New Service Allows Patrons to Freeze Holds

by on February 26th, 2016

Just in time for spring break, the Iowa City Public Library added a new service, Freezing Holds, that will enable patrons to manage their holds.

Library patrons may have 10 free holds at one time, with requests filled on a first come, first serve basis. Holds, or reserves, can be placed on materials checked out to other patrons, or on materials checked in and available, which a staff member will pull and put on the Holds shelf. Patrons are notified when their requested materials are available, and given a six-day window to visit ICPL to check out the items.

Beginning March 1, Library patrons can delay when requested items are ready to be picked up by freezing the hold. For example, if you are going on vacation and don’t want to miss getting your requested items, you can freeze the hold before you leave, and then unfreeze it when you return. Patrons can do this by logging into their account, and selecting the item or items they want to freeze or unfreeze.

A freeze cannot be placed once a patron has received notification that an item is available for pickup.

“The Library had 146,917 hold requests in fiscal year 2015,” Community and Access Services Coordinator Kara Logsden said. “Giving the option to freeze holds improves customer service and helps patrons not miss out on a hold if they are traveling or need to postpone when a hold is available.”

For more information, contact the Library at 319-356-5200.

8 Responses to “New Service Allows Patrons to Freeze Holds”

  1. Kat says:

    Thank you so much for this! I can’t wait to use it. This is an amazing idea and I will use it a lot – I make a weekly trip into Iowa City, and it’s really frustrating when something I’ve been waiting for comes in and must be picked up by the DAY BEFORE my weekly library day (it happens more than you’d expect lol).

    • Kat says:

      Oh well that was not what I was expecting. Apparently you cannot “freeze” holds that are ready to pick up. My response to that is: So … what is the point? How do you know you’ll want to freeze it if you don’t know when it will be available to pick up? Would enjoy hearing what others think about this new service, but it doesn’t really help me.

  2. Matt says:

    I think it’d be rude to freeze a hold that is available to pickup, it’d just rot on the hold shelf whilst other patrons could be accessing the material. I have no problem cancelling my holds if I’ll be out of town and plan around them, but this might be interesting.

    What happens if I freeze a hold and then unfreeze when the item is on the shelf? Will a page have to go grab it?

    • Kara Logsden says:

      Good question. If the item has gone to the shelf, when you unfreeze the hold it becomes a “Paged” item. We’ll pull it from the shelf and let you know when it’s ready for pickup.

  3. Craig says:

    While an item is frozen, are you going to let the next person on the list have it? I’m hoping that by ‘freezing’ the item, what you really mean is ‘you don’t lose your place in line when you get back,’ not ‘you get to keep anyone else from checking it out until you return.’

    • Brent Palmer says:

      Yes, I’m confirming that “freezing” means you don’t lose your place in line when you get back.

  4. Carol says:

    I use holds often, and I think this new feature will be helpful to me, because inevitably I have a feast or famine with 5 things ready to pick up and a line behind me, or nothing for several weeks.

    A few questions about the mechanics of this:
    I am #1-and-only in line for an item that is due 3/23. I will be out of town over spring break, so I froze my hold in the event the item is turned in early. Can the current holder of the item now renew it, if they choose? Or if they do return it while I am away, the item will go out on the shelf for someone else to potentially check it out before I un-freeze my hold, right? Both of these seem like they should be allowed as the hold process is described.

    I am also #20 of very many in line for a new release DVD. Assuming (never safe) that in this position I’m far enough back that my turn will not come up while I’m away, does it make any difference one way or another whether I put this item on hold? As I understand it, if person #10 freezes her hold, and the other people #1-15 are able to make a check-out, then when person #10 and I return from spring break, person #10 resumes the queue in position #1 and I will be in position #6 whether I have frozen my hold for the week or not, correct?

    • Heidi Lauritzen says:

      Hi Carol, Here are the answers to your questions: If there is only one hold on a checked out item, and that hold is frozen, may the current borrower renew the item? Yes, they may. A frozen hold–if it’s the only hold–does not block a renewal.

      If the item is returned, and the only hold is frozen, does the item return to the shelf? Yes it does, and someone else could check it out. If it still is available on the shelf when you un-freeze your hold, the item will appear on our Paging list, and we will pull it from the shelf and contact you that it is ready for pickup.

      Where am I in a long queue when I unfreeze a hold? You do not lose your place in the queue. So, if you got skipped over, you would appear in the first position once you unfreeze the hold. If it hasn’t gotten to you yet, you are in the same place in the queue and your example above is correct. If someone ahead of you in a hold queue freezes a hold, your number for your place in line does not change. What that means is that you may get your hold sooner than you expected, if someone ahead of you has frozen their hold and is skipped over when it is their turn.

      I hope this answers all of your questions. Please let us know if not!

Leave a Reply