Consolidate your (library) loans | Darcy Brixey


I am a librarian whose children lose books. It happens. When a notice came home that Hairball From Outer Space was overdue from my son’s school library we looked everywhere. We never found it.

I was embarrassed that other librarian friends or parents would hear about it. “Psst,” they would whisper. “There’s the librarian’s kid. Did you hear he lost a book?”

I’m sure there’s a saying about it somewhere: The carpenter’s house is never finished, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes and the librarian’s kid loses books.

It’s not easy keeping track of multiple accounts, especially when family members inadvertently check things out on each other’s cards. King County Library System offers a convenient solution for busy families.

Library Elf is a program that allows users to consolidate multiple card accounts. You can set it up to receive texts or emails when things are due soon, holds have come in and when holds are about to expire. When you log in to your Library Elf account, you can even view a calendar feature that shows up to three months of relevant dates of holds and due dates.

Signing up is easy. Visit the Library Elf website. Create an account using your email and a PIN of your choice. Add your library card by selecting “WA-King County Library System (subscriber)” from the list of libraries. Enter your card number and PIN, then choose what kinds of reminders you would like and how you would like to receive them. These notices are different from the generated notices that KCLS delivers. You can call your local library to have those cancelled if you don’t want multiple notices. Or maybe you do.

A Library Elf account may not ensure that your kids won’t lose books but it will give you the advantage of having their cards in one convenient place so you can start looking before something is due. If your house is anything like mine, I highly recommend looking behind the toy box. It’s amazing what you’ll find back there.


Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.


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