Text Messaging goes LIVE on Monday, October 25th

Ask a Librarian will be launching a texting service to accompany our traditional chat service.  This means users can text us from their device at the moment they need assistance from wherever they are (though hopefully not the interstate).  A user will text a local phone number including a keyword before the question and they will receive an answer from a live librarian within minutes! (More details on how this evolved at: http://askalibrarian.org/blog/?p=1433)

Here is some information to help you!

What happens on Monday?

On Monday, Ask a Librarian will begin promoting phone numbers and keywords for each library on their custom portal page, mobile AAL page and widget.   We encourage you to promote these numbers at your library and on your web page as well.

When you login for a collaborative shift (either collaborative desk or academic desk), ALSO select the desk “texting.”  In addition to chat sessions, you will manage incoming texts – they will appear under the “mail queue.”

How do you answer a text?

When replying, remember to include the exclamation point (!) as the first character of your reply, and that the maximum number characters for a text is 160 (the SMS Helper tab, located to the right of your text, is there to help you with this).  Also, libraries have created a lot of great scripts – they are there to help you!  They are located in the Texting folder in the scripts area and are categorized by library system, so it’s easy to find just what you need.

Training and Help Information

If you haven’t attended a workshop, please register for one as soon as possible!  We have been offering training on how this will work and have several more sessions (including one today!).  The upcoming sessions are listed at:  http://www.tblc.org/ws_classes.php?statewide=YES#firstMatch.  In addition, some great resources are available at: http://askalibrarianfl.pbworks.com/Texting, including a record of your frequently asked questions and tons of other information that will help us all excel in this new world of texting reference.  We are updating the site daily, so take a peek now and then.

And most importantly, if you have a suggestion, comment or question – contact us!  This is new to all of us and it needs to work for everyone to succeed.