Libraries that do not permit patron linking should have this functionality turned off for their library’s logins, so that staff is not tempted to use it. Please contact LCI staff to do so.
- Patrons may wish have their record linked in order to assist another patron (example: adult child of homebound parent).
- Patrons may be linked at other Connect libraries at the discretion of those libraries, but linking libraries have the burden of training their staff to explain that this service is not available at the home library. Home libraries that do not link should not unlink their patrons who are linked at other libraries.