February 03, 2005

Library card monitoring

If you're like me, you check out way more books and magazines and videos and comics and CDs and things from the library than you could ever be expected to actually consume in the time allotted, let alone keep track of and remember to return.

Of course it's the library, so it's free, so the over-consumption thing is fine if you can just manage that "remember to return" part. This is complicated by the inexplicable need of library management software to present your checked out items to you in any order other than the order the items are due in.

I wrote a little script to mine the checked out items for my family's cards, sort them by due date and send me email every day. It was great.

Then my library changed their software. I was starting to try to figure out how to make it work again and I saw this post at 43 Folders.

The library ELF absolutely rocks. You create an account with them and you can enter all your different library cards and it will send you email when you have books coming due or have holds ready to pick up. And not just email, they also do SMS and RSS.

They have a growing list of libraries they know how to talk to, and they're incredibly responsive to requests for new libraries. They didn't have mine and had added it in less than 24 hours from receiving my request. It's flagged as a beta service, but it's worked flawlessly for me. I've made a couple of requests for feature tweaks, and those too were acted on almost immediately.

If you're an avid library user this is a great service. If you're responsible for a family of avid library users, you won't know how you lived without it.

Posted by jeffy at February 3, 2005 10:04 PM

I checked out the FAQ and the privacy policy of
libraryelf, and it appears that their hearts are in
the right place when it comes to privacy. In the
FAQ they state that they do not keep past records of
your activity at any library, because the US Patriot
act can be used to obtain those records.

Posted by: Dan L at February 7, 2005 01:13 PM