Notices, sending by text message
It may be possible to send hold pick-up, hold cancellation and first overdue notices by text message the same way we send them by email. To do this, enter the patron cell phone number with the appropriate extension for their carrier in the email field of the patron record. The new patron registration cards have Text as a choice for receiving notices from the library. There is a line after Text for Carrier – we need to know which carrier service they have to properly format the address so they receive the message. There is a warning below that saying “Charges may apply” so patrons are aware if they don’t have a texting plan they will be charged for the messages. If they choose this option make sure their cell phone number is entered in the phone number section and their carrier is filled in. The patron will receive the notification via text once the hold pickup notices, overdues, or hold cancellation notices have been sent through Sierra Notices. It will arrive with the same speed as an email message. Be very careful when entering the cell phone number and the carrier extension; if there is a typo the message will not be sent.
Picture messaging (MMS) vs. plain-text messaging (SMS)
Since text messaging has a limit of 160 characters, it works best for most phones to send notices by picture mail so the patron gets the complete content. Phones that support picture messages (MMS)–and some feature phones may not–have different ways of delivering the notice as a picture, but at least all of the content will be included. The extensions listed below are for picture messages, so there is nothing further you need to do. The text notifications are sent by email, so when setting up a patron record to receive text notices, think of it as sending an email that your patron will receive as a text message on their phone.
Notice combination options
If the patron only wants to receive notices via text message and not standard email, have only the cell phone address in the email field. Example: firstname.lastname@example.org If a patron would like to receive both a text and an email at a standard email account, enter both their cell phone number with carrier extension (complete list is in the next section of this article) and their standard email address in the email field, separated by a comma but no spaces. Example: email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrons cannot receive both a text message and a phone call. Patrons can only receive one notice type: phone, email, or mail. Standard email and text notices are both sent by us via email, so constitute one notice type.
Carrier extensions/messaging gateways
This list is not exhaustive. Carrier extensions listed are believed to receive picture messages rather than plain text. Here’s a more complete list of US carriers.
- Alltel – [10digitnumber]@alltel.net OR [10digitnumber]@mms.alltelwireless.com
- AT&T – [10digitnumber]@mms.att.net
- Boost – [10digitnumber]@myboostmobile.com
- Cricket – [10digitnumber]@mms.cricketwireless.net OR [10digitnumber]@mms.att.net
- MetroPCS – [10digitnumber]@mymetropcs.com
- Nextel – [10digitnumber]@messaging.nextel.com
- Project Fi – [10digitnumber]@msg.fi.google.com
- Sprint – Email to MMS is not officially supported. [10digitnumber]@tmomail.net or [10digitnumber]@pm.sprint.com may work
- T-Mobile – [10digitnumber]@tmomail.net
- Ting, CDMA – [10digitnumber]@message.ting.com
- Ting, GSM – [10digitnumber]@tmomail.net
- US Cellular – [10digitnumber]@mms.uscc.net
- Verizon – [10digitnumber]@vzwpix.com
- Verizon Page Plus – [10digitnumber]@mypixmessages.com
- Virgin Mobile – [10digitnumber]@vmpix.com
- If a patron’s carrier is not listed above, you or they can check the carrier’s website for the information, or use the carrier’s support channels to find the carrier extension or “messaging gateway” for sending picture messages (MMS) from email to the user.
- Some carriers have discontinued picture messaging for at least some feature phones, or non-smartphones. Carrier websites are likely to have phone-specific information like that.
- You can test by sending a regular email from a library account to the patron’s number and carrier extension combination, then verify that the patron received the test message including the image.
- If you aren’t able to set up notices by text in Sierra, you might refer patrons to Library Elf. Patrons can opt for notices sent in a plain text format. There are also additional carrier options listed there, with no need to know a specific carrier extension or messaging gateway
Here is an example of a patron record set up to receive both a standard email notice and a notice via text message: