Age Protection allows libraries to prevent holds on new books (on a copy by copy basis) from outside the owning library's branch or system for a designated amount of time. The purpose of this is to give the library's local patrons a chance to check out the new book before sending it off to other libraries. Libraries typically use this feature for popular fiction, but may also choose to use it for any or all other new books.
Each item (copy) has an "age_protect" flag which may be set to 3 month, 6 month, or None:
If set to “3 month” and the item was created less than 3 months ago, the item is only holdable by patrons whose home library matches the circulating library of the copy. (Note: The system interprets 3 months as 90 days.) After 3 months, the item will automatically roll over to 6 month age protection.
If “6 month” is set and the item is less than 6 months old, the item is only holdable by patrons whose home library is within the same system as the circulating library of the item. (Note: The system interprets 6 months as 180 days.) After 6 months is over, the item will no longer be age protected and holds may be placed on it from any PINES location, but the age_protect flag will still appear as "6 month."
If age protect is set to None, then no age protection occurs and the holds can be placed on the item from any PINES location.