Texts alert users when library books are available

No longer will eager readers have to wonder when their favorite books or a new release are available at their local library. Libraries across the country are joining the digital outgoing communications trend with technology that allows them to text readers about their library accounts.

The free service alerts users when items they have on hold become available and when their books are overdue or due soon, according to the City of Hayward Library system in California. Users also have the ability to send mobile commands to the library for basic account functions, such as renewing items and showing a current list of overdue items.

Nearly every text-capable phone can participate in the program in Hayward by sending messages to a designated email address. Android phones, BlackBerrys, and Apple iPhones can also participate.

A similar program was recently implemented in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and many community members are signing up for the text message alerts, according to the Weymouth News.

College libraries are also benefiting from text alert systems. Yale University's science libraries have started their "Txt a Science Librarian" program, which allows users to send texts to library staff for help with science-related academic research, questions on how to use the library and the information needs of students, faculty and staff. The service is free of charge.

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