Emails are an important way of communicating with library clients. Our system emails loans receipts, changes to due dates, and due date reminders by default. We use email to communicate with students when holds become available.
The fact that smartphones are pretty ubiquitous means email is an instant form of communication. I’ve had situations where a student has come to the desk to pick up a hold, but when I go to retrieve it for them it’s not available on the hold shelf. I ask them when they got the email and they’ll say – “just now, a couple of seconds ago!” The item had been scanned in but not yet processed and placed on the shelf! I love it. So instant. We also send emails to students about things like lost property, if we can identify them as the owner. Sometimes they’re still on campus and they’ll come back right away.
One challenge at our library is that we communicate with students via student email, never a personal email address, and many don’t check their student email regularly. That’s why it’s important to encourage them to set up their student email to forward to an address that they do check regularly and that sends push notifications to their phone or tablet.