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Online Patron Registration via Patron Point (announcement)

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We are very excited to share that we have rolled out online patron registration with PatronPoint on each library’s iteration of the Aspen discovery catalog. A huge thank you to all the beta testing libraries (BVL, JEF, MTL, PEQ), ILS Committee, and Main staff who made this possible.
There are no action items on your part, aside from simply knowing that it exists and how patrons will use it over time. There are no new “PACREG” patrons being created via this new system. Patrons going through the online registration process will have a fully functional card, be reminded they already have a card, or told that some issue occurred that prevented a card from being created for them. In the last case, the patron will be informed they need to visit the library and you will receive an email (at circ-xxx@mainlib.org) with the patron’s information (with a message that they tried to register but weren’t able to).
Patrons who register online will have digital barcodes (which they can bring up on their phones via Apple/Google wallet or the Main SOLUS app). Some may come in and request a physical card. If they do, you will just follow the standard patron update procedures to give the patron a new barcode by overwriting the barcode that the PatronPoint system had assigned.
Want to have a look at the registration form yourself? Sure thing. Go to:
https://<yoursubdomainhere>.aspendiscovery.org/MyAccount/SelfReg”
or
Via any of the “Register for a new Library Card” links within the Aspen discovery catalog.
Patrons will be greeted with a landing page with three options to choose from, depending on whether they are registering as an adult, an adult registering for a juvenile, or as a potential courtesy patron. From there, they will fill out the respective form and upon successful completion will be prompted with a screen informing them to expect further information via email. The PatronPoint forms have been implemented such that they are compatible with our ReachDeck (formerly BrowseAloud) accessibility tool, should any patrons need the forms translated into another language, read out loud to them, or otherwise modified for their accessibility.
The PatronPoint system will validate if their entered address is within a Main Library Alliance service area and automatically assign the patron to the proper library. From there, the system will attempt to further validate if the patron in question, based on the data entered, is on record as living at the entered address. If all validations are passed, the patron will receive a welcome email with their barcode and information about Main Library Alliance as well as their specific library, including website and social media links. Likewise, if the system determines they already have a card, they will be provided with a similar email indicating that they are already a patron. If validation fails, they will not receive a barcode, but will still receive information about reaching out to their library for additional assistance. When a patron seems to pass all the Patron Point checks, but registration fails due to an issue in the ILS, an email should be automatically triggered informing your circulation desk about the issue, providing the relevant information. In the near future we will also be providing reporting on bounced emails.
Other FAQ we have received:
  • What if a patron attempts to register but actually pays taxes to the next town over, but they are confused because their home mailing address says this town? PatronPoint’s verification system is built on tax shape maps, so it should be sophisticated enough to issue a library card at the library to which they should actually receive a card, regardless of what a mailing address might say.
  • Does a patron need to go to the proper Aspen registration page in order to register at a certain library? No. PatronPoint will register the patron at the proper library regardless of which registration page URL they are using.
  • What kind of barcode does PatronPoint issue? Is it randomly generated? Can it be used to access eContent immediately? The barcode number will look like your library’s barcode number. It just uses a very high (unique) number that you are highly unlikely to ever print onto a physical library card in the next 100 years. The added bonus of doing it this way is that the library card number can indeed be used to access eContent, whether it is Main-wide shared eContent like Libby or Mango, or library-sponsored platforms like Hoopla and Brainfuse.
Please know that Main staff and the ILS Committee realize nothing is perfect, and this system is no different. For example, Patron Point registration is compelled to observe the same limitations as any other online registration in Polaris. If a patron with a First and Last name already exists in the database (regardless of address), PatronPoint verification will fail and an email will automatically trigger informing your circulation desk about the issue. Please let us know if you or your patrons find anything amiss with either the PatronPoint registration forms on Aspen or with the automated emails coming from the system. Either respond to this email or place a catalog support ticket with “Patron Point” or “Online Registration” in the subject line. In particular, please let us know if there are any issues with any specific browsers/device types or if there are any formatting issues when being viewed from specific email services.
In terms of PR and announcements, we recommend holding off on large-scale marketing campaigns until your library’s staff is comfortable with the system and has a workflow in place to handle common inquiries that come in from patrons attempting to register. Main does not plan to start heavily advertising this new Main-wide feature until Q1 of 2024, but it is up to each individual library to decide how aggressively they wish to push PatronPoint.
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