StaffGuide: User Services

FAQ- Circulation Desk Manual

A patron is having trouble finding an item on the shelf, what can I do?

First, look up the item in Sierra or online catalog to verify current status. Once the status have been verified, depending on when the item was last checked out, look over the return book trucks at the desk. If not found on a return truck, inform the patron the item may be in the sorting area. Whenever possible ask another User Services staff member to either help the patron look for the item, or cover the desk while you help the patron look. If you are still unable to locate the book, print off the item record, make note of the patron's information, and provide the information to Stacks personnel to search for the item.

What do I do if a community borrower wants to use a computer?

Refer all non-UofA affiliates and/or community borrowers to the reference desk to be logged-in. In order to be logged in all patrons must have a current state issued ID.  

What do I do with damaged books?

Damaged items are not to be checked in right away. Any item with extensive damage, beyond basic wear and tear, should be referred to a full-time staff member or User Services Supervisor.

What is an ARKLink card?

This card grants borrowing privileges for students, faculty and staff from other participating academic libraries in Arkansas, at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, libraries under certain restrictions. Mullins library also issues ARKLink cards to eligible UofA students, faculty, and staff for use at participating libraries in Arkansas.

What do I do if a patron wants to see what ILL items they have checked out?

ILL items are checked in and out using a different system other than Sierra, so we at the circulation desk cannot see what ILL items are checked out to a patron. Inform the patron they will either have to log into their ILL account or stop in the ILL office for assistance. 

The KIC scanner is frozen, what to do?

Sometimes the KIC scanner screen will freeze up.  This can be fixed at times by placing two fingers on the button you want to select and move in a small circle. This should select the button. If this does not work or the screen is grey, connect a keyboard using the usb port on the tower. Press Alt + F4 to shut the program down. Make sure the scanner power button is on and double tap the KIC icon to start the program up again. Avoid restarting the tower completely if possible, because this interferes with tracking the statistics.

Circulation Desk(s) & Services

At each of the User Experience desks, we will do our best to uphold the libraries' commitment to excellence in service. The following is a list of some of the services offered at each UX desk and what is needed to access those services. 

Main Circulation Desk:

Additional information on the Circulation Desk can be found here
Contact information - Phone: 479-575-4104, Email:

All Desks offer help with checking items in and out, answering questions, giving directions, and general assistance within the library. Information on all other library departments and library services can be found here

Reference Desk:

Additional information on the Reference desk and Ref Department services can be found here.
Contact information - Phone: 479-575-6645, Email:

All Desks offer help with checking items in and out, answering questions, giving directions, and general assistance within the libraryInformation on all other library departments and library services can be found here

For staff offering patron assistance, there is a guide that offers resources for library staff providing research support and instruction. Here

Lab Op Desk:

Answers and assists with any questions or problems about the Library’s GACL lab and campus IT issues.

Additional information on Campus IT Department and services can be found here.
Contact information - Phone: 479-575-2905, Email:, online help

All Desks offer help with checking items in and out, answering questions, giving directions, and general assistance within the libraryInformation on all other library departments and library services can be found here

East Circulation Desk:

Contact information - Phone: 479-575-7711, Email:

All Desks offer help with checking items in and out, answering questions, giving directions, and general assistance within the libraryInformation on all other library departments and library services can be found here

Periodicals Desk:

  • Locating materials housed in the Hodges Reading Room
  • Using microform readers and scanning software
  • Assist with copier room 
  • Circulation of portable microform readers and some microform
  • Process and maintain course reserve records for Mullins library 

Additional information on Periodicals Department can be found here 

All Desks offer help with checking items in and out, answering questions, giving directions, and general assistance within the libraryInformation on all other library departments and library services can be found here

How to Use Services & Equipment

Interlibrary Loan Information (ILL info)

Interlibrary Loan Q&A for circ training

  • What is Interlibrary Loan?
    • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the process by which materials are shared among libraries for their users.
  • How many units are within the ILL department?
    • There are two units within the department, Borrowing and Lending.
  • What does Borrowing do?
    • The Borrowing Unit is responsible for locating and obtaining library materials (books, articles, cds, dvds, book chapters, music scores, vinyl albums, microfilm, etc.) requested by University of Arkansas users (students, faculty, staff and affiliates).
  • What does Lending do?
    • The Lending Unit is responsible for locating and sending University of Arkansas materials to users at other libraries around the world. (They do the opposite of what the Borrowing Unit does.)
  • What is RazorRush?
    • RazorRush is a service that upon request, library staff will retrieve, scan and electronically deliver articles from print periodicals in the collection of the University of Arkansas Libraries.
  • How does a patron request a Storage item?
    • Interlibrary Loan is also responsible for processing storage retrieval requests. Items retrieved from storage and placed on the hold shelf for pickup must be checked out to the user in Sierra. (Just as if the user were picking up a hold) These items do not have an ILL label affixed to the front.
  • How do patrons receive and retrieve Articles requested using ILL?
    • Journal articles are delivered to the library user through his or her ILLiad account. The user receives an email stating the article is ready to be viewed. The user then logs into his/her account and view the article.
  • How long do patrons have to view / save the electronic article?
    • Articles are deleted from the server after 30 days. It is important that library users understand their articles WILL be deleted after 30 days. Users should be encouraged to save their article files outside of the ILLiad system. The library is unable to repeatedly order the same item for the same person.
  • Typically how long does it take for articles to arrive?
    • Most articles arrive within 8 - 24 hours during the work week.
  • Most Loaned items, such as books, microfilm, etc. arrive within how many working days?
    • Most loaned items (books, microfilm, media) arrive within 7-14 working days.
  • What are at least 3 factors that could hinder obtaining an item quickly or at all?
    • The number of libraries that own the item (more libraries gives us more choices and increases the chance of success)
    • The age of the item (many libraries will not loan rare or fragile items). Some libraries will not loan items published within the current calendar year.
    • The type of material (many libraries will not loan current textbooks, cds, dvds, or videos)
    • The distance the item must travel
    • The shipping method used by the lender (FedEx, Courier, US Mail)
    • Whether or not the item is checked out at the lending institution. If the item is checked out at the first institution we query, the request is then electronically passed to the next library in the pre-selected “lender-string.” If that institution responds negatively, the request is then electronically passed to the next in line until the item is either shipped to us or all options have been exhausted.
    • Whether users give us a complete citation (incomplete citations make it more difficult to locate the correct item)
    • It’s not yet published!
    • Only a few libraries in the world own the item and none are willing to lend.
    • It’s rare
    • It’s considered a reference item and does not leave the library.
    • It’s rare, nobody owns it, AND it’s really expensive!
  • Is it appropriate to suggest to a patron to request an item the library owns using ILL, if it has any of the listed status? (Holds, Recalls, Missing, Checked Out)
    • If a library user wants an item that is owned by the U of A Libraries but is unavailable for whatever reason (on hold, checked out, missing, etc.), we WILL borrow another copy for them. Please let the user know they can make a request for the item using their ILLiad account. It is very important that the user tell us in the notes field of the request form that the U of A copy is not available.
  • A patron can keep an item as long as they need. True or False?
  • Explain why True or False.
    • False, because each ILL item has a due date assigned to the front slip. Please do not tell ILL customers to keep their materials as long as they need them.
  • Can all ILL items be renewed?
    • Overdue items cannot be renewed.
    • Items with NO RENEWALS indicated on the label cannot be renewed.
    • Items with “Renewal: Yes” on the label are eligible to be renewed.
  • How can ILL items be renewed?
    • If the item is renewable, the user can place the renewal request via their ILLiad account or by calling or dropping by the ILL Department. This does not mean the renewal will be automatic. ILL staff must query the lending library and ask for a renewal. It may be granted or it may not be.
  • On Slip: Option for renewals YES. Overdue by 1 day, Can this item be renewed?
    • No it cannot be renewed. Please let the user know he/she should return the item and request another copy.
  • What is the limit to the number of items a patron may request at one time?
    • There is no limit to the number of items that can be requested at one time; however, department staff will promise to process ten requests per person per day. Users should be careful when requesting large numbers of returnable items (books, dvds, cds, etc) as they will likely arrive at the same time and have similar due dates.
  • How are Interlibrary Loan fines assessed?
    • The University Libraries are billed for non-returned ILL items. The Libraries pay these bills and then bill the user.
  • Textbooks can be requested using ILL. True or False?
  • Explain why True or False?
    • False, because The ILL office cannot order current semester textbooks. The “Current semester” typically consisting of two consecutive semesters at a time, i.e. fall 2014 and spring 2015 textbooks are considered current. Editions of the item other than which is currently being used may or may not be filled. A textbook being a book used as a standard work for the study of a particular subject, the main book in the class. With that said, certain required readings may be requested. Please do not refer library users to ILL for textbooks.
  • Full cart of ILL returns. When checked in, all items go up to stacks? True or False and why?
    • Explain why True or False.
    • False, because sometimes the carts brought to us from ILL contain items for storage and/or branch libraries. These items should go on their respective shelves in the circulation office area.
  • Read over steps for Renewing ILL items. (See tabs above)
  • Read over steps for updating (forgotten) password. (See tabs above)
  • For any Questions about ILL policy or guidance who should you contact? 
    •  Contact Interlibrary Loan!! @ 575- 5311

For Additional information about ILL, refer to Interlibrary Loan information page: ILL Page

For Additional questions check out  Library FAQs key word: Interlibrary Loan

-Renewals: (Information to note)

  • The ILL Department does not automatically renew materials borrowed through our department. 
  • Renewals are granted at the discretion of the lending library.
  • Overdue items cannot be renewed.
  • Items with NO RENEWALS indicated on the label cannot be renewed.

Please let the user know he/she should return the item and request another copy.

Renewing Interlibrary Loan items:

Items with “Renewal: Yes” on the label are eligible to be renewed.

  • If the item is renewable:
    • The user can place the renewal request via their ILLiad account
    • Call or drop by the ILL Department.

Renewing items using Online account:

  1. Log into ILLiad account

Illiad account log in screen

  1. Select “Checked Out Items” on the site navigation list, located to the left of the page.

Site navigation list on the left of the page

  1. A list of currently checked out items will be displayed.
  2. Example display of currently checked out items
  3. For the item needing to be renewed, select the Transaction number for the item.
  4. An item information page will appear.
  5. Item information page
  6. Here you have the option to:
    1. Clone Request: This selection will fill out another Book Request form.
    2. Renew Request: This selection will submit a renewal request to ILL.

This does not mean the renewal will be automatic. ILL staff must query the lending library and ask for a renewal. It may be granted or it may not be.

Note* Updating information should be handle by the owner of the account only. Employees should not make changes within a patron’s personal ILL account.


Interlibrary Loan Password (reset):

If a library user forgets her/his ILLiad password, the user can reset it.

  1. On the Libraries main page select the “Interlibrary Loan” tab.

University Libraries webpage

  1. On the left side of the page, click “Reset Password.”

Screenshot of log in screen with reset Password highlighted

  1. The user will be asked to enter his/her username.

Forgot password prompt

  1. The user should receive an email with a link to take them to the reset password page.

If the user does not remember his/her username, he/she will need to contact ILL staff to have it reset.
Contact info - Phone: 479-575-5311, Email:

Fines, Invoicing, & Replacements

Fines & Invoicing


  • Courtesy overdue reminder notices are sent to all patrons via campus e-mail. Failure to receive the courtesy notice does not, however, exempt borrowers from fines.
  • The status of checked out items is available for review online by using “My Library Account” or by calling the Circulation Desk (479) 575-4104.
  • Overdue fines are not charged if library materials are returned within the five-day grace period.
  • A fine is assessed on books and musical scores that are six or more days overdue. The charge is three dollars ($3.00) for the sixth day and fifty cents ($.50) for each day thereafter.
  • Fines for other materials such as recalled items, reference materials and reserve items are higher.
  • Charges for damaged books vary according to the amount of damage.
  • Overdue fines for laptop computers and other equipment are $10.00 per hour.


  • When materials are thirty days overdue (for all patrons except faculty), an invoice is sent. The amount of the invoice is a fifteen dollar ($15.00) fine for thirty days overdue plus the replacement cost for the book based on average current book prices by subject.
  • Overdue reserve materials may be fined up to thirty dollars ($30.00), and overdue recalled items may accrue a fine of up to thirty dollars ($30.00). Faculty members are billed at sixty days overdue, but a fine is not charged.
  • All fines and invoices must be paid to the Treasurer's Office or using ISIS. Patrons who are invoiced for materials are blocked from circulation privileges until materials are returned or the invoice is paid.
  • Questions about an invoice or requests for adjustments are handled at the Circulation Desk 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday.


  • Returned books that have the status “BILLED” need to be checked in to clear the replacement cost from the invoice.
  • A Bursar tape load is created each day (usually first thing in the morning). Adjustments for BILLED items that have been checked in will be in the Bursar tape load the following day. The Bursar tape load goes into Isis late in the day.
  • The adjustments to a student’s record in Isis do not occur in real time. There is a delay because of the way Infolinks and Isis currently interact.
  • The User Experience personal in charge of Overdue Materials, Billing & Carrels can communicate with the Treasurer’s Office to expedite an adjustment if there is a pressing need to clear a student (ex. registering for classes, obtaining a transcript).


  • “LOST & PAID” items are not to be checked in and are not cleared in SIERRA.
  • Returned books that have the status “LOST & PAID” are not to be checked in and are not cleared in SIERRA. These books have been previously billed and have been marked as paid.
  • Please give these books to the User Experience Services personal in charge of Overdue Materials, Billing & Carrels to be processed.
  • Include a note with the name, ID# of the person who was billed, and the date of the item(s) was returned.
  • The User Experience Services personnel in charge of Overdue Materials, Billing & Carrels will call and/or send an email to the Treasurer’s Office to remove the book charges as soon as possible.


  • If a patron wishes to replace a lost or damaged item instead of paying the billed price, they may submit the replacement item to the User Experience Librarian or the head of a branch library to determine if the item is a viable replacement choice. (See Replacement Decision Steps)
  • If accepted, the item is given to the User Experience personnel in charge of Overdue Materials, Billing & Carrels who will adjust the patron’s account.
  • For billed items, the replacement fee will be removed and the $15 billing fee remains.
  • The item status is changed to either “Lost” or “Damaged” and a note is added to the record. A replacement disposition form should be submitted to the billing clerk

When a patron prefers to replace a lost item by supplying a copy rather than being billed:

1.Provide the patron with the information for the copy they would like to replace

  1. Print out the bibliographic record, provide the ISBN, etc.

2.Inform the user that the supplied copy:

  1. must match the item lost (exception: replacement can be a newer edition of the same item)
  2. can be a used copy but must be in “very good”, “excellent”, or “like new” condition
  3. must be free of highlighting or other writing
  4. cannot be a former library copy

3.If the patron is unsure if a specific copy meets the requirements above, encourage the patron to check with one of the User Experience Supervisors or with the User Experience Librarian before they buy that particular copy.

When the patron supplies the replacement copy:

  1. Have the item reviewed by a User Experience Supervisor on duty (or the User Experience Librarian).
  2. If the item is acceptable, print out the patron record from Sierra showing the overdue or billed item.
  3. Print out the copy of the bibliographic record for the item that is being replaced.
  4. Give the item and the print outs to the Circulation Fines and Billings Processor (Alice).

Circulation Fines and Billings Processor will update the patron record and give the replacement copy to acquisitions for processing.

  • Report any issues or questions to the User Experience Librarian.

Accepting Donations

Procedures for collecting donated materials:

  1. When patrons bring in items to donate to the library.
    1. Have the patron fill out a “University of Arkansas Libraries Donation Form”
    2. Go over the items quickly to insure nothing has been left in the items and confirm all items presented are meant to be donated.
    3. Go over the donation form, checking that all required fields have been filled out to completion.
      1. All the contact information required
    4. Place the donation sheet with the items and place them on the “Book Donation Shelf”, located in the back of the circulation office area.
  2. When someone calls to request that their donated materials be picked up, ask the following:
    1. How many books or linear feet are involved?
    2. Are they already boxed up or do you need assistance with this?
    3. What would be a good date/time for you to get this done?
    4. What is your name, address, and phone number?
    5. Inform them that you will pass this information on to the courier, Brian Curtis, from the Libraries’ Facilities Department.
    6. Once Brian gets this information he will contact the donor and finalize all arrangements.
    7. Brian will contact staff in Technical Services to let them know of the delivery and if needed, due to the size of the donation, will place items temporarily in compact shelving.

Laptop Form(s)

Laptop form processing

In order to check out electronic items in Mullins Library or at the Student Technology Center (STC), University of Arkansas affiliated students, staff, etc. have to fill out the “University Libraries Digital Equipment Registration Agreement” form and their Sierra record updated to reflect having signed the form. 

Registration agreement form:

Below is what the “Digital Equipment Registration Agreement” form looks like. We keep copies of this form at the Main Circulation desk if needed, but most forms will come to User Services from the STC located in the Union. These forms should already be filled-out to completion in ink, not pencil. The following information will cover; which sections of the form need to be filled out (highlighted by green boxes), what to do if the form is not filled out correctly and how to update the patron's record in Sierra while completing the form for filing.

Adding to patron account / Processing Digital Equipment Registration Agreement form:

All required information on the form:


Confirm that all required information is filled in, with ink and legible.

If filled out in pencil or if any of the information is difficult to read, don’t assume or guess information and do not correct or change any information on the document, shred the form. The patron will just be required to fill out another form the next time they check-out electronic equipment. Once all information is correctly filled in, the User Services staff can update/add to the patron's account.

Updating patron account:

After verifying the “Digital Equipment Registration Agreement” form is properly filled out, you can now update the patron’s account. The following steps will explain how to update the patron’s record.  

  1. Bring up the patron’s account using the UofA ID# printed on the form.
    1. If the space LAPTOP is set to “0 DEFAULT” then this account needs to be updated. In the event it has already been updated, save the form and verify there is a completed form filed.

  1. Click the “Edit” button

  1. Once clicked a login box should appear. Here you will enter your Sierra login credentials, which are not the same as your UARK login information.  

*Note: If you can’t remember your Sierra login information, ask your supervisor so it can be reset.

  1. Once logged in, you can now update the “Patron Record”.
    1. Double click the “0 DEFAULT” box

  1. Double click should prompt “Select” box to appear

  1. Click “1 LAPTOP”, then click the “OK” button

i. The Laptop field should now be updated.

  1. Now select the “Save/Close” button, located in the top right corner.

  1. This should complete the updating of the patron’s Sierra record.  Verify the change, refer to the image below.

Finishing Digital Equipment Registration Agreement form for filing:

  1. Initial and date form in the “Approved by:” section of the form, in ink.
  2. Print (ink) patrons name in all caps along the left side of the form.
  3. Current year, vertically written (ink) in the top left corner of the form.

Image below -

Once all steps are complete, place the completed forms in the black tray located on the countertop near the User Experience Coordinator’s office. There is also an example of a properly filled-out form taped to the black organizing tray if you need.