LIU Post students, faculty and staff can now text a librarian to receive answers to general reference questions right on their cell phones.
The Text-A-Librarian service is replacing Instant Message A Librarian, an instant chat service between users and librarians. Associate Professor and Librarian Elizabeth Mezick said, “The IM service was not being used very much by students or faculty. Since more people are texting today, the Library thought a texting service would be a better alternative.”
According to a Nielsen Mobile survey, since 2003, texting traffic has seen a steady rise of 37 percent every six months. The library staff took notice of the importance of text messaging earlier this month and adopted a service it felt would be most effective.
Students, faculty and staff can text questions regarding services and information about the library, how to search the library catalogue, how to locate Internet sources and questions regarding the selection of databases. The questions are then sent to reference librarians at LIU Post and are answered during library hours within the same day. If a question is sent while the library is not open, the question is saved and then answered the next day. For questions that cannot be answered by text, users are encouraged to come to the library for assistance or to call the reference desk at 516-299-2305.
To begin using the service, students should text “askpost” to 66746. A confirmation message will be sent to the individual’s phone. Standard messaging and data rates may apply. Then, save the number in your phone, and ask questions when necessary. The Text-A-Librarian service will now recognize your phone. For everyone who uses the service, your information is protected Text-A-Librarian does not display phone numbers, and each question generates an anonymous ID number to ensure privacy.
Text-A-Librarian is a quick way to get help, especially for those people who cannot seem to find enough time in the day to stop by the Library. Mezick explained, “It provides another way for students to access assistance from the library in addition to the traditional methods of visiting or calling the library, as well as the library’s virtual reference services of email and chat.”
The Text-A-Librarian service was launched on March 8th, and people have already begun to make use of the program. Several other libraries offer the same service. Text-A-Librarian was created by the award-winning mobile technology company, Mosio.
Ashley Abney, a junior Public Relations major, said, “I love the idea because I have to do my senior thesis next semester and cite journals. It’s going to be helpful having a librarian so conveniently available.” Other students, including senior Psychology major Adwoa Boateng, said, “The library is kind of out of the way. So, this is a good service if I need an answer to a quick question.”