Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Word About Facebook Mail

One of the biggest challenges our circulation staff face is tracking down students who have overdue books or materials, and then collecting fines on these late items.

Our ILS (or library catalog) automatically generates e-mail notices which are sent to a patron's official Coker e-mail address. Therein lies the problem. Students do not regularly check their Coker e-mail accounts.

Our former Circulation Coordinator, Donnie Quist, had excellent results messaging students via Facebook. Although there are ways to message other Facebook members without being friends with them, Donnie was friends (both on Facebook and in "real life") with many of these students. The response rate was high because they knew Donnie.

Enter Facebook e-mail - each Facebook account now has its own unique e-mail address, which should be the same as your unique Facebook id. For instance, the LITC's account ID is CokerLITC. To get directly to our Facebook fan page, you would point your browser to Your Facebook ID is at the end of the URL of your personal Profile page.

Facebook e-mail works likes this: add your ID to, and you get an instant e-mail address.

The main benefit is that the majority of our patrons are Facebook users, and our students check Facebook a lot more often than their e-mail account(s). If we went this route (as opposed to using Donnie's method of messaging individual patrons), a library staff member would not need to use their personal Facebook account to contact students or other patrons.

Of course, those that do not use Facebook or prefer us to use their Coker e-mail address would still be able to use their Coker (or any other) e-mail account.

In fact, anyone can opt in right now - all you need to do is login to My Account and then "Modify Personal Info" and change the e-mail address to an account of your choosing.

What do you think about Facebook e-mail as a way to contact patrons?

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