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08-19 Bad Patron Barcodes

Bad Patron Barcodes


In the Polaris Manual, within the Patron Services section, D 2: Registering a Patron includes instructions for patron barcodes. The steps state “Begin by scanning or entering the barcode from the library card in the Barcode field.”

BCCLS patron barcodes should begin with the number 2 and be 14 digits long. Using letters or names in the barcode field is prohibited. Barcode fields should be populated with 14 numbers that can be scanned at any BCCLS library.  


It is good practice to check to be sure that your barcode fields are complete. Occasionally the following can happen:

  • Staff accidentally enters a name (or address) in the barcode field.

  • If a card is scanned too quickly, only part of the barcode number registers, leaving an incomplete barcode field. If part of the barcode number is picked up twice by the scanner, the barcode will be too long. Sometimes there are even words, names, or alphanumeric codes in the patron barcode field.

  • Staff accidentally scans a book barcode (or ISBN) in the barcode field.


 Inconsistent patron barcodes can be troublesome:

  • If the patron’s name were typed in the barcode field, or the entry in the barcode field is inconsistent with the number on the physical card in any other way, then the card issued to the patron would not scan.

  • If there is a common name in the barcode field, then another patron might be able to gain access to the patron’s card more easily.

  • If there is a common name in the barcode field, another patron could use library computers by using that name to login through PCReservation.  


Discovering your library’s patron barcodes with extraneous letters is easy:

  1. Log in to LEAP

  2. Click on Find



3. In Patron search, change “Name” to Barcode using the drop-down menu


4. Type * followed by a letter of the alphabet then followed by * (start with a* and go through the entire alphabet to z* repeating the steps below for each letter)

5. Click the funnel icon (search filter)

6. Click Add Condition

7. Change “All keyword fields” to Patron’s registered library

8. Select your library from the drop-down menu

9. Click Apply

10. Click the magnifying glass to search

11. Select a record with a bad barcode and either click Open or double click the record to open it (notice that some of these will start with PACREG which are online registration barcodes and likely can be ignored)

12. Click Registration

13. Decide whether to delete the record (as per your library’s practice for expired or inactive patrons) or correct/replace the barcode

14. Click Delete on the right hand side to delete the record, or

15. In the Barcode field, replace the bad barcode with the corrected/replacement barcode (ensure the patron’s barcode on their physical card exactly matches the one you’ve entered) and click Save

16. Click Results (do NOT click “Close”) to go back to your search screen and proceed with the next letter


Note: If you’d prefer to create a record set and clean up the barcodes later, instead of steps 11-16, simply select all the records retrieved for each letter search and click Add To Record Set then once it’s cleanup time, follow steps 11-15 from within the record set for each record, clicking Close after each one is dealt with.


Discovering your library’s patron barcodes that are not 14 digits is also easy:

  1. Open the Barcodes Gone Bad tip

  2. For Excel sorting, in step 1, change “Items > Item list reports” to Patrons > Patron list reports and the columns for output to Patron barcode, along with any other columns you’d like to display (e.g. Patron code, Patron full name, etc.)

  3. In step 2, change “Assigned branch” to Patron branch (within Patron general filters)

  4. Follow steps 3-5 to use Excel to review and clean up your patron barcodes instead of item barcodes, sorting by Patron Barcode instead of “Item Barcode” when necessary

  5. Skip step 6, and in step 7, you will be correcting/replacing or deleting patron barcodes (ignore the mention of “collections” here) depending on your library’s practice for expired or inactive patrons

  6. For Record Set sorting, in step 2, change “Create item record set from report results” to Create patron record set from report results

  7. Follow steps 3-7 to use the record set to review and clean up your patron barcodes instead of item barcodes

  8. In steps 8-9, change “item record” to patron record and make sure that you are in Registration when making barcode changes (ignore step 10 as duplicate patron records are handled differently than duplicate item records)

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