Koha Upgrades

Fall 2021 Upgrade Webinars and Q&A


Each webinar covered the new features and enhancements that we are most excited to share with our partners for Koha versions 20.11 and 21.05. This agenda outlines what we discussed in both webinars.

If you have any questions about the upgrades process, please open a ticket.

What's New Webinar 1

Watch the recording of the What's New Webinar 1 held on October 13, 2021.

What's New Webinar 2

Watch the recording of the What's New Webinar 2 held on October 15, 2021.


This year we held two sessions to answer all of your upgrades questions!

What's New Q&A 1

Q&A 1 was held on October 26, 2021.

What's New Q&A 2

Q&A 2 was held on October 28, 2021.

Questions and Answers

These questions were asked during the What's New webinars and Q&A sessions.

OPAC & Public Services

[26123] Show info about existing OPAC note/Patron message on patron's dashboard

  • What messages... the ones in patrons' OPAC account or at the top of their account in the staff client? These are created using the 'Add a message' button on the patron's Details tab. Only 'OPAC - [patron's name]' messages will show for the patron in the OPAC. These are in black italic text on the staff interface. Messages marked as 'Staff - Internal note' are bold red italic on the staff interface and will not show on the OPAC.

[15986] Add a script for sending hold waiting reminder notices

  • Will a hold reminder be added to message preferences? Not currently - it follows patrons' hold message preference. [28153] Add 'Hold reminder' messaging preference will do this as part of 21.11, but it has not been backported.

Patrons & Circulation

[25534] Add ability to specifying and store a reason when cancelling a hold

  • What does "cancelled" mean? Could patrons tell if they didn't pick up -vs- item could not be found? Will it show the reason for the hold cancellation? If the authorized value specifies that it wasn't picked up (or any other reason), yes.
  • Can reasons be added easily? Yes - these are added as 'HOLD_CANCELLATION' authorized values.
  • So this is for staff to inform patrons of cancellations, not for patrons to cancel their own holds? Is this only one way? Can patrons give a reason why they cancelled? This is only for staff to notify patrons of the reason for a cancellation. There isn't currently a way for patrons to provide a reason for cancelling.
  • Is it mandatory to choose a reason? The default is 'No reason given' - there is a drop-down menu to select something else.
  • Can you set a default of "no message"? If a hold is cancelled with 'No reason given' selected, the patron won't receive a notice.
  • What about volume level holds? Koha doesn't set volume level holds.
  • Did you say there is a syspref to ALLOW staff to see hold history? Yes, this is part of intranetReadingHistory: [Allow/Don't allow] staff to access a patron's checkout and hold history (checkout history is still stored, regardless of staff being allowed access or not).
  • Will the authorized values be for all libraries if you are in a consortium or can individual libraries choose their own? They can be limited by library or available for all! Use the 'Library limitations' box in your authorized values set-up to limit to one or more locations.

  • If you choose 'No reason given' have notices set up, will Koha send a notice saying 'No reason given'? No, it won't send a notice.
  • Can a reason for cancellation be set from the patron's account, or only from the item's hold list? This is available from both - below is from the patron's account.

  • Are hold cancellation notices sent as a digest or separately for each hold? Currently they are separate.
  • Once a hold arrives at the library, the patron cannot cancel it, correct? Correct - but this feature is in development.

Related bug: [26282] Allow staff to decide if a hold cancellation notice will be sent when cancelling a hold. This can currently be done with template toolkit - submit a ticket if you would like this set up.

[12656] Allow a CANCELLATION_REASON to be specified on the cancel_expired_holds.pl job

  • Is this a patron messaging preference? No, but there is a bug that would make it one. Currently, Koha will attempt to send this to all patrons if enabled.
  • Will an expiration be automatically sent as a reason when holds expire? Yes, if the cron is set to do so.

[14866] Make high holds work with different item types and number of open days

  • What about customizing hold length based on item type? This isn't currently possible.
  • Could you do this for an entire collection such as Holiday Books? No, it is by patron category/item type combination only.
  • Can a loan period for a item type be a number of hours? Yes! The 'Unit' column in the circulation matrix can be set to days or hours.

[22789] Establish non-priority holds

  • Do Non-Priority Holds count against the "Total Holds Allowed" count? Yes.
  • Does non-priority status show on the patron side? No.
  • Can you set the default for Non-Priority as "yes" for a specific branch or patron type? This isn't currently possible.
  • How would this interact with Club Holds? This can’t currently be set for club holds.
  • Do patrons set this when they place their own holds? No, only staff can designate holds this way.
  • Once a hold is set as non-priority, can it be toggled back to regular, or does it have to be cancelled and re-placed? There isn't currently a way to do this, but [29327] Add option to remove Non-Priority status from hold would do so!

[23091] Add options to charge new or restore forgiven overdues when a lost item is returned

  • Would it also forgive the processing fee? (We don't charge overdues but we do charge item + $5. and then it only forgives the item) No, it is the item cost only.
  • So if the library has no late fees, there will be no charge [if the lost item fee is refunded on return]? Correct!
  • Is there a way to have this apply to a single item type? For instance, we only have overdue fines for technology. It will work based on the overdue fines set in your circulation matrix, so it should apply by those patron category/item type combinations only. If there are only overdue fines for one item type, there won't be anything to restore/charge for other items.

[23916] Issuer should be recorded and visible in patron circulation history

  • Is checked out by retro, or only for transactions going forward? It won't show retroactively/until the system preference recordStaffUserOnCheckout is enabled, but the issuer is visible in your logs.
  • Does it let you know which staff member checked in an item as well? No, but that is available in your logs.
  • Does that show to patrons also? It does not.
  • How does it know who to show? It shows based on the logged-in staff member, so if multiple staff share a login, it won't tell you the individual. (This is a great reason to not use shared logins!)
  • Do we have to turn this on or will it just be there? By default, recordStaffUserOnCheckout will be off - you will need to enable it.

[25261] Multiple parts handling confirmation alert

  • What does this [the pop-up] do to RFID check in? We could not test that but think that they won’t work well together since you have to click the confirmation box for each item.
  • Is this only added at cataloging or can it be edited later depending on permissions? It can be edited with permissions.
  • Will it not truly check it in until we have checked "yes"? Staff must click 'Yes' to complete the check-in.
  • I assume we can add an audio alert for this. Yes, you can! This Monday Minutes: Audio Alerts post details setting up and customizing alerts.
  • Does this show up on Self-Check? We do not have the equipment to test this. (If you do and tell us the results, we can update this post!)
  • Please remind me where the note that pops up gets put. It goes in 952$3-Materials specified (bound volume or other part). The system preference circConfirmItemParts must also be enabled.
  • There's an item type 'Checkin message' - does this new feature work with that part of the item type record? A 'Checkin message' at the item type level DOES NOT trigger the parts confirmation popup.

[18532] Messaging preferences for auto renewals

  • Is the auto-renewal digest set by switching which message is sent by the cron? No, it is set in patrons' Messaging Preferences.
  • Our library is sending renewal notices now. When we upgrade, will Koha send both? Yes, unless you turn off the RenewalSendNotice system preference.

[27864] Visual feedback on overridden pickup locations when placing biblio-level hold

  • Why was the 'Allowed pickup location' column added? This was added to help prevent staff from placing holds that can never be filled. Depending on a library's transport matrix and CircControl and ReservesControl system preferences, individual items on a bib may have different allowed locations - and the disallowed ones will never fill, even though they can be placed with permissions. However, it can cause confusion because the individual items' locations don't default to the bib-level hold location. [29349] Item-level holds should assume the same pickup location as bib-level holds would default items' location to the bib-level location. This jquery will default individual item locations to blank so that staff are forced to choose a location:

$(document).ready(function () {
if ( $('#circ_request').length && $('#pickup').length ) {
$('.pickup_locations').each( function() {

Technical Services

[23019] Ability to create ‘matching profiles’ when importing records

  • Will this also work with authorities? Yes!
  • Those profiles are system wide not just by user? Yes, they are for the system (not just the user or logged-in library).
  • Since everyone can see, can one library edit another library's profile? Yes, any changes will be saved over the original profile - there is no prompt to save with a new name.
  • Are there controls for the ability to create/edit these profiles? Yes, this is controlled by the stage_marc_import permission.

[23420] Add “SuggestionsUnwantedFields” to hide fields from the suggestions form

  • Could those unwanted suggestions be in the patron creation as well? They are! BorrowerUnwantedField controls the staff interface patron entry screen, PatronSelfRegistrationBorrowerUnwantedField controls the patron self-registration field, and PatronSelfModificationBorrowerUnwantedField controls patron self-modification on the OPAC.

[26630] Allow custom text for each library on the purchase suggestion page

  • What about message changes by group? Currently this can only be set to individual libraries or all libraries, but not groups.

[8976] Default sequence of subfields in cataloguing and item editor

  • Any way to put the subfields of authority records into a default order? Yes, using the same drag-and-drop method. Authority frameworks can be edited via Administration--Authority Types, then viewing the MARC structure and then subfields of the tag you wish to edit. Click the Edit button of any subfield to access the tabs for rearranging.
  • Will the re-ordering of the subfields carry over to the OPAC display -- that is, will the subfields appear in that order in the patron view? They will show on the OPAC MARC view.
  • Is this going to change the order of existing records that use that template? It will not at the bib level, but will for the item level and authority records. You can drag and drop subfields in existing bib records, and they should save/display in the new order.
  • Does this apply to batch imports? In testing, this didn’t put batch imports into the new order even with the default framework applied.
  • If we import the 952 field with subfields in a specific order, will they still go into the proper subfields or will they be saved out of order? Will I need to worry about this as a source of new errors? They should still save in the proper order since imports match on the tag/subfield itself, not the order.
  • When item subfields are reordered, does the new order carry over to the Batch Item Modification tool? It doesn't, but items modified via the tool do appear in the new order. Re-ordering the tool could be a follow-up but would require deciding which framework's order to use.

[23971] Add logging for basket related actions

  • How long is data retained? It is retained for 180 days by default, but you can request longer or shorter. Currently, the same retention time applies for all of your logs, but in 21.11, [18631] Cleanup_database.pl should take an option for modules in action_logs will allow you to set different times for each log.


[25846] Improve handling of multiple covers on catalog search results in the staff client
  • Could you demonstrate this? Yes! Here it is in search results and an item record. Click the dots below the image to scroll between covers.

  • Will the text below images always show? By default, yes, but we may be able to hide it with jquery.
  • Is there a limit to the number of images you can add? We have not found a limit.
  • Is this automatic, or does something have to be set? You will need AllowMultipleCovers turned on to add the images. To display them in the staff interface, turn on LocalCoverImages. To display in the OPAC, turn on OPACLocalCoverImages. OPAC display doesn't currently show as nicely as in the staff interface, but [26933] OPAC - Multiple cover image show in results and details pages addresses this. We encourage you to add your feedback!

General upgrades questions

  • Is it true that bootstrap is changed, and IDs are majorly changed, especially for the OPAC? From partner: Yes, Bootstrap changed. It was a big change for us as we have lots of customizations that hook on Bootstrap classes. If you're using Bootstrap selectors in your JS then they will need to be updated & some places you can only use layout selectors to grab certain parts of the page. From ByWater: The changes may cause issues with your OPAC appearance, but we are prepared to make any corrections you need! If anything appears off, please open a ticket.
  • I ponder if there is a way for us to look at stuff and see if there is stuff that needs money that I can just browse. Like I can go shopping to spend my development money by seeing other projects pending money. Is there an organized way to do that? Yes! Visit http://devs.bywatersolutions.com/
  • Have there been reports of reports broken by the upgrades? We have not heard of any at this point!
  • Is there any option to include the check-out to the holding patron when we "confirm and print" the hold? No, there is not.
  • What does a consortium need to know, and anything to check first after upgrade? Clear your browser cache after the upgrade. By default, new features will be turned off.
  • In patrons' brief sidebar details, can the birthdays (or blank line when they are not entered) be hidden? Not currently via the staff interface, but we can hide these by CSS or jquery. Please submit a ticket if you'd like this done.
  • Can the shield (denoting Staff) or lightning bolt (for Superlibrarian patrons) be customized to other icons? This may be possible with jquery.
  • Is my Koha server going to explode if I turn on all the new shiny logs? There is no reason to expect that it will! None of the new logs are likely to be extremely resource-intensive. If you are worried about space or resources, please open a ticket so that we can monitor the new logs' activity.
  • Have any significant bugs been reported? No - there have been minor adjustments to code to avoid server errors due to ambiguous requests, but nothing significant has been found.

Upgrade Resources

Learn more about 20.11 and 21.05 at the links below!

Koha Upgrade for Fall 2021
Koha 21.05 Upgrade Notes
Koha 20.11 Upgrade Notes
Fall 2021 Upgrades Blog Posts and Tutorial Videos

Read more by Sara Brown

Tags 20.11, 21.05, upgrade webinars