Homeschooling and Libraries

Things I'm thinking about and learning while working with homeschoolers and writing Helping Homeschoolers in the Library for ALA Editions.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Library Elf

In a recent discussion with Maureen Wittmann about homeschoolers and libraries, I realized that one of the nicest things we could do for our computer-savvy homeschooling patrons would be to tell them about the Library Elf. If you don't know about the Elf, it's an excellent service for families who do a lot of borrowing and/or have multiple cards. Basically, you set up the Elf account to send you a daily email or RSS that summarizes the current state of your library account(s) in one nice, tidy email. So let's say you have four kids: you can get all of the books from the four kids' cards as well as the two parents' cards in one summary. If you prefer, you can get individual summaries for each card. Each summary includes the status of holds, overdues, and then a nice list of what you have checked out in the order that it's due. I've been using the Elf for a year or more now, and I'd recommend it to any heavy borrower.


  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Nancy C. Brown said…

    What a fantastic idea! I just e-mailed my library, as they are not connected, and this would be such a helpful service to me.

    Thanks for letting me know about it!

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger Deb said…

    Oh, that's wonderful! I can't wait to use that as soon as we get up to Rochester in a couple of weeks. I hadn't heard of that, but it's so important.

    I have what I try to be an iron-clad rule about the library books going in one certain place in the house, but I'm always logging on to the various accounts to see what is outstanding. This will be really helpful. Thanks. Maybe I should let the email list know about it?

  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger Adrienne said…

    I think it's a great idea to put it on the email list. I would think a lot of people would find it useful. I mean, I'm at the library every day, and I only have my own account to keep track of -- but it's helped me tremendously. For people with kids, it seems to me like it would be such a huge time-saver.

    Nancy, I hope they get your system hooked up! Way to be proactive, too, letting them know. :)

  • At 10:01 AM, Blogger Mary Ann said…

    Thanks for mentioning this. I had never heard of it. If my library system doesn't belong, I will ask them to check into it.


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