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What's New

This page describes the updates and enhancements.

For a list of libraries, go here.

Questions - the answer may be in the FAQ.

Consolidated www.libraryelf.org into the www.libraryelf.com

We’re have consolidated the www.libraryelf.org site into the www.libraryelf.com website. Going forward there is no more libraryelf.org website and both subscribers and non-subscriber libraries will use the same www.libraryelf.com website - although they will be functionally different.

Cell Phone Carriers

I-Wireless, Cricket, Hawaiian Telecom, Straight Talk subscribers may now receive text alerts for ready-for-pickup holds. To set up text alerts for these carriers, just sign into your Elf account and update your text alert Options. For list of carriers, see carriers.

Show your items out in your iCal calendar

Now you can see your items out in any iCal-based calendar such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and Apple iCal. This new feature is available for subscriber libraries and individual subscribers.

Sign into your Library Elf account and click "My Account". You will see an iCal icon . Copy the link from the icon (right click on the icon for Windows) and add it to your iCal calendar. Library Elf updates your iCal file on an ongoing basis so you should only need to do this once.

You should now see a note for your items out in your iCal calendar. If you click on the note you will get more details (depends on the view, you may need to go one more layer to get the details). The details shows a list containing the library, user and title of the items out.

Note: be careful that you copy the link of the iCal file rather than the file itself. Otherwise, your calendar won't be able to retrieve the latest updates.

Mail Server

Due to recent changes in our mail server, some of you may not be receiving your Library Elf reminder notices. If you think this is the case, then it is necessary for you to check that your Elf email is getting through. You can do this by going to the Elf website and email yourself your Elf password

If you don't receive an email containing your password within a short time, then your Library Elf reminder notice won't be able to get to your regular mailbox either. It may be going into your junk folder. Try adding elf@libraryelf.com to your address book, whitelist, or safe senders list and try again.

If you still don't receive the email and you are an Elf subscriber or your library has subscribed to Library Elf, then you have the option of using RSS to receive your notices (see RSS for more information).

If you are not receiving your email and your account is the free basic account you can try using a different email account such as Gmail.

The last time that Elf emailed you is displayed on the Welcome page right after you log in.

Turn Book Suggestion Off

Premium Elf account holders can now turn off displaying the suggested book in their email, RSS and Daily Snapshot. Please note that this feature is not available with the free Basic Service accounts.

To turn off the book suggestion, log into your Elf account, go to My Account and edit your options. One of the options is a check box labeled "Turn book suggestion off". Check that box and click the Save button. Now, when you get your email/RSS reminders or view your Daily Snapshot, no suggestion will be present.

Subscription Based Service

Starting in 2009, Library Elf moved to a subscription based service. There will still be a basic pre-due email reminder service that is free. For new users, the subscription system started Jan 1/09. For existing users the subscription system will start Jan 23/09. See below for more information on this.

We realize that this is a big change after Library Elf has been totally free for the last five years. But costs have gone up and the number of users has gone way up - requiring much more support, a new server and higher bandwidth. The ad model was not enough to support the increasing costs and be a viable business.

A lot of libraries now have pre-due email reminder notices. Check to see if yours does. If so, we encourage you to use theirs instead of ours. (If you do use theirs, please log in and delete your Elf account. Thanks.)

New users can sign up and receive a free trial at the premium service level. The trial period is for three weeks or after having sent six notices - whichever is longer. You can subscribe at any time to maintain this premium level of service. Just log into your Elf account and click the Subscribe button.

If the new user does not subscribe, their reminders will automatically be converted to the basic service level. This level is limited to a single card with only email reminders of pre-due and overdue items. This service level is free.

Existing users will be given a grace period of six more notices before having to decide whether to subscribe or not. If you do nothing then your service will automatically convert to the free basic service level. However, if you want to continue the premium service you need to subscribe. Sign into your Elf account and click the Subscribe button.

When the subscription system for existing users starts on Jan 23/09, you will be given six more premium notices. During that time, you can log into your Elf account and click the Subscribe button to subscribe for the year.

Some libraries have subscribed to Library Elf. They will have the "subscriber" designation after their name. For those Elf users, you don't have to do anything. No subscription is required and you can continue to use Library Elf as before. If, however, your account also contains non-subscriber libraries, then you will need to subscribe to Elf to include those non-subscriber libraries in your account.

Some libraries are still in beta testing. There is no charge to continue using the premium service for those libraries.

Some libraries do not appear on the list of libraries but may appear in your Elf account. These are beta test libraries that we currently have no plans to support in the future. There is no charge to continue using these libraries but be aware that if the library changes their system such that Elf is unable to connect to your library account, we will have to stop monitoring it.

Sign into your Elf account and subscribe today!

Daily Snapshot

There is a new web page called the Daily Snapshot that shows you the results the last time Elf processed your library cards. You can bookmark this web page to make it easier to check the status of your library items.

This unique web page is generated daily by Elf when it processes your account. You should not give this URL out to anyone.

The URL to the Daily Snapshot page can be found in youy Elf email notice (under the calendar). You can also find the URL on the Welcome page when you sign into your Elf account.

It is a good idea to check your Daily Snapshot page once in a while to ensure that Elf is processing your library cards correctly. Libraries that are still under beta testing should be checked more often.

New Format

Due to increasingly aggressive spam filters blocking Elf email notices from reaching users, a new email format has been introduced. The new format will show only the items about to come due, items that are overdue or holds that are waiting for pickup or are about to expire.

Your email notice contains a link to a web page that displays the complete status of your library account(s). This web page is updated daily and contains the links to your library's catalog and home page.

New - Due Date Text Alert

A new text alert feature has been added. The feature combines text alert and email notification -- on the due day only reminder -- it's basically a 'last-minute' reminder.

Text alerts are short and basically lets the user know that something is due. Details on what's due are in the email notice and one would just need to check their email (or sign into your Elf account) for more information on what's due.

To receive text alerts you'll need to update your Options (list of carriers).

Suggested by IR.

Cell Phone Carriers

Cellular One, SaskTel, Cellcom, Virgin Mobile Canada, MetroPCS subscribers may now receive text alerts for ready-for-pickup holds. If this is for you, just update your Options. Other carriers?

Suggested by PC, TM, E, HC and JW.

Polaris Library Systems

Support for Polaris PowerPac (v3.2 or later) has improved.

We are able to add and maintain Polaris Powerpac (V3.2 or later) libraries better and more easily than before.

To add a Polaris-based library, send the name of the library and its URL to request @ libraryelf.com. Also to satisfy our curiousity, kindly mention how you found Elf.

Libraries are usually added within a day or two. If all goes well, it will be shown on the List of Libraries page.

Polaris Library Systems

Change in RSS Feeds

We've changed the way Library Elf generates the RSS feed link to give Elf users more control. When you change your Library Elf password, your RSS feed link changes as well.

If your current Library Elf RSS link has been made public and you want to change this, login to your Elf account and change your password. This automatically changes the RSS link. You will need to put this new RSS link into your feedreader, otherwise you won't be able to view your Library Elf RSS feed. Note that if this new RSS link were to be published, then others may be able to view your feed again.

It's important to note that some public RSS aggregator service may treat RSS feeds public even if you have set your profile to private. This means your RSS feeds may be viewable by others even if you have set your profile to private. Users using public RSS aggregator services might want to try doing a search in their systems to see if their Elf RSS feed has been made public. If you do not want your RSS feeds public, unsubscribe your Elf RSS feed and specify email only delivery.

Update - 6/6/05
Release 1.0

Released version 1.0. This release is for the core functionality of the system: advance, overdue and hold notices delivered via email, RSS and browser. Note that although the core software has been released, only the Dynix-based libraries are out of beta. Libraries using other systems will continue to be in beta while the communication protocol between Elf and these libraries is monitored for reliability.

A note of thanks to everyone testing the system, particularly to the individuals and libraries who requested that their library be put on Elf. Thanks also to the users who sent in comments and suggestions. Many thanks as well to the users and libraries who share and help promote Elf.

New - 5/11/05
Holds Not Ready Yet

In addition to Holds that are Ready for Pickup, Elf now lists holds that you have requested but are not yet ready to be picked up. This list consolidates the holds from all of the libraries and library cards in your Elf account. Note that this feature does not work for all libraries.

Items in the list are sorted in priority by it's placement in the library's queue. If the library doesn't display this queue information, Elf displays the hold status message given by the library. "In Transit" holds will generally be listed at the top of the list, followed by "place 1", "place 2", etc. in the queue order. You can also sort this list by (clicking) library, patron, title or status.

Note that an item appearing at the top of the queue doesn't necessarily mean that the item will ready for pickup ahead of an item further down the queue. (This is because hold readiness would depend on other factors, i.e. the number of copies in circulation at the library.) Still, by following this Holds Requested list, you will get some idea of how fast your hold is "bubbling up" through the list and eventually moving onto the Holds Ready list.

Report any bugs or to comment - Feedback form.

Feature suggested by D.L., J.C., A.S. and K.T


The Welcome screen is a new website feature. When you sign into your account, the Welcome page will be displayed. The page serves two purposes: (1) it informs you about the current activties of your account and (2) it gives you a way of going directly to your My Account page without Elf first scanning your library accounts.

The information on this page shows various statistics about your account such as, total emails sent, number of advance due notices, number of overdue notices and other interesting metrics (such as when your Elf account was created).

Feature suggested by R.A., P.S. and C.Z.

Delivery Method

Want reminder notices only via RSS feed? With this new feature, you will now have the ability to specify the method of delivery to received the information generated by Elf. You can receive the information by email, RSS or RSS and email.

Previously, the RSS feed delivered only a condensed version of what was in the email. However, because you can now receive RSS without the email, RSS reminder notices has been changed so that both the RSS and email versions deliver the same full information.

Feature suggested by K.T. and B.B.

Holds - library hours

Received a ready-for-pickup hold notice but not sure what time the library closes? Click on the (hours) link in your email reminder notice to bring up the library's hours of operation page. Note that with some libraries, you may need to click on the branch to get this information.

Feature suggested by M.M. and A.J.

Time Zone

Daily checking has been improved so that dates (and reminder notices) are according to where one is located (that is, relevant to one's time zone).

International users will be able to see the effects of this update the most. For example, if you are a user in NZ, the dates in your notices will be NZ's calendar date, if you are in the UK, your dates will be UK's, etc.

Suggested by J.C., S.H., E.B.

Advance Notice Enhancement

The Advance Notice feature has been updated to include daily reminder -- for anyone who prefer to receive an email reminder notice every day.

Note, both email and RSS feeds will be updated daily if 'every day' reminders is selected.

Enhancement sugguested by J.Y.

Advance Notice Enhancement

The Advance Notice feature has been updated to include a reminder notice on the due date, if necessary.

This is a second reminder (initial reminder notice sent before items were due) and will be sent only if items show up as due on the due date. It's just-in-case, a reminder is necessary and the last chance for one to renew or return the item.

Enhancement suggested by M.G.

RSS Feed

You may now get Elf reminders by an RSS feed. It works in parallel with your email notices. If you check the RSS option on, a feed will be generated whenever an email notice is sent.

To activate your RSS feed, go to My Account (located at the left side of screen). Click on the Options tab. Then in the RSS Feed section, check the box to activate the feed.

Note, your RSS password is not the same as your Elf account password.

Should you decide to give out your RSS password, give it to only those individuals you would like to view your feed.

There are many RSS readers to choose from and this feature has been tested on several readers. News readers that support RSS 2.0 should work.

RSS feeds suggested by D.L. and L.J.

Report any bugs or to comment - Feedback form.

Calendar Enhancement

Calendar has been modified -- popup on "Due" dates to show all titles that are due.

Hover your mouse over "Due" date to see the titles due on that date. Click the "Due" date to bring up the library login page.

Note, this feature has been tested only on Outlook Express. Other emailers and browsers may not function in the same manner. For example, Netscape and Mozilla browsers displays a single line of text. Mac users will see the Calendar without the hover feature, however.

Suggested by S.B. and B.T.

Page for Bestseller Links

A page for links to some of the popular bestseller lists and reviews has been added.

Suggestion from J.T.

Text Messages Hold Alerts

Elf now does text message alerts for holds when the hold is ready for pickup. If the hold is not yet picked up and about to expire, a second text message alert will be sent.

Note: To receive text message hold alerts, you would need to have access (subscription) to mobile phone service which accepts text messages. As well, you should be aware that your carrier may charge a fee for text messaging. Check with your carrier for rates.

To sign up for text message hold alerts, go to My Account (located at the left side of screen). Click on the Options tab. Then in the Text Message Alerts section, enter your cell phone number and select your carrier.

(Remember - to access My Account, you will need to Sign-in.)

Feature suggested by W.L.


Introducing Elf's latest feature - calendar - a visual way for you to look at your circulation info. Up to three months may be shown with the relevant dates for dues, overdues and holds noted.

Hold expiry dates are in blue. Due, not yet due or overdue dates are shown in various shades of red. For instance, not yet dues are in dull red while overdues and dues closest to current day are a brighter red.

Feature suggested by R.A.

Differentiate New Dues, Overdues or Holds

Items appearing for the first time in Due, Overdue or Holds are highlighted with color.

Note, feature implemented for email notices only.

Initial spark for this feature from C.W. who wanted an easy way in determining the purpose of the email notice.

Sign Up Form
Updated Sign Up form: allow users, while signing up, to edit library card info if needed.
New Features, URL
Email Notices for Holds (ready for pickup)

Elf now does Holds notices; when items are ready for pickup, you can choose to receive an email notice. If the item is not picked up by the second to the last pickup date, Elf will send a second reminder notice. The default setting for this option is Once (although it could actually be twice).

Beside Once, None or Repeat may be specified instead.

Select None for no reminders (useful for anyone who do not need or want to be notified of holds).

Select Repeat for 'squeeky wheel' reminder notices.

Note, if you did not receive a hold notice and should have, submit a bug report so that the problem can be addressed.

Feature suggested by G.C.

Weekly Reminders

Weekly notices was suggested by a library customer who routinely visited the library on a weekly basis and wanted to have weekly notices (rather than having notices just before items come due). It was also suggested by another user that weekly reminders could be used as a way to help pace one's reading (the notice would serve to remind one of how much time is left).

If you prefer weekly reminders, go to My Account, click the Options options tab and select the day you want from the Advance Notice dropdown box.

New URL - www.libraryelf.com

Effective immediately, a new and easier to remember web address -- www.libraryelf.com.

Please update your bookmarks and spam or message filtering software (the domain libraryelf.com may need to be added to your list of trusted senders).

Send comments, suggestions and bug reports by completing the Feedback .


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