Koha Question of the Week: How to Close a Branch in Koha
Each Friday, we will bring you a new Koha Question of the Week. We will select real questions that we receive and share the answers with you!
Question: How to close a branch in Koha?
Answer: A question that comes up a lot is how to close a branch in Koha. There are many reasons why a library to close a branch, and we want to give you the best and easiest way to do this! We will break down a few areas that need to be focused on for this branch to be closed in Koha.
If this branch has a separate calendar assigned to it, this should be altered to indicate it is closed. The calendar works with the circulation and fines rules so Koha knows when an item is due.
Tools- Calendar. Use the dropdown to pick the branch that is closing and add closed dates to the calendar.
Is your library using the Holds Queue? If so, alter the system preference, HoldsQueueSkipClosed, to eliminate the closing branch.
Preventing or Altering Holds
Some libraries may wish to make changes to their holds process.
For Multi-Branch Libraries, Circulation and Fine Rules will need to be altered, however, to know what needs to be altered, you will need to see what your CircControl system preference is set to.
The CircControl system preference tells Koha what Circulation Rules to follow when doing a checkout. The choices are, where the patron is from, where the item is from, or the logged-in library.
For example, if the circcontrol was set at 'where the item is from', then the rules for the specific branch that is being closed will need to be altered.
Also in addition to the Circulation and Fine Rule Matrix, the “Default checkout, hold and return policy can be altered to set Hold policy: No holds allowed.
Marking this branch to not be a "Pick Up Location', will also be necessary. This can be done in the Administration Module, under Libraries. Editing the branch that is closing to not be a pick-up location.
If needed, we can edit existing holds to suspend un-captured holds or change the expiration dates of captured holds. Please let us know how we can help.
Hiding Items from this Branch
If a library would like to hide the items currently owned by the branch, this can be done using the OPACHiddenItems system preference.
A library can add:
homebranch: [branch code]
to this system preference to indicate to Koha to hide any items that have a home branch of the branch is getting closed.
Using the News Feature to Communicate the Closure
For libraries using the Koha OPAC, they can add a message on the OPAC with the News Tools.
Within the tools module, libraries can use the News feature to put a notice on the OPAC for patrons to see.
Here is a helpful blog post about using the News Feature.
For libraries using Aspen with Koha, here are some helpful steps to make sure your patrons are getting the most accurate information for holds, etc.
1. Suppress the location's collections: https://help.aspendiscovery.org/help/admin/systemslocations#Cell-1080-PanelBody (if you want items to show but just be non-holdable, you should be able to use that Non-Holdable Locations line from the screenshot instead)
2. Remove the location as a hold pick-up location: https://help.aspendiscovery.org/help/admin/systemslocations#Cell-1082-PanelBody
3. Remove or edit location library hours: https://help.aspendiscovery.org/help/admin/systemslocations#Cell-1084-PanelBody
4. Adjust library hours: https://help.aspendiscovery.org/help/admin/systemslocations#Cell-1085-PanelBody
5. Set up a system message: https://help.aspendiscovery.org/help/admin/systemslocations#Cell-1086-PanelBody
A helpful blog post had been written in 2020 to assist libraries in completely shutting down libraries. Please refer to this blog post for related information
Preparing for Library Closures
Alternatively - How to Open a Branch in Koha and Aspen
We also have documentation on how to create a new branch in Koha:
Monday Minutes: Creating a New Branch in Koha
And also how to add a new branch in Aspen Discovery:
Aspen Weekly: Adding a Bookmobile or Outreach Location
Read more by Kelly McElligott