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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions
Subscription Questions
Privacy-related Questions
Sign up-related Questions
Email Reminder Notice-related Questions
Technology-related Questions
My Account-related Questions

For a list of libraries on Elf, go to here.

For info on updates and new features, check What's New.

General Questions
- What does Elf do?
- Would I be able to check my cards as well as my kids?
- What is a PIN?
- Is Elf affiliated with any library?
- Can you add my library?
- Why are some libraries beta?
- Why did my library go off beta?
- Can I use Elf to renew my library items?
- I returned my book but it's showing up as not returned, why?
- How do I know if my card is online?
- What is a block?
Subscription Questions
- What part of Elf is still free?
- How do I subscribe?
- How do I tell if my library has subscribed to Elf?
- Do I have to subscribe if I donated to Elf before?
- My account has subscribed libraries in it. So why does the subscribe button show up?
- When the free Premium Service trial ends, will I stop getting my notices from Elf?
- How do I get the library to subscribe so I can get the Premium Service for free?
- My library does not subscribe to Library Elf. What do I need to do to get Premium features for my cards?
- Can I have subscribed libraries and one non-subscribed library in my Elf account for free?
- Some of my cards in Elf say "subscription required". Do I have to delete them before using the free service?
- Which libraries allow me to have the multi-card Premium Service for free?
- What is the difference between Basic and Premium Service?
- My library has subscribed to Library Elf. Do I get to use the Premium Service features?
- I've just signed up for the Premium Service. Can you recap the Premium Account features?
Privacy-related Questions
- Will you sell or share my email address?
- What about my privacy?
- With respect to privacy, is a record (history) of the titles kept?
- Is Elf affected by the US Patriot Act?
Sign up-related Questions
- Is there a demo so that I can see how Elf works?
- What do I need to sign up for an Elf account?
- What are the steps for creating an Elf account?
- I'd like to sign up but only have one of the cards, can I add the rest later?
- What are the reminder options initially set to?
- Can I send notices to my home and work email addresses?
- A few weeks after signing up, my account was suspended. What happened?
Email Reminder Notice-related Questions
- My email notices have stopped arriving. What could have happened?
- Every so often my email notice arrives later than usual, why is that?
- What if my email notice doesn't look right?
- We visit the library once a week. Can I get weekly reminder notice?
- If my email notice doesn't arrive, am I responsible for any overdue fines?
- I'd like 'squeeky wheel' reminders of my overdues, can I?
- I don't use or reserve any holds. How do I turn off holds?
Technology-related Questions
- What email software does Elf work on?
- What browsers does Elf work on?
- How does one create an RSS feed?
- What cell carriers can text hold alerts be sent to?
- How do I activate my iCal link?
- Any plans for a mobile-friendly version of Elf? Yes!
- My library has a new library system. What do I need to do to get my card working again?
- My library now requires a PIN (password). How do I get a PIN?
My Account-related Questions
- How do I fix an "offline" card?
- How do I change my account information?
- I've lost my password. What can I do?
- How do I change my advance notice option?
- How do I change my overdue notice option?
- How do I change my hold notice option?
- How do I change my Elf account password?
- How do I update my library card information?
- I have a new card. What must I do next?
- I've changed email addresses. How do I update my email address?
- How do I add or update my Cc email address?
- I've changed my cell provider and have a new number. How do I update this?
- I no longer need text alerts and was wondering how do I turn off text alerts?
- I'm going on vacation. How do I suspend delivery of my notices?
- How do I turn off suspend and resume checking?
- How do I add a library card?
- How do I delete a library card I no longer need?
- How do I close my Elf account?
Version and Update Information
- What's New

 

General Questions

What does Elf do? [ Top ]

Elf is an Internet-based tool for keeping track of what's due, overdue and ready for pickup. Users can keep track of one or more library accounts in one place and receive reminders (sometimes called pre-overdue or early notification). Reminders are sent when the user wants it -- before items are due (up to seven days advance notice, weekly notice or everyday reminders). For families or anyone who'd like reminders before an item is due (user-selectable number of days notice). If Elf is for you, sign up for an account.

Would I be able to check my cards as well as my kids? [ Top ]
*Multiple card checking is one of the main features of Elf's Premium Service. Just enter all the library cards under a single Elf account. This feature is handy in a busy household where everyone in the family takes out many and all types of library material, then relies on mom or dad to return them on time.

* One card, one library. One card registered at a number of libraries? Your card basically functions as 'multiple library cards' in one card ('one card' systems). "One card" systems are convenient as it lets a user register his/her "home" library card with other libraries. These libraries are independent of each other and are checked library separately.

What is a PIN? [ Top ]

An acronym for Personal Identification Number, PINs are used to authenticate you when you sign into your library account. All libraries have their own PIN requirements. Many use the last four digits of the cardholder's phone number and/or cardholder name. Other libraries give cardholder the option of specifying and changing PINs. While some libraries, do not use or require PINs.

Elf does not have an automatic Change My Library PIN feature. If your library permits user-specifiable PINs, change the PIN from within your library account.

Note that anytime you change the PIN in your library account, you'll need to update your library card PIN setting in your Elf account. If your PIN information in your Elf account is not updated, Elf cannot check your card.

For more info on your library's login requirements, check your library website (to bring up your library website in your browser, go to List of Librariess and click on the library name). Or the next time you're in the library, ask the library for more information.

Is Elf affiliated with any library? [ Top ]
Elf is independently-run and not affiliated or associated with any schools or libraries.
Can I add my library? [ Top ]

If your library system 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 through our Feedback Form. Also if you would, please tell us how you found our site in your note, thanks!

If it's any other type of library and you are from the library, please read about subscribing to Elf.

Why are some libraries designated as beta? [ Top ]

These libraries are designated beta because the communication protocol between these libraries and Elf requires more monitoring and testing. (During beta, there is no charge to use the library at the Premium Service level.)

If your reminder notices are not arriving as it should, send us a note. Be sure to say what reminder notice was missed as well as send the name of the library you are using.

If processing the library is determined to be not reliable enough, the library may be removed from Elf. If the beta testing goes well, the library will be moved from beta to release.

Why did my library go off beta? [ Top ]

Unfortunately, libraries cannot stay in beta indefinitely. At some point, the library will have had sufficient testing and be ready for release. On release, the library will be the same as other released libraries and have two levels of service: Basic Service (free) or Premium Service (subscription).

Basic Service is free, however, it is limited to one card* and has less features. Premium Service has more features (including multi-card montioring) and is available for a modest yearly subscription ($12 for one card, $20 for multiple cards). To learn more about the Basic and Premium Services and their features, see feature comparison.

When the library is released, Basic Service will be phased in. Premium Service continues until a user has received six Premium Service notices. There is no specific time limit as the time would depend on the user's usage of the library (for example, library users who use the library a lot generally will use up their notices faster than someone who does not use the library often).

Users who want to continue using Premium Service features, please sign up for the Premium Service subscription (sign into your Elf account then click the Subscribe button to start the subscription process). Users who'd like Basic Service do not need to do anything as your Elf account will be converted to the free Basic account after your six notices has been sent.

* One card, one library.
One card registered at a number of libraries? Your card basically functions as 'multiple library cards' in one card ('one card' systems). "One card" systems are convenient as it lets a user register his/her "home" library card with other libraries. These libraries are independent of each other and are checked library separately.

Can I use Elf to renew my library items? [ Top ]
Elf does not have a renew feature. However, to bring up your library's login page in your browser, click on the due date of your reminder notice.
I returned my book but it's showing up as not returned, why? [ Top ]

Keep in mind that returns need to processed in order for the items to be checked back into the library system. Processing and check-in depends on the library (check with your library to learn more about their check-in procedures). This aside, some things (volume, holidays, interlibrary returns, outdoor bins, etc.) could be factors.

It's also important to reminder that the information in your notices reflects the info and status of your library account at the time your account was checked. Information in notices will out-of-date as soon as there are changes to your library account.

To see if your items have been checked back into the library catalog since your notice was sent, go to your library website and log into your library account. (Subscriber users can also check via Elf for real-time checking -- sign into your Elf account and click Check My Cards; Elf will display a current listing of your items and holds when checking is done).

How do I know if my card is online? [ Top ]

If your card is working, it will be listed as 'online'. If your card is not working, it will be 'offline'. If the card is not working, it's probably because the card was not activated*, is no longer valid or the card may have been blocked.

To verify that your card is active and works, go to your library's login page and try logging into your library account. (Links to library home pages may be found here, List of Libraries page - click on the library name.)

If the login doesn't work and you get an error message (i.e. login failed, invalid card or PIN, etc.), you will need to get the card checked out by the library.

When your card is working, sign into your Elf account and update the card Status to Online (info on updating card Status may be found here).

* Some libraries require new card holders to 'activate' the card before it can be used. Activation may also be needed if the library upgrades to a new system.

What is a block? [ Top ]

Blocks are put in place by the library. Aside from the obvious (too many overdues or too much fines), your card may have been blocked because it may need to be renewed (cards remain active as long as the card hasn't expired).

To remove the block, you'll need to get your card checked by the library. (Depends on the library, some libraries permit cards to be renewed by phone while others may want you to go into the library.)

Once you've removed the block on your card, you'll need to update the card's Status setting to Online to resume checking for the card.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click Add or Edit link or the Library Cards tab.
3. Click the Edit icon Edit (on right side) of the library card you want to edit.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
    When you save the changes, Elf will try checking your card.
- If checking is successful, the card Status will be updated to 'Online'.
- If checking is unsuccessful, then review the error message that Elf displays and try logging into your library directly to verify your login parameters.
Once you have the correct values, try updating your card again.

Why does Elf turn off checking? Checking cards that don't work takes up computer resources (the library's and Elf's).

Subscription Questions

What part of Elf is still free? [ Top ]
Email reminders (for items out only) on a single card are still free. For more information on Basic Service and Premium Service, click here.
How do I subscribe? [ Top ]

For existing users, sign into your Elf account and click the subscribe button. If no subscribe button appears then your account does not require a subscription in order to use the Premium Service. If you have or need to add a library card which requires a subscription, then click the subscribe link in the "Add Card" page.

For new users, sign up for the free trial. After sign up is complete, sign into your Elf account. A subscribe button will appear if Elf determines that a subscription is necessary.

The subscription price is applied to non-subscriber libraries.

Importante Note: One card, one library. One card registered at a number of libraries? Your card basically functions as 'multiple library cards' in one card ('one card' systems). "One card" systems are convenient as it lets a user register his/her "home" library card with other libraries, however, these libraries are separate and independent systems. When you go into Library A your card is a Library A library card. When you go into Library B your card becomes Library B's library card.

How do I tell if my library has subscribed to Elf? [ Top ]

The library will have the "subscriber" designation after its name in the list of libraries and in your Elf account card list.

Not all libraries subscribe to Elf, however, and these libraries have the word 'non-subscriber' after its name.

Users with non-subscriber library cards have use of the free Basic Service (Basic is free, however, limited to *one card and has less features). Premium Service (multi-card monitoring and other features) is available for a small annual subscription. For more on Basic and Premium Service, click here.

Please note that a lot of libraries have a Library Elf link on their web site. This does not necessarily mean that they have subscribed to Elf. A lot of libraries have used Library Elf's service for free in the past. We have approached some of them about subscribing to Elf so their patrons would not have to. The libraries that agreed have the "subscriber" designation after their name.

* If you have one card but registered the card with other different libraries ('one card' systems), the card represents the various libraries you've registered the card at. One card systems are convenient as it lets a user register his/her "home" library card with other libraries. These libraries are independent, however, and Elf must check each library separately.

Do I have to subscribe if I donated to Elf before? [ Top ]
No. All Elf accounts, of user who donated in the past, were converted to the equivalent single or multi-card Premium yearly subscription. Those who were extra generous were given a longer subscription. Thank you very much for your generosity.
My account has subscribed libraries in it. So why does the subscribe button show up? [ Top ]
If your account only has subscriber libraries, then no subscribe button will show up and you won't be notified about subscribing. However, if your account also has non-subscribed libraries, then you will need to subscribe to include those libraries in your Elf account. Your subscription price is priced according to how many non-subscribed libraries in your account. Elf will not include the subscribed libraries in the subscription price.
When the free Premium Service trial ends, will I stop getting my notices from Elf? [ Top ]
No. Your Elf account will automatically be converted to the free Basic Service account. Elf will activate the first online card, however, and your other cards will not be monitored. These cards will be marked "subscription required". You do not need to delete these cards. Your account will work under this free Basic Service mode (cards marked 'subscription required' are left as is). You can subscribe at any time to get your 'subscription required' cards online or to add other non-subscriber library cards to your Elf account.
How do I get the library to subscribe so I can get the Premium Service for free? [ Top ]
Our subscription fee for libraries is significantly lower than what commercial library software vendor charge to install a reminder service. You could politely ask your library if they might consider subscribing to Elf by pointing them to our web page on library subscription. We would provide them with a quote and usage statistics. We would also refund (prorated) any individual subscriptions once the library has subscribed.
My library does not subscribe to Library Elf. What do I need to do to get Premium features for my cards? [ Top ]

As you noted, not all libraries subscribe. If your library is not a subscriber library, you can subscribe to the Premium Service as an individual subscriber.

- Elf users with only non-subscriber library cards in their Elf account: sign into your Elf account, then click the Subscribe button to start the subscription process. (If you have more than one non-subscriber library cards, specify Multiple Cards before you click the Subscribe button.)

- Elf users with subscriber and non-subscriber library cards in their Elf account: click Add Card then click 'Subscribe for more libraries' (just below the 'list of libraries' dropdown box) to start the subscription process. Once you have subscribed, the list of libraries dropdown box will include non-subscriber libraries.

Note: If you have both subscriber and non-subscriber cards in your Elf account, your Premium subscription price is based only on the non-subscriber libraries.

Can I have subscribed libraries and one non-subscribed library in my Elf account for free? [ Top ]

Unfortunately, it's not possible to mix subscriber and non-subscriber libraries - without subscribing - because of the difference between Basic and Premium Services.

Either libraries or users can subscribe to the Premium Service. Users with non-subscriber library cards can sign up for Premium Service for their non-subscriber cards. (The subscription price is based only on the non-subscriber libraries.)

To sign up your non-subscriber cards for the Premium Service, click Add Card then click 'Subscribe for more libraries' (just below the 'list of libraries' dropdown box) to start the subscription process.

Once you have subscribed, the 'list of libraries' dropdown box will include non-subscriber libraries.

Some of my cards in Elf say "subscription required". Do I have to delete them before using the free service? [ Top ]
No. However, they will not be monitored by Elf until you subscribe. You can delete them if you want but it's not necessary.
Which libraries allow me to have the multi-card Premium Service for free? [ Top ]

Libraries with the "subscriber" or "beta"* designation after their names are free. Libraries that are marked "unsupported" are also free. However, these libraries will be removed when the library system stops working.

* Beta libraries have Premium Service for testing purposes. When a library has had sufficient testing, the library will be released (on release, the library no longer qualifies for free Premium Service). For more information on beta libraries, see beta. For information on released libraries, see released.

What is the difference between Basic Service and Premium Service? [ Top ]

Basic accounts are free, however, limited to one card*. Premium accounts has several features, including multi-library cards monitoring, and is available for a modest annual subscription.

Some libraries have subscribed to Elf as a service for their patrons. If your library is a subscriber library, you'll see the word "subscriber' after the library name. As a subscriber library user, you have the ability to set up any of Premium Service features if you'd wish.

If your library is a non-subscriber library and you'd like to have a Premium account you may individually subscribe to Premium Service. Premium Service features include the ability to monitor one or more cards, as well as having hold ready notices, RSS, Cc, real-time checking, etc. To subscibe, just sign into your Elf account then click the Subscribe button to start the subscription process. After subscribing, you'll be able to add your non-subscriber library card to your Elf account.

Basic Premium
Library cards allowed One card* One or more libraries
Customizable settings Pre-due All
Type of alerts - dues Pre-due and overdue Pre-due and overdue
Type of alerts - holds Not Available Holds ready and holds requested
Email format HTML HTML
Items summarized in Elf calendar Not Available Yes
RSS Not Available Yes
Text message alerts1 Not Available Yes2
iCal calendar Not Available Yes
Private Daily Snapshot web page Not Available Yes
Real-time checking by browser Not Available Yes
Cost (single card, one library) Free $12 USD/year
Cost (multiple libraries)* Not available $20 USD/year

1 US and Canada only
2 Alerts for holds ready and items due on the day

Note that whether you have a Basic account or Premium account, you can always update your account information whenever it becomes necessary. Just go to the Sign-in page then sign into your Elf account. For My Account FAQ, see My Account-related Questions.

Note on Betas: Libraries marked "beta" are a special case. There is no charge to use these libraries at the Premium Service level while the library is in beta. When the library has been sufficiently tested, the library will be released and available at the Basic or Premium account level.

* One card, one library.
One card registered at a number of libraries? Your card functions as 'multiple library cards' in one card (one card systems). "One card" systems are convenient as it lets a user register his/her "home" library card with other libraries. These libraries are not related (basically separate organizations) and each 'library card' is checked separately.

My library has subscribed to Library Elf. Do I get to use the Premium Service features? [ Top ]
Yes, your subscriber library cards will be set for Premium Service. If you'd like to use any of the Premium Service features, just sign into your Elf account and update your options.

Feature Help
one or more library cards1 add card
send me holds notice update my holds options
Cc my notices set up my Cc email addresses
send me text message alerts2
 
set up text alerts
(list of supported carriers)
RSS create RSS feed
iCal Calendar activate my iCal link

Other features that may come in handy are the "Check My Cards" tool and the Daily Snapshot.

"Check My Cards" is real-time checking by browser. If you click Check My Cards, Elf will check your cards and display a summary of your items and holds when checking is done. Check My Cards bascially lets you to see the current status of your items and holds when you want.

Daily Snapshot is a way to get a quick look ‘snapshot’ of one’s Elf account. It is a unique web page generated daily by Elf when it processes your account. If you want you can bookmark this web page to make it easier to check the status of your library items (do not give this URL to anyone as the Daily Snapshot link is for your use only). The URL to the Daily Snapshot page can be found in your Elf email notice (near the bottom) or sign into your Elf account and you'll find it on the Welcome page.

Please note that non-subscriber library card monitoring is not included in the subscription. If you would like your non-subscriber library cards monitored, please sign up for an individual Premium subscription.

1 subscriber library cards only
2 US and Canada only
   Carrier's text messaging fees apply

I've just signed up for the Premium Service. Can you recap the Premium Account features? [ Top ]
Thanks very much for subscribing! Here's a list of the Premium Service features. (Remember that you can always update your options whenever you want.)

Feature Help
add another library card add card
send me holds notice update my holds options
Cc my notices set up my Cc email addresses
send me text message alerts1
 
set up text alerts
(list of supported carriers)
RSS create RSS feed
iCal Calendar activate my iCal link

Other features that may come in handy are the "Check My Cards" tool and the Daily Snapshot.

"Check My Cards" is real-time checking by browser. If you click Check My Cards, Elf will check your cards and display a summary of your items and holds when checking is done. Check My Cards will allow you to check your cards anytime you want to see the current status of your items and holds.

Daily Snapshot is a way to get a quick look ‘snapshot’ of one’s Elf account. It is a unique web page generated daily by Elf when it processes your account. If you want you can bookmark this web page to make it easier to check the status of your library items (do not give this URL to anyone as the Daily Snapshot link is for your use only). The URL to the Daily Snapshot page can be found in your Elf email notice (near the bottom) or sign into your Elf account and you'll find it on the Welcome page.

1 US and Canada only
   Carrier's text messaging fees apply

 

Privacy-related Questions

Will you sell or share my email address? [ Top ]
The answer is no. Like you, we don't want spam and do not sell, share or distribute email addresses. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.
What about my privacy? [ Top ]

Your privacy is one of our most important concerns. Personal information are kept encrypted with 128-bit encryption (one of the best, most commonly used encryption technologies available today).

Elf does not obtain or collect patron name, address or phone numbers from library records. And unless ordered by court order, your email address or other personal information are not sold, disclosed or otherwise made available to any outside party.

It is important to note that if you use public RSS aggregators (e.g. Bloglines, Blogger, Feedster, Rojo, etc.) you should be aware that some of these services may allow other users of the service to read your RSS feeds. This means that putting a private RSS feed in a public aggregator could mean that others will be able to read your feed information.

So while RSS aggregators usually offer an option for users to designate whether one's folders and feed information be public or kept private, check your RSS service provider website for more information or contact your RSS service provider if you have any questions.

Important Note on Privacy: Bloglines apparently treats RSS feeds public even if you have set your profile to private. If you are a Bloglines user, you may want to change your delivery method to email only.

For more information on our Privacy Policy, click here.

With respect to privacy, is a record (history) of the titles kept? [ Top ]
In general, no histories are kept or recorded. Due to the way RSS works, however, an RSS file is published for users who have chosen to receive RSS feeds. Old or previous RSS files are not kept or retained. It's worth noting, Elf does its checking in real-time and information is based on what is obtained at time of checking (and not stored).
Is Elf affected by the US Patriot Act? [ Top ]

We don't think so. We are based in Vancouver, BC Canada and it's our understanding that the US Patriot Act does not apply here. Furthermore, our privacy policy states that we will not share any information unless ordered to by a government court order (which, in our case, would be the Canadian government).

Elf only does its checking in real-time. This means that no history file is kept of your items out. Due to the nature of RSS, a copy of one's current account status is kept for your RSS feed, but this only if you have opted for RSS feeds.

 

Sign up-related Questions

Is there a demo so that I can see how Elf works? [ Top ]
You can see a demo of Elf by going to the Demo page. This real-time demonstration displays a progress bar as Elf logs into the various libraries. Elf displays the items that are overdue, due within a period of time, items not yet due and as well as holds.
What do I need to sign up for an Elf account? [ Top ]

Three pieces of information -- your email address, your library card number and its PIN.

Note that your email address is where your email notices will be sent - it is also your Elf Account ID. Email address must be valid and active -- if not, you will not be able to receive any reminder notices and your Elf account will be suspended.

Reminder notices are sent in HTML-format so you will need to use an email software that will support graphically enhanced email (email software).

Text messages for holds is also available (US and Canada only). If you would like to receive text message hold alerts, you would need to specify your cellphone number and carrier. Note, carriers may charge a fee for text messages (check with your carrier for fee rates).

What are the steps for creating an Elf account? [ Top ]

1. Create your account - the email address you use will be your Account ID

2. Add your card - if you'd like, start with one card (more can be added at a later time)

3. Specify when you want your notices delivered and any other options you want

4. Confirm your email address.

I'd like to sign up but only have one of the cards, can I add the rest later? [ Top ]
Yes -- go ahead and register the card you have with you now. When you have collected the rest of the cards and are ready to add them, sign in to your account anc click My Account (left side of screen). Click Add or Edit link or the Library Cards tab to bring up the Library Cards page. Then click Add Card to add a library card.
What are the reminder options initially set to? [ Top ]

The initial settings are:

Option Default Notice sent FAQ?
Advance Notice three days before three days before due Advance
Overdue Notice once first day only Overdues
Hold Notice once once Holds

Reminder notice preferences are set in the Options section of My Account.

Can notices be sent to my home and work addresses? [ Top ]

To add a second address, use the Cc option.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Options tab or Edit on the Options tab.
3. In the Cc notice to field, enter the email address* you want your notices Cc'd to.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

* To send notices to more than one email address, separate the email address with a comma and a space. For example: joe@hotmail.com, jan@yahoo.com

A few weeks after signing up, my account was suspended. What happened? [ Top ]

Either your cards couldn't be checked or your reminder notices were bouncing.

If card checking does not work (fails), Elf cannot process your account. When this happens, the library returns an error message - i.e., login failed, card number or PIN is not valid, cannot locate patron or other similarly worded message. If your email address does not work, then your email reminder notices will bounce.

In either case, it means Elf cannot process your account and the account would have been suspended.

Note, accounts suspended for an extended period may be deemed inactive and deleted without notice. Please review and correct your library card information to ensure that your account is not inactivated and deleted.

 

Email Reminder Notice-related Questions

My email notices are not arriving. What could have happened? [ Top ]

There may be a problem with email delivery (i.e. invalid/inactive email address, mailbox quota, message filtering, etc.) or there may a problem with your card and it could not be checked.

Email addresses, Email accounts
  - Notices are sent to the email address you signed up for your Elf account.
  - Ensure that the email address you use is an address that will accept your notices.
  - If you use a free email account and it hasn't been used in a while, note that some email services will 'close' the account if the account is not used for certain period.
  - Is your Inbox full? Some servers will not accept email messages if a mailbox is full and out of storage space.
  - If you've customize your email setup (i.e. spam filters, message rules, forwarding, etc.), you must ensure these options work.
  
  It's important to understand that like everyone else who sends you email, Elf can only send messages/notices to the address that you've given to Elf (i.e. the email address that you've 'registered' with Elf).
  If notices are not arriving in your Inbox, you can try changing your email address (go to update your email address for steps on how-to update your email address).
  
Spam filters, Message rules, Antivirus
  - Ensure the domain libraryelf.com is included on your list of trusted senders (whitelist).
  - Ensure that libraryelf.com is *not* on your 'blocked' senders list.
  - Review and ensure your message rules are not inadvertantly deleting your reminder notices.
  - Ensure that your message rules are not inadvertantly delivering the notices in a 'special' folder.
  - If you have your email software set up to do anything special with your notices (i.e. moving notices to special folders, forwarding your notices, etc.), you'll need to make sure the options you've activated works properly.
  
  It's important to understand that if you've customize your email (filters, message rules, forwarding, etc.) we don't know you have made these arrangements. Notices are sent to the address that you've registered for your Elf account. When the notices arrive at your address, your system handles the message at that point.
  If you're not receiving your notices, you can try another email address (see update your email address for steps on how-to update your email address).
  
Network filters, Spam firewalls
  - If your provider uses spam filters, they would need to include libraryelf.com on their whitelist.
  - Firewalls may also be a factor.
  - Keep in mind that email service providers ultimately have the final say on whether or not messages are delivered or rejected.
  
  It's important to understand that email service providers have a role in the email delivery process. Email service providers have the discretion as to whether or not email messages are delivered or rejected. As mentioned, notices can be sent to you but delivery is another matter. Like you, we depend on your email service provider to deliver your notices. If you're unable to get your notices delivered, try using another email address and see if the new address works out better.
  To change your email address, sign into your Elf account and update your email address.
  
Card info and status
  - When cards stop working, notices are not sent.
   (When cards stop working a 'card stop working' notice is sent to the user.)
  - Users will need to look into situation and update the card when it is working again.
   See 'offline' cards for more information on how to fix an offline card.

* Keep in mind that if notices are not arriving in your InBox, we won't know that notices are not getting to you. Remember this is no different for you (and everyone who uses email). When you send a message, the message is sent, however, you cannot know nor can you guarantee delivery.

* It's also important to understand that if notices cannot get to you, there's a good chance that we're not able to let you know this is happening. Notices that bounce or are rejected over a period of time may eventually lead to checking for the account to be turned off (Suspend mode).

To recap, notices can be sent but delivery is another matter. If you've customize your email delivery (i.e. forwarding your notices), Elf does not, indeed, Elf won't know anything about this. If your notices do not arrive, you'll need to check the set up on your end. Users are responsible for ensuring notices will be accepted and delivered to one's Inbox.

Submit a bug report if you do not receive your email notices after checking everything.

Every so often my email notice arrives later than usual, why is that? [ Top ]

It could be due to:

- the library's computer system may have been down when your account was checked
- load or traffic on the mail servers may affect email delivery
- if the library changes its format before we notice and can re-program Elf, Elf may not retrieve any account information

If your notices stop arriving, let us know so that the situation can be looked into further.

What if my email notice doesn't look right? [ Top ]
Email notices is available in HTML format only so if your notices don't look right, it may be that your email software does not allow you to view HTML email or it is set for plain text viewing. (What software supports HTML email?)
We visit the library once a week. Can I get weekly reminder notice? [ Top ]

Weekly reminder notices is available by setting your Advance Notice option.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Select the day you want notices from the Advance Notice dropdown box.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

Note that a number of factors (for example, mail server load or traffic, library system availability, etc.) may affect message delivery.

If you visit the library on a regular day and want weekly reminders before going to the library, you may want to select the day before your visit as the day for your notices to be sent. This will let you have a reminder notice in your Inbox before your library visit and may help prevent unavoidable delays and disappointment.

If my email notice doesn't arrive, am I responsible for any overdue fines? [ Top ]
The answer is yes. Service on the Elf site and email notices is offered in good faith. Despite our efforts to provide accurate and timely reminder notices, operation of this service, like any Internet-based system, is inherently subject to interruptions, delays, and data losses. Libraries could also make changes to their system and we may not always know of these changes. As a result, we cannot guarantee that our service will be free of these problems.
I'd like 'squeeky wheel' reminders of my overdues, can I? [ Top ]

'Squeeky wheel' or Repeat reminders is an option you can specify if you want continuous reminders. This option may be useful for those who'd like to check on the status of their returns, such as interlibrary returns, returns in bins.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Select Repeat for the Overdue Notice option.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
As long as an item is overdue, you will get 'squeeky wheel' notices reminding you of the overdue. If you prefer to receive a notice only on the first day the item becomes overdue, select the Once. If you do not want to receive any overdue notices, select None.
I don't use or reserve any holds. How do I turn off holds? [ Top ]
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Select None for Hold Notice option.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

 

Technology-related Questions

What email software does Elf work on? [ Top ]

Email reminder notices are sent in HTML email.

- Microsoft Windows Outlook Express 6.0
- Netscape Mailer 7
- Eudora 6.0
- Mac IE 5.0
- Mac Mail 1.3.11
- web-based email services (Hotmail, YAHOO, Gmail)
Plain text email/mode is not available.
What browsers does Elf work on? [ Top ]
- Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer browser 5.5 and higher
- Mac OS X Safari
- Mac OS X Firefox (mostly works)
- Mozilla Firefox for Windows 5.0 (mostly works)
- Netscape for Windows (mostly works)
How does one create an RSS feed? [ Top ]

To activate your RSS feed:

1. Go to My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Select RSS (check the RSS checkbox 'on') as the Delivery method.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

The RSS icon Edit contains the URL which you use to access your feed.
Copy this URL and paste the link into your RSS reader to subscribe to your RSS feed. (If you need more information on how to set up your RSS reader, please check your reader's Help files.)

RSS feeds are updated when something is due, overdue or ready for pickup.

It is important to note that if you use public RSS aggregators (e.g. Bloglines, Feedster, Rojo, etc.) you should be aware that some of these services may allow other users to read your RSS feeds. This means that putting a private RSS feed in a public aggregator could mean that others will be able to read your feed information.

Important Reminder: keep in mind RSS feeds are not without risks. Some public RSS aggregators may allow other users to read your RSS feeds -- even if you have set your profile to "private". If you have questions about your RSS software, please contact your RSS feed service provider.

What cell carriers can text alerts be sent to? [ Top ]

The carriers that ready for pickup holds text alerts can be sent to are:
US Canada
Alltel Bell Mobility
ATT Chatr Wireless
Cellcom Fido
CellularOne (Dobson) Koodo Mobile
CellularOne West MTS Mobility
Cricket PC Mobile
Hawaiian Telcom Rogers Wireless
I-Wireless SaskTel
MetroPCS Solo Mobile
Nextel Telus Mobility
Qwest Wireless Virgin Mobile Canada
Sprint PCS Wind Mobile
Straight Talk
T-Mobile US
TracFone
US Cellular
Verizon Wireless
Virgin Mobile US

How do I activate my iCal link? [ Top ]

To activate your RSS feed:

1. Go to My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Select iCal (check the iCal checkbox 'on') as a Delivery method.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

The iCal icon Edit contains the URL which you would add to your iCal-based calendars (i.e. Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Apple iCal). Copy this URL (right-click on the icon, select copy) and paste the link (right-click, select Paste) into your iCal calendar. (If you're not sure how to use your calendar application, please consult the software's manual or Help for more information.)

Library Elf will update your iCal file on an ongoing basis. Note: be careful that you copy the link of the iCal file rather than the file itself. Otherwise, your calendar won't be able the latest updates.

Any plans for a mobile-friendly version of Elf? [ Top ]

Elf Mobile is a new Premium Service feature and ready for beta-testing. This is a new feature and we're starting with iPhone/iPod Touch devices. Android devices works except if you press the Android Back buttonm, which will take you out of the app (we are working on a solution for this problem).

Elf Mobile is your Elf website on your mobile device so if you're away from your computer and don't have your reminder notice handy, use Elf Mobile to view your reminder notice.

To give Elf Mobile a try, point your mobile browser to:

    https://www.libraryelf.mobi

To sign into Elf Mobile, use the same email address and password that you've registered for your Elf account. (Once you've set your sign-in information on your mobile device, you won't need to do it again.)

If you wish, you can also try Elf Mobile with Google Chrome and Apple Safari browsers.

Quick tips
Forgot your Elf password? Click here to get your passwword
'Old' calendar date? Your card is 'offline' and you'll need to get the card working again.
0 items, 0 holds? You don't have any items checked out or holds at this time.
Devices? iPhone/iPod Touch and Android (except Android Back button)

Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 devices are not supported at this time.

Elf Mobile is available as a Premium Service feature (subscriber library users and individual subscribers).

My library has a new library system. What do I need to do to get my card working again? [ Top ]

The first step is to make sure your card works with the new library system. The specifics of what you must do to get the card working with the new library system will depend on the library system* and the library's login requirements.

1. To get your card working with the new library system, go to your library login page.
- The library system will guide you through the 'registration' process.
- Carefully follow the instructions the library system gives you as it prompts you through the process.
- If you need help getting your card set up with the new library system, please ask the library for assistance.
 
  Reminder: you must have your card working with the new library system before you update your Elf account. (To verify that your card works with the new system, log into your library account.)
 
2. When you have your card working with the new library system, sign into your Elf account.
- Update the card information in your Elf account.
- If you had to create (or change) a PIN/password for your library card, you must add (update) the PIN/password to your card info in your Elf account.
- Users with new ('replacement') library cards note that you must also update your card number.
 
  Reminder: if your card works for you then the card should also work for Elf. (If you have trouble updating your card, send us a note.)

* Generally speaking, new library systems may require users:

-'register' his/her card with the library system (i.e. set up an account with the new library system).
- set up or create a PIN (password).
  for more information what your library's PIN/password requirements are, please check your library website.
- or a user may need to both (i.e. register for an account as well as create a PIN/password).
  For information on what you need to do to get your card working with the new system, please check your library website.

My library now requires a PIN (password). How do I get a PIN? [ Top ]

To learn more about your library PIN/password, go to your library website as information may be found there. Generally speaking, sometimes a "default" PIN might be used, sometimes users need to 'create' a PIN (not common but sometimes users need to obtain their PIN/password from the library).

- If you need to 'get' a PIN from the library, you'll need to see the library to get your new PIN.

- If you need to 'create' a new PIN, follow the instructions the library login page.

To recap, here are the steps:

1. Check your library login page for information on what's required for PINs/passwords.
a) Follow the instructions posted on the login page to get your PIN working.
     - if a default PIN/password is used, log into your library account using the default PIN
     - if you need to create a PIN for your library account,
   carefully follow the instructions and prompts given by the library system to create your PIN
     - if you need help setting up your PIN, please ask the library for assistance
b) After you've set your PIN, verify that your new PIN works by logging into your library account (i.e. log out then log into your library account).
Reminder: you must have your card working with your PIN/password before you update your Elf account.
2. When you have your PIN working with your library account, sign into your Elf account
a) Update the card information to include your new PIN.
     - if you have a new or 'replacement' card, you must also update the card number
     - if your card works with your new PIN and you have trouble updating your card, send us a note

Reminder: if your card does not work for you, it will not work for Elf as well. To verify that your PIN/password has been set up properly, log out then log into your library account after you create your PIN/password.

 

My Account-related Questions

How do I fix an "offline" card? [ Top ]

The most important thing to do is make sure your card is working:

1. Go to your library login page and log into your library account (verify your login parameters).

- If you can log into your library account successfully, then update your card information in your Elf account with these parameters. See updating your card on how to do this.

- If you cannot log into your library account, then please contact your library to get the correct card number and/or PIN/password (if PINs/passwords required).

For more information on 'offline' cards, click here.
How do I change my account information? [ Top ]

To change your Elf account information, you'll need to be signed in. Click [Sign-In] (upper right part of screen or left side of screen). Enter your email address and current password then click the Sign in button. When you are signed in, select My Account from the menu (left side of screen) and your account information will be displayed.

The first section is your Account ID and Sign-In information -- name, email address and password. The second section displays your Library card information. The third section is the Options settings.

Click the tab of the section you would like to update. Make the necessary changes then save the changes. Your new information will be saved and take effect.

I've lost my password. What can I do? [ Top ]
Go to the Forgot Your Password? page and follow the instructions.
How do I change my advance notice option? [ Top ]

Use the Advance Notice option to specify when you would like your reminder notices sent.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. In the Advance Notice dropdown box, specify your preference.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

Notice option Notice will be sent
x day(s) before due date x-number of days before due
(up to seven days before due)
weekly once a week
select from Sunday through Saturday
every day every day

It's important to note that a number of factors (mail server load, traffic, library system availability, etc.) may affect message delivery so keep this in mind when setting this option.

If you visit the library on a regular day and want weekly reminders before going to the library, select the day before your visit as the day for your notices to be sent. This will let you have a reminder notice in your Inbox before your library visit and may prevent unavoidable delays and disappointment.

How do I change my overdue notice option? [ Top ]

Use the Overdue Notice option to specify if or how often overdue reminders should be sent.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Specify your overdue reminder preference.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

Notice option Notice will be sent
None no notices will be sent
Once once on the day the item becomes overdue
Repeat each day as long as an item is overdue

Note that information on your reminder notices is the same as in your library account at the time your account was checked (notices reflects status of your account at the time of checking).

If the library hasn't had a chance to check items (by close, for example), the items would still be listed as being checked out when checking happens the next day and an overdue notice will be sent.

To check on the status of your returns, please go to your library website and log into your library account.

How do I change my hold notice option? [ Top ]

Use the Hold Notice option to specify if or how often hold reminders should be sent.

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Specify your hold reminder preference.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

Notice option Notice will be sent
None no notices will be sent
Once once when the item becomes ready for pickup
Repeat each day as long as a hold is ready for pickup

Note that here at Elf, we are dependent on the library -- information given on your reminder notices is the same as in your library account at the time of checking.

If you'd like to cancel your holds or have a question about holds, please give the library a call. To bring up your library in your browser, click on hours (located in the Location column) in your reminder notice.

How do I change my Elf account password? [ Top ]
To update your password:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Sign-In tab or the Edit link on the Sign-In tab.
3. Enter (and confirm) your new password.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
Your new password will be saved and you must use it the next time you sign in.
How do I update my library card information? [ Top ]
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Add or Edit link on the Library Cards tab.
3. Click the Edit icon Edit (on right side) of the library card you want to edit.
4. Enter your changes
5. Press Save Save to save the changes.
    Your card will be checked when you save the changes.
- If checking is successful, the card Status will be updated to 'Online'.
- If checking is unsuccessful, go to your library website and log into your library account to verify your login parameters.
When you have the correct values, try updating your card again.

Important note: If the card stops working, it cannot be checked and checking for the card will be turned off ('Offline').

To troubleshoot, first, make sure that your card is still working and in good standing with the library (go to your library website and can log into your library account).

Second, make sure the card info in your Elf account is correct and 'up-to-date' (sign into your Elf account and verify your card info).

Note that if you cannot log into your library account, you'll need to get your card checked by the library. When the card working again, sign into your Elf account and update the card info.

Account Status

Before signing out, check your Account Status settings and ensure it is set to Running (click My Account). Monitoring inactive or invalid cards take up resources (library's and Elf's). Given that resources are not unlimited, accounts with cards that cannot be checked may be turned off.

If Account Status is set to Not running, checking has been turned off and notices will not be sent.
If your cards are active and working reactivate checking to resume checking and reminder notices.

Note, accounts 'Not running' for an extended period may be deemed inactive and will be deleted without notice. We recommend Elf account users review and keep one's library card information updated and current to ensure accounts are not inactivated and deleted.

I have a new card. What must I do next?[ Top ]
When you get a new or replacement card, sign into your Elf account and update your card information in your Elf account.
To update your card information:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Add or Edit link on the Library Cards tab.
3. Click the Edit icon Edit (on right side) of the library card you want to edit.
4. Edit the card number and enter your new card number.
5. Press Save Save to save the changes.
    Your card will be checked when you save the changes.
- If checking is successful, the card Status will be updated to 'Online'.
- If checking is unsuccessful, go to your library website and log into your library account to verify your login parameters.
When you have the correct values, try updating your card again.
* If your library login requirements include a PIN/password and you changed the PIN/password for your library card, you must also update this in your card information as well.
I've changed email addresses. How do I update my email address? [ Top ]

To update your primary email address:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Sign-In tab or Edit on the Sign-In tab.
3. Enter your new email address
4. Press Save Save to save the changes. A confirmation will be sent to your new address.
5. Confirm your new email address (click the link in the confirmation email).
If you did not get your confirmation email, see 'not getting notices' for troubleshooting notes.
To get another confirmation email sent to you, sign into your Elf account then click 'Verify Address'.

To add or update your Cc email addresses:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Options tab or Edit on the Options tab.
3. In the Cc notice to field, enter the email address* you want your notices Cc'd to.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
* If you're sending your notices to more than one email address, separate each email address with a comma and a space. (For example: joe@hotmail.com, jan@yahoo.com)

Account Status

Before signing out, check your Account Status settings and ensure it is set to Running.

Not Running is a global switch to turn off checking and notification for all the cards in the account. (One may want to turn off checking when going on vacation as notices may not be needed during this time.) To resume checking, see How to turn off Suspend.

Accounts with email addresses that bounce or addresses that regularly reject notices will not receive reminder notices; as such checking for the account may be turned off (Account Status noted as 'Not Running').

Accounts suspended for an extended period may be deemed inactive and may be deleted without notice. We suggest reviewing and correcting your account information to ensure that your account is not inactivated and deleted.

Bounced notices as a result of invalid addresses is a significant problem. To reduce the number of bounced notices our server receives, invalid addresses are periodically deleted.

I've changed my cell provider and have a new number. How do I update this? [ Top ]
To add or edit your cell info:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. In the Text Message Alerts section:
    - enter the new cell number
    - specify the carrier
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

Available in the US and Canada only.
Carrier's text messaging fees apply

I no longer need text alerts and was wondering how do I turn off text alerts? [ Top ]
To delete your cell info:
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Delete your cell number.
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.

If you'd like text alerts again, you'll just need to add your cell information.

I'm going on vacation. How do I suspend delivery of my notices? [ Top ]
1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Check the Account Status checkbox
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
Uncheck the Account Status checkbox when you want to resume checking.
How do I turn off suspend and resume checking? [ Top ]

To resume checking and reminder notices for your account:

1. Select My Account.
2. Click the Edit link or Options tab.
3. Uncheck the Account Status checkbox
4. Press Save Save to save the changes.
If your Account Status is set to Not Running and you don't know why, check What could have happened.
How do I add a library card? [ Top ]
To add a card:
1. Select My Account from the menu.
2. Click Add or Edit link or the Library Cards tab.
3. Click Add Card. *
4. Enter your card information.
5. Press Save Save to save your card information.

When you save your card information, Elf will try checking your card.
If the card works, then the card will be added to your Elf account.
If the card does not work, review the error message and try logging into your library account directly to verify your login parameters.
Once you have the correct values, enter your card information using the card information that you used to successfully log into your library account.

Keep in mind if your card does not work for you, then the card won't work for Elf either.

* Use dropdown box to select your library.
Libraries listed according to US, Canada, International (alphabetically by state, province, country).

How do I delete a library card I no longer need? [ Top ]
1. Select My Account.
2. Click Add or Edit link or the Library Cards tab.
3. Click the Delete icon Delete (on right side) of the library card you want to delete.
4. Click OK to confirm delete.
  - if you've selected Delete by mistake, click Cancel.
How do I close my Elf account? [ Top ]
Elf users who no longer wish to have an account can close their own account. Note that by closing out your account you will lose access to your Elf account. As always, you are welcome to sign up again for a new account. To close your account, sign in to your account then go to My Account and select Close Account and follow the instructions.

If you do not find the answer to your question, fill out Feedback Form.

 

 

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