Text Messaging Alerts


Library Elf The San Francisco Public Library subscribes to Library Elf, a third party service which sends out text messaging alerts to library users. Library Elf makes it easy to keep track of what's due, overdue or ready for pickup from one or more library accounts. Library Elf is like a personal assistant designed with the busy or avid library user in mind. It is also ideal for families with multiple library cards or individuals who have cards from different library systems because you can consolidate multiple cards into one Library Elf account.

Library Elf

Signup with Library Elf to receive any, or all, of the following types of notices:

  • Text message alerts* for “holds ready for pickup” and “items due the next day”
  • Email and/or RSS alerts before items are due
  • Email and/or RSS alerts on overdues and holds
  • Email and/or RSS alerts on holds about to expire

*Charges from your text messaging provider may apply.

When you log in to your Library Elf account, you’ll be able to see a calendar display of up to three months of information with the relevant dates for dues, overdues and holds.


What is a Text Message?

Text messaging or “texting” refers to brief written messages exchanged on mobile phones.

Is there a demo so that I can see how Library Elf works?

You can view a real-time demonstration of Library Elf by going to the demo page.

Is the Library Elf service free?

Yes. The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has subscribed to Library Elf so library users can receive the multiple cards premium service at no cost. Charges from your text messaging provider may apply.

What do I need to sign up for a Library Elf account?

To sign up you’ll need an email address (where your notices will be sent), your library card number and your PIN. Also, you’ll need to specify your cell phone number and carrier if you want to receive text message alerts. Charges from your text messaging provider may apply. You can cancel the Elf services at any time.

How do I create a Library Elf account?

  • Visit Library Elf to create your account with your email address and a password of your choice.
  • Add your library card by selecting “CA – San Francisco Public Library (subscriber)” from list of libraries and by entering your library card number and PIN.
  • Specify what types of reminder notices you would like to receive, how you would like to receive them (email, RSS and/or text message) and how frequently.
  • Confirm your subscription by clicking the link that Library Elf sent to your registered email.

If I choose text message alerts with Elf, can I turn off my other alerts from SFPL?

No. You will still receive notifications directly from SFPL, in the method of your choosing, including: email or telephone notice. In addition, borrowers are still subject to all of the same SFPL card holder procedures and responsibilities.

Important Privacy Notice

Library ELF is a private service not affiliated with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). You use Library ELF at your own option and risk. Users of Library ELF are required to submit personal information, including library card barcodes and PINs, to a database unaffiliated with and located outside of the Library. Please read Library ELF's privacy policy and FAQ before deciding to sign up for the service.

Take our survey