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Renew by Text

Cuyahoga County Public Library

Innovation Leader: Rebecca Ranallo, Internet & Media Services Manager, rranallo@cuyahogalibrary.org

Problem Statement

Cuyahoga County Public Library has been a leader in innovation as the first library to offer customers the ability to receive notification about their library materials via text message. As our customers become more acquainted with technology and expect more interactivity and east of use, they expect more flexibility from their library system. The ability to receive reminders anywhere as a text message is convenient, but to continue to meet our customers where they are, we need to be thinking about methods of bringing the library to them.

Innovation

The next logical step for our customers in this increasingly text-reliant world was to offer the option of renewing materials by text message. Our first innovation with text messaging was driven by the desire to offer ease of use for our customers, the ability to take that innovation one step further was motivated by the same idea. We approached our text messages provider about utilizing our existing mobile catalog to allow customers to enter their card numbers or usernames and passwords and renew all of their materials through text message. Through an HTML keystroke process, our text message provider was able to develop a process that allows a convenient renew feature. Now customers are prompted to reply to courtesy text messages announcing items due with RENEW. This elicits a reply from the system to enter a username and password. Once that information is entered correctly, items currently checked out to the customer are renewed.

Progress

We now offer our customers the ability to renew materials from a text message on their phone. The service is free and convenient and takes a definite step toward access to our library anytime and anywhere. The response has been extremely positive and we plan to follow up with a pay your fines by text option in the coming months.