Ask a Librarian – Mobile App

Want a quick way to have your patrons and students chat with a librarian right from their mobile device?

Well, now there’s an app for that.

The Ask A Librarian App is available in both iTunes and Google Play.

To get your hands on the latest app from AAL, go to the iTunes app store or the Google Play store  and search “Ask A Librarian”.

We will have a marketing piece for online and print promotion available within next week.

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Is your Library Website Mobile Friendly?

Does your library have a mobile page deployed on their website? If so, you can add an Ask a Librarian link! Ask a Librarian has a mobile friendly site allowing users to easily access their local library to chat, email or text right from their device!

We have designed a mobile friendly image for libraries to use. Please feel free to add this to your site as well. Download the image here.


If you need help or have a question, please email, Jessica Riggins.

Here is a list of custom URL’s for each library’s mobile local portal page:

Library Mobile EZ-URLs List

(more readable URL which redirects to longer portal/local page URL)

Alachua County Library
American InterContinental
Ana G. Mendez State University
Art Institute of
Baptist College of
Bartow Public
Bay County Public Library/Northwest
Brevard Community
Brevard County
Broward County  
Bruton Memorial Library (Plant City)
Cambridge Institute of Allied Health &
College of Central
Charlotte County Library
Citrus County Library
Clay County Library
Collier County Public
Daytona State
Delray Beach Public
Dunedin Public
East Lake Community
Edison State
Eustis Memorial
Florida A&M
Florida State College at
Florida Gulf Coast
Florida International
Florida Keys Community
Florida Memorial
Florida Virtual
Fort Walton Beach
Goldstein Library (FSU)
Gulf Coast State
Gulfport Public
Hernando County Public
Hialeah Public
Hillsborough Community
Indian River State
Jacksonville Public
Keiser University
Florida Gateway
Lake County Library
Lake Sumter Community
Lake Wales Public
Lake Worth Public
Lee County Library
Leroy Collins Leon County Public
Maitland Public
Manatee County Public
Mandel Public Library of West Palm
Marion County Public Library
Martin County Library
Miami Dade
Miami Dade Public
Monroe County Public
Nassau County Public Library
New College of
North Florida Community
New Port Richey
Niceville Public
North Miami Public
North Palm Beach Public
Northwest Florida State
Nova Southeastern
Orange County Public
Osceola Library
Palm Beach Atlantic
Palm Beach State
Palm Beach County Library
Palm Harbor
Pasco – Hernando Community
Pasco County Library
Pensacola State
Pinellas Park Public
Polk State
Saint Leo University, Cannon Memorial
Sanibel Public
Santa Fe
Santa Rosa
Sarasota County Library
Seminole County Library
Seminole State College of
South Florida Community
St Johns County Public Library
St Johns River State
St Lucie County Library
St Petersburg
St Petersburg Public
State College of Florida,
School District of Palm Beach
State Library of
Suwannee River Regional
Tallahassee Community
Tampa Hillsborough Public
University of Central
University of Florida Libraries,
University of
Volusia County Public
West Florida Public
Wilderness Coast Public
Winter Haven Public
Winter Park Public

Ask a Librarian Texting Webinars

Confused about Texting in Ask a Librarian? Register today for a Texting Webinar:
Monday, October 15, 10-11 am ET

 Space is still available in these Ask a Librarian Texting webinars, which offer staff a step-by-step reminder of how texting works in Ask a Librarian. Find out exactly what your patrons or students need to do in order to ask a question via text for your library, and learn how Ask a Librarian staff answer those text questions in the Ask a Librarian software.
Ask a Librarian Mobile Chat

Ask a Librarian Mobile Chat

Do you hate coming to a website that doesn’t have a mobile friendly interface? We certainly do!

When you try to type on the small screen,  does it become difficult to type because the keyboard hides the rest of the screen?

Well Guess What??? On February 15, we will be launching an enhanced mobile site that allows you to chat directly with a librarian!

You will be able to chat with a statewide librarian or scroll down and find your local library right from your mobile device! Once you select your library, it will allow you to chat, e-mail, or text.

  • If you select chat, it will open in a new screen, and allow you to enter your name, email, and question. Once you select chat, the new mobile interface will open and you will be chatting live with a librarian!
  • You also have the option to text message directly from the new interface. Once you select this option you can click on the phone number, and your phone will open to your texting screen. Don’t forget to enter your 3 letter code.
  • If you decide to send an email, your new screen will easily allow you to enter your name, email, subject, and question and send that email!
Ask a Librarian Mobile Chat
Ask a Librarian Mobile Chat

Hot Topics: OverDrive E-Books & Audiobooks Webinar Series

Introducing two new Hot Topics webinars on OverDrive… register for both today!

Hot Topics: E-Books! Putting OverDrive E-Books onto eReaders: A Guide For Library Staff

Wed., Jan. 11, 2012, 2-3 pm ET

Hot Topics: Audiobooks! Putting OverDrive Audiobooks onto Portable Players: A Guide For Library Staff

Wed., Jan. 18, 2012, 2-3 pm ET

Audiobooks and E-Books


OverDrive audiobooks & ebooks are popular with library patrons. But many of them have a hard time putting it all together: finding available e-books or audiobooks on the digital download site and then transferring them to their PC, e-reader, or listening devices. With information presented by TBLC’s own resident genius & System Administrator Al Carlson, these two webinars will equip public service staff of all library types with the skills they need to assist patrons at any stage of the process.



Topics include:

  • Finding immediately available audiobooks (Hot Topics: Audiobooks!) or e-books (Hot Topics: E-Books!) on an OverDrive site, installing Adobe Digital Editions and creating an Adobe identity.
  • Downloading audiobooks (Hot Topics: Audiobooks!) or e-books (Hot Topics: E-Books!) to a PC, and transferring (sideloading) them to e-readers/listening devices.
  • Direct downloads to smart phones, iPads, and other web-enabled devices.

Register for both webinars today!

Using QR Codes to Market Ask a Librarian

QR codes are an excellent way to promote Ask a Librarian to your users.   A QR code is a 2-D barcode that can connect the physical and online world! Sounds complicated but its not.

A QR code is placed on a book, a poster, a bib record, a shelf, a name tag – you name it, a QR Code can be placed on it.   A user sees the QR code and uses their smart phone to capture the image.  The image is then read and the user is taken to a website, prompt a user to send a text message or given your contact information.

These might be new – but use is growing fast.  They can be seen in Best Buy, Sears and Sunglass Huts ads.  They can be seen in magazines like Wired and Lucky.  They are on billboards and movie ads.   Libraries too are using them to tie physical collections to the web.

The great thing about a QR Code is they are FREE and SIMPLE to CREATE and they are FREE and SIMPLE to use.

A QR code can be created at several free online generators. Personally, I use Kaywa and Google.  The generators allow you to type in the URL, phone number, contact info you want the QR Code to point to and hit “generate.”

A user reads a QR Code via a smart phone- androids, blackberries, iphones and itouches all have apps to read QR Codes.     I have an iphone and use BeeTagg.   A user just launches the app and points their phone – the reader does the rest!

Why are we talking about QR Codes?

QR Codes are a great way to promote Ask a Librarian’s new texting service.    Creating a custom QR Code can point users to your Ask a Librarian Mobile Page or provide them the info (including your keyword) on how to send a text message right to their phone!!!

We are planning to order stickers with QR Codes for interested libraries.  For more information about QR Code stickers, please contact us (askalibrarian – @-

Text Messaging Update

Text Messaging was introduced by Ask a Librarian on October 25th with little fanfare for the users. While all of us, were training, creating scripts and otherwise preparing – we expected initial growth to be slow and did little promotion for this new service point, with the idea that the new year would hold new wisdom we’d gleaned from our first few months being live.

However- users are finding us!!!! We are so excited with our first month of service’s usage numbers. In November, we answered 566 text messages! Not bad for a new service. As one of the first statewide services offering collaborative Texting, you are really part of a historic step for libraries!

Best Practices Update

Last Friday, the SMS taskforce got together to discuss the first month. We realize there are a few bumps – but we are looking at how they can be fixed. One of the biggest issues seems to be “threading” – a user replying to a librarian and the answer being picked up by another librarian. When answering a user with a question or answer that would likely generate a response from the user, here are a few tips to help you:

  • Mark the reply “Follow-Up”, which is the check box just to the right of the Send button.  Follow-up questions and answers are located in a shared tab so others can see your history.  Follow-up includes not only what users texted but how librarians responded.
  • Be On the Lookout!  Many texters who return do so fairly soon, so watch the queue for your user returning by their phone number and/or library designation.
  • Be vocal when leaving the desk. If you have expectations or knowledge that may help others help a returning user, definitely share that. Letting others know the situation in the agent chat room may prevent confusion on a returning text and prevent other staff from reinventing the wheel.  Speaking up helps everyone, including the user.

More information on best practice patterns is emerging every day; in the meantime, these should definitely help us to acclimate to and excel in this exciting new world of text reference. The taskforce will be doing some in-depth analysis of texts and hopes to have additional best practices recommendations as we analyze the past month.

Do you have another tip or trick you have found useful? Please let us know!!

Promotion: Where are all these users coming from?

Ask a Librarian has added your local texting phone number to your customer portal page, widgets and mobile pages.

Libraries are also promoting texting to their users. Here are some examples, we have seen:

Another Effective Promotional Tool is a QR Code. Here are two examples codes. These codes are easily generated and can be used on everything from bookmarks to handouts to business cards.

There are several free QR code generators – I personally use

What are you planning at your library in 2011 to promote Ask a Librarian and Ask a Librarian Texting?