The Carroll County Public Library system has announced it will stop its telephone notification services as of Dec. 31 this year.
The notification system will be replaced with one that sends out the information via email or text message, and for those who do not prefer those methods, via regular mail.
For library cardholders looking to update their preferences, changes can be made at any library branch or by calling 410-386-4488.
“The telephone notification system was aging, and the technology for replacement on that was very costly,” said Lisa Picker, CCPL director of communications, this week. “At the same time, we have email notifications as well as text notifications that we offer with direct links in order for folks to be able to renew right at that time and get notifications when their holds are available through those messages.
“We are encouraging folks to switch over to the text or email notifications,” she said.
Picker said the change is following trends in other industries and retail markets, citing text message notifications for prescriptions as an example.
But for those who do not have access to those methods, the notifications will go out via U.S. Postal Service mail delivery.
“We also offer for folks who may not have a mobile phone, or the very small portion of folks who may not have an email address they will still get a notification by direct mail,” said Picker.
Library staff have been spreading the word over the past six months for cardholders to update their information in preparation for the changes, and have been instructed to ask people as they check out what their communication preferences are to make sure they are correct.
“We have reached quite a few folks,” said Picker. “There are still some folks we haven’t seen in that period, and if we do have an email on their file we will switch over to that method for them. [If we don’t], we will be going to mailing.
“That would mean the first time they place something on hold or had something that was overdue, they would receive a piece of mail,” the communications director said, “and that would have the information on it, telling them about how to update their notification method.”
The worst case scenario, she said, is that cardholders will receive a piece of mail and later update their communication preferences — but there are still people who prefer communication via physical mail.
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“That’s just how they prefer to receive communication,” Picker said. “We will continue offering that service now.”