By Kevin Kelley
Do you have a favorite author, such as John Grisham or Janet Evanovich? If so, a new service by Westlake Porter Public Library can inform you when it purchases a new book by that author.
The new service, called libAlerts, grew out of users’ requests for a way to find out when their favorite authors release new books, library officials explained. Rather than look for a vendor to provide such a service, Porter Web Librarian Matt Weaver developed libAlerts himself using Drupal, the open source software on which the library’s other sites are built.
The intent of the service is to notify patrons when Porter orders new books by a certain author so they may reserve that book sooner.
Notifications are sent to users’ e-mail accounts or cellphones. Data rates for cellular services may apply. Links direct users to the library catalog, where they can place holds on the books. A mobile version of the service allows users to access the catalog via their cellphones.
Due to restrictions from the library’s carrier for text messages, libAlerts users can receive a maximum of five alerts per month via text message. Therefore, readers with numerous favorite authors are advised to receive their notifications via e-mail, Porter officials said.
Users can register for libAlerts at www.westlakelibrary.org/libalerts/ and select the authors about whom they wish to receive notifications. If a favorite author isn’t listed, users can submit his or her name. The libAlerts service includes authors of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as writers of children’s and young adult books.
Porter’s website also includes a video tutorial on how the libAlerts service works. To view it, go to the “How it Works” page at www.westlakelibrary.org/libalerts/?q=howitworks.