Material Recovery with Preferred Names

Material Recovery with Preferred Names

Lately, Unique staff have received many inquiries about preferred names, and whether Unique can use a patron’s preferred name or legal name only.

Although we recommend submitting new patron accounts with their legal names, Unique can still open and pursue an account with a preferred name. Unique will always use the name that is submitted from the library’s ILS, whether that be the legal name or preferred name.

Another common question is: how does using a preferred name impact Unique’s skip tracing efforts? Unique’s skip tracing process works to find a patron based on multiple first names, previous addresses, and last known phone number and email address.

During our skip tracing efforts, through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database with the USPS and/or LexisNexis, we will find whatever name(s) the patron is using to forward mail. For example, someone named Ronald might also be found under Ron and/or Ronnie. If Ronald is using one of his preferred names (Ron or Ronnie) to receive mail from the USPS, Unique will be able to pick up on the preferred name(s) and any updated contact information, and mail will be delivered to the address regardless of the name on the envelope.

The same thing applies to Unique’s email and phone correspondence as well. Those notices will be addressed to the patron name that comes over from the library’s ILS in the submission file, regardless of whether it is a preferred name or legal name.

In other words, it does not matter whether Unique receives a patron’s legal name or preferred name, we will still have the ability to do our part in helping with material recovery collections.

If you have any questions, feel free to email your rep or