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December 28, 2012

Library announces new ‘Author Alerts!’ service

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hills Public Library is giving cardholders the chance to be among the first to learn when the library adds a new book by their favorite authors to its collection.

Early this month, the library added its newest service, Author Alerts! — which sends an email or text message alert to patrons when the library orders a new book.

“We’ve had good response and lots of great feedback from people who have signed up already,” said Adult Services Manager Rebekah Craft.

To use the service, which Craft said is very user-friendly, patrons visit www.rhpl.org/explore/authoralerts to sign up for an account.

“Basically what you do is, you can create an account with your email address or cellphone number, and then you enter a password. Once you log in, you just type in the names of your favorite authors — first and last name — and the format of the book — audio, large print or regular printed copy — and you will receive an email from the library whenever we order a book by that author. So, if you want to read the newest Janet Evanovich book, you’ll get an email right when we order that book and add it to our catalog,” she said.

Notifications are sent as soon as a librarian has ordered a new item.

“Once you get the email, you can click on the link of that email and log in to your library account and place a hold on the book so you can be one of the first people in line to get that book,” Craft added.

Patrons can place alerts on performers, musical groups and film studios by typing in the name. Library users can set up an unlimited number of alerts, Craft said.

“If you don’t have time to browse the New York Times bestseller list, or you’re not keeping up with the book trends, this is a great way to find out when the author that you like has a new book that’s coming out,” she said.

Library Director Christine Hage said she thinks library customers will really appreciate receiving up-to-the minute alerts about new books that are added to the collection.

“It’s also a great way to make sure that library users don’t miss new books by authors they love who don’t appear on bestseller lists. Patrons often have no reliable way of finding new titles by less popular authors without frequently checking the library’s catalog,” she said in a statement.

The library orders new books every day, according to Craft. To request an item the library doesn’t currently have in its collection, patrons can visit the library’s website and fill out a request card, which staff will take into consideration.

“People don’t have to be timid about requesting an item because we get these cards all the time,” she said.

Those with questions about the new service, or who want to receive a hands-on introduction, are encouraged to visit the second-floor reference desk.

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located in downtown Rochester, off of University Drive, three blocks east of Main Street. The library is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit www.rhpl.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.