In June I recommended that we work to improve the “courtesy emails” that are automatically emailed to patrons from Robertson Library. The situation with the Prince Edward Island Public Library Service is even worse, as they try to cram in even more relevant-information-obscuring text; here’s an email I received today:
What I need to know from emails like this is:
- What books are due?
- When are they due?
Everything about the email should be judged as to how effectively those pieces of information are communicated.
Information that I do not need that’s in the email:
- The date (it’s already in the date stamp of the email itself).
- The mailing address of the Confederation Centre Public Library.
- My own mailing address.
- Links to the library Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- The “ID” numbers of the books (meaningless).
- The wordy introductory paragraph (we all know how libraries work; this doesn’t need to be re-explained).
- Statement of Confidentiality (meaningless).
What’s worse is that the “when are they due” information is presented in an ambiguous format: are the books due on September 10 or on October 9?
For an email that’s all about the date, that’s an important thing to be clear about.
Here’s a prototype for a replacement email: