[IUG] Library Elf
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I am wondering if anyone has had a chance to look at Library Elf?
It might be new to some of you because, currently (and this is from the Library Elf site http://www.libraryelf.com/FAQ.aspx#affiliation):
" If your library is a Polaris PowerPac (v3.2 or later) or a Dynix library system (Classic or Horizon; excluding Java-based Dynix WebPAC), send the name of the library and its URL to request @ libraryelf.com. Also if you would, please tell us how you found our site in your note, thanks!
Libraries are usually added within a day or two and if all goes well, will be shown on here.
Other library systems are still in beta for various reasons."
Basically, Library Elf lets you control when and how you receive notifications about your library account. How does it do this? When you sign up for a Library Elf account you provide them with your library card number and PIN number. After setting up an account, and logging in, I am shown a page that lists pertinent information about my library account (holds ready to pickup, holds about to expire) and totals of notices sent to me (overdue notices, advance notices and other notices). I can choose to receive these via email or RSS and I can also receive some notifications via text message. I also have the option of adding multiple library accounts, if I happen to use multiple libraries. Since I provided my library account number and PIN I can only assume that it is briefly logging into my library account, pulling the relevant data it needs to generate notifications, and then logging out.
Our patrons are currently not able to use Library Elf. But, our neighbor down the road (a III library) is listed as a beta test library on the Library Elf site (I have spoken to them about their experiences being a beta site and I will let them elaborate for the list if they wish). I was able to test it out using my account from our neighbor.
I have very mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I think it is great and I am sure patrons would love it. They are always requesting more control over how we communicate with them and this provides it. On the other hand, this scares me a bit precisely because it isn't us communicating with the patron directly, but through a third party that we don't control or really have any affiliation with. The big red flag for me is reading history. Our library neighbor doesn't currently use the Reading History feature but we do. So if Library Elf decides to use us as a beta site, and our patrons who save their reading history turn over their account number and PIN to Library Elf, what does that mean? I can put up any number of warnings, disclaimers and notifications regarding reading history on my site for our patrons, but I can't control Library Elf.
I guess I am posting to this list because it appears that Library Elf is starting to try and add III libraries and I am wondering what others think.
Thanks for your time,
Digital Services Specialist/Systems Administrator
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbott Road
East Lansing, MI 48823