Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘reference’

I’m not a big texter.  I text, but I’d rather call or email.  I get frustrated not being able to have all five fingers on a keyboard typing 100 wpm…  Texting takes too long for me, but I’ll admit it’s still rather convenient sometimes.

Although, it’s not my usual mode of communication I do know there are more and more people graduating from high school every day who use texting to communicate almost exclusively.  I know, because I get texts from them, and well, okay “Pieces of Flair” on Facebook

For these people texting a librarian is a brilliant adaptation to their needs.  After I left my position at the Brookfield Public Library they adopted a utility that allows them to accept text messages at the reference desk.  Unfortunately, since it happened after I had already moved to another library I don’t know exactly how it works, but I tried it and it worked from my end.  If you’re at all curious, go to the website and check it out for yourself.

I was reminded of this twice in the past few days.  Once while talking to a colleague who told me that her high school aged son always responds to her immediately when she texts him.  He won’t answer the phone if she calls, but he automatically answers a text.  The second reminder was an ad for a new product in one of my magazines – can’t remember which one…  I think it was YALSA‘s magazine.

Anyway, this all boils down to a new service offered by Mosio for libraries that are interested in welcoming the texting generation –  Text A Librarian.  This is how it works. I’m not endorsing this particular service, but if you watch the video you can get a good idea of how this works from the librarian’s point of view. 

I think this is ultimately worth considering very seriously as an added patron convenience option at every library.  Let’s face it, texting is big and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Read Full Post »

If you look down and over to the right there, you’ll see my Meebo widget – I think they’re great and wish I had more time to be ‘online’. (I like Chris B.’s ‘leave a message’ add-on.)

So, I decided to go in search of a library using Meebo. The library where I work uses Meebo, and after a lot of thought I decided it would be very beneficial for me to ‘anonymously’ ask about my library’s service. The IM service at my library, Brookfield Public Library, is managed by the Adult Services department (I work in Youth Services), and I have only rarely acted as a babysitter.

Since I already knew a bit about the service and its origins I started with some things I didn’t know. Like, how and when do they plan to evaluate it? The librarian on duty said there was no formal plan in place, but as long as people were using it they would continue to monitor it. She explained that they do keep statistics of how and when it’s used.

I noticed that she was typing with entirely correct grammar and punctuation so I asked her if more informal communication, like without caps, was permitted for staff answering im questions. She said that it was proper sentence structure was preferred. I had to ask that, because I never use caps in im… (Even at work!!) Now I know I probably should.

We also discussed the types of questions she gets (and I do know it was a female because there are no men on the reference desk…) as well as the types of users.  A lot of the questions are basic questions about library hours, or do you have this book – can you reserve it for me, but there are also in-depth, homework-oriented questions and she believes that those questions are usually coming from within the library.  So, our patrons using library computers are making use of the meebo widget on the website!

There was a lengthy discussion about whether or not new users are being reached this way and it actually continued in person when I revealed the next day what I’d done.  She isn’t sure how many new users we’re reaching, there have been a few, but we brainstormed for a while about where to put a widget to find those users out there.  There are lots of places and we decided we need to hire another person to go out and secure Meebo widget placement in the community. 🙂

Read Full Post »