Category Archives: SMS Ref

5 Reasons You Should Have Ask-a-Librarian on Every Page of Your Website

To get the most value out of your library’s services and provide patrons with the highest level of service, it is important to make it as easy as possible for your patrons to connect with those services

The best way to connect patrons with your Ask-a-Librarian service is to have Ask-a-Librarian tabs, links or buttons on every page of your library’s website. Here are five ways that implementing such a strategy with your online reference will benefit your users:

1. All successful advertisers know that the key to getting a message across is through repetition and consistent branding. When your patrons interact with a consistent layout from page to page and see Ask-a-Librarian on every page, you have created the best possible ongoing marketing campaign for your service, with an important added bonus: It’s free.

2. While we can predict some user behavior, we never really know when and where on a website patrons are going to need assistance. A patron may be on a page where the information seems to be straight-forward to librarians, but to an uninitiated patron the information may leave questions. Likewise, a patron may be on one page but thinking ahead to another problem or the next step in his or her research process. Having Ask-a-Librarian immediately available from wherever the patron may be on the library’s website ensures that he or she will be able to connect to help when needed.

3. If a patron is interacting with the library’s website, encounters a problem, and then has to recall where to go to find the Ask-a-Librarian service, the library has not succeeded in making the most of the service’s primary benefit to users – the ability to connect them instantly with a library professional who can solve their problem.

4. Consistent placement of the Ask-a-Librarian tab on your library’s webpages makes marketing the service via social media or flyers much easier. When the Ask-a-Librarian tab is on every page of your library website, there is no need to place an easily forgotten URL (or URLs) on your marketing materials – simply state that the Ask-a-Librarian service is available from every page on the library website and where it is located (“look for our Ask-a-Librarian tab in the upper left-hand corner of any page on the library site”).

5. Each Ask-a-Librarian query that comes from a specific page can help you improve the overall content and design of that page. When you have an Ask-a-Librarian chat box on every page, and you are tracking which pages queries come in from, this gives you the great benefit of an ongoing focus group indirectly telling you what works and what doesn’t work on every page of your library’s site.

Responding quickly to queries will help you provide the top-notch customer service that will keep your library patrons satisfied and returning for more business. To make sure your patrons submit those queries whenever they need help on your library’s site, you should have ask-a-librarian tabs on every page.


Mosio for Libraries
Patron Support Simplified

25 Great Text Messaging Acronyms You May or May Not Need to Know for Your Text-a-Librarian Service

Do you speak text?


Your patrons speak many languages, and you can’t learn them all. But one thing you can do to improve service to your patrons is familiarize yourself with some of the more common terms and phrases in their languages of preference. If your patron is text-savvy enough to be texting his or her librarian, then one of his or her languages of preference is chat and chances are he or she is up on the latest text messaging acronyms.

A great way to enhance chat service for your patrons and maximize your efficient use of time is to become familiar with some of the most common and helpful text messaging acronyms. Speaking your users’ languages, especially in online communications, will help them feel more comfortable and give that personal touch so they don’t feel like they are talking to a robot.

There are thousands of text messaging acronyms, but we want to stick to the ones that can be used in a professional environment and that are not too obscure. These are the ones your users will likely be using, and these are the ones that you should be using as well. You will want to tailor your chat acronym use to each session, gauging each individual user’s chat acronym expertise level by the acronyms that he or she uses him- or herself.

Here is a list of 25 text messaging acronyms which you can add to your arsenal of reference tools.

AAP – Always a pleasure
BIF – Before I forget
BRB – Be right back
BTW – By the way
EOM – End of message
F2F – Face to face
GL – Good luck
HAND – Have a nice day
IANAL – I am not a lawyer
IMA – I might add
IMO – In my opinion
IOW – In other words
ISWYM – I see what you mean
JIC – Just in case
OIC – Oh, I see
OTOH – On the other hand
PD – Public domain
SOW – Speaking of which
THX – Thanks
TTBOMK – To the best of my knowledge
TYVM – Thank you very much
WB – Welcome back
WRT – With regard to
WTG – Way to go!
YW – You’re welcome

The patron texting a question is typically expecting a quick response and librarians need to be prepared to answer text-a-librarian questions promptly. Lots of chat acronyms, such as ROFL and L8R, are designed for close friends. Your users may employ such acronyms, but you will want to restrict your use to the more professional ones such as those in the list above.

And if your patron sends you a puzzling collection of letters and you have no idea what they mean, Mosio’s text speak translator will give you the help you need with its 800+ text messaging acronym definitions.

Reasons to Use Mosio for SMS Text Message Reference at Your Library

This is a re-formatted version of our presentation that can be viewed on Slideshare, providing you with some basic information as to why more librarians choose Mosio to equip their libraries to communicate with patrons on the go.

The full presentation is embedded below.

Reasons to Use Mosio’s Text a Librarian

Mobile Carrier Approved Text Messaging Reference Software
Currently used in over 800 U.S. Public, Academic and Health Science Libraries

Connect With More Patrons On-the-Go

Mosio’s reliable and carrier-certified text messaging solutions for libraries.

Patrons Text Questions. Librarians Type Answers.

Receive and respond to patron text messages on a secure website, backed by a dedicated support team.

Affordable, Efficient, Reliable & Secure.

Pricing plans to fit all libraries with dozens of features to automate, collaborate, archive & report.

Easy to Implement. Easy to Use.

No hardware to buy. Nothing to install. No mobile phone needed.

Buzz and Testimonials

“Text a Librarian is a great way to expand library services and provide mobile patrons answers to simple questions.”
— Tracey Ray, Free Library of Philadelphia

“Answering questions was easy. I just sat down at the computer and when I saw a question come in, I clicked on the big red ‘Answer’ button and started typing.”
— ALA Ambassador at ALA Annual

“Mosio’s Text a Librarian is a great solution for us!”
— Emilie Smart, East Baton Rouge Parish Libraries

“Texting a librarian is no longer a myth thanks to, which is easy to implement and actually keeps patron phone numbers private.”
— Mirela Roncevic, Library Journal

Advantages & Benefits of Using Mosio

  • Easy to implement, simple to use and IT-friendly.
  • Free Inbound Text Messages.
  • Free Custom Auto Responders.
  • Patron privacy is safe. Your data is secure.
  • Run reports, gather stats and analyze usage.
  • Efficient for one librarian working alone or many working together.
  • Text a Librarian is not a hack. Hacks = Problems.
  • Competitively-priced. Feature-rich. Always improving.
  • We are technology compatible, perfect for Library 2.0.

We Offer Tools to Get You Started

We have training manuals, but you probably won’t need them.
Librarians are usually responding to questions within the first 5 minutes of logging in.
Our patron marketing materials make it easy to promote your service and have a successful launch.

Plus, our new Text For Instructions feature makes it easier than ever to explain how patrons can text you.
Text for Instructions encourages patrons to interact with Text a Librarian the moment they find out about it, maximizing your success in promoting the service.

Contact Us

For more information about how Mosio can connect your library with more patrons on the go, take a tour on our website, sign up for a free webinar, view a Text a Librarian webinar video, see our pricing and plans or contact us to discuss your needs.

Thanks and we look forward to speaking with you.
877-MOSIO-99 (667-4699)

View more presentations from Mosio

New TaL Feature: Holiday Auto Responders

Holiday Auto Responders…you can use them for anything, not just holidays!

In preparation for the upcoming holidays, the Mosio development team has been hard at work improving the Text a Librarian experience. Today we’d like to introduce a simple but helpful new feature: Holiday/One-time Auto Responders.

Everything is explained below as well as in your Text a Librarian microboard (click on New Features in your Quick Links module on the right side).

Text a Librarian Holiday/One-time Auto Responders


Holiday/One-time Auto Responders enable you to set up auto responders for any days that differ from your normal weekly hours (holidays, special events, etc).

There is a screen shot below showing you the auto responder creator screen; setting them up is incredibly simple. Note: You must be an Admin to add/edit Auto Responders.

Here’s how you set them:

1. Log in to Text a Librarian
2. Click on Auto Responder in the Microboard Administration Module on the right
3. Next click on the New Holiday Auto Responder link
4. From here, you can enter your message, along with the starting date/time, and ending date/time

You’re done! There’s no need to disable any of your regular auto responders since the holiday responder will take priority.

Screen shot…

Let us know if you have any questions.

Best regards and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Text a Librarian Team


Text a Librarian
Text Messaging Reference Simplified

Shiny New Things: Beware of Early Adoption When Implementing Technologies at Your Library

This post is from an entry I did a few months back for Attack!, a guerrilla and event marketing services agency I co-founded and where I served as President before co-founding Mosio, but the fundamental ideas are the same: new technologies and gadgets are great for those of us who love the newest shiny things to come out, but implementation and adoption at your organization is tricky at the bleeding edge. At Mosio / Text a Librarian, we see a full spectrum of technology interest/knowledge/experience in libraries, including a lot of librarians who are truly at the bleeding edge of new technologies and social media. I remain on the fence about QR Codes, but I certainly appreciate the enthusiasm. Rather than “Ctrl+F and Replace “Business” with “Library”, the original post is below, unchanged.

Being a marketing and technology fan, I was excited to read Ad Age’s Insights White Paper, Shiny New Things (pdf). Attack! has always been a very technology-friendly company. The mantra for our success is “People, Process and Technology” so I read the white paper on my flight to our LA office, excited to present some ideas I had brewing in my head along with any new nuggets of wisdom I found. In reading about the behavior and general importance of early adopters to brands and marketers, I couldn’t help but think how early adoption, while a passion (and sometimes expensive hobby) for many consumers, is dangerous for businesses. And as David Berkowitz points out, “many agencies will include it [the iPad] in their pitches and plans without thinking whether it’s the best platform for meeting their clients’ objectives.” It’s apparent that the danger of early adoption, for iPads or other shiny objects, can be easily overlooked in the search for innovation. Here’s why:

Shiny new things (SNTs) require employee training.
Regardless of how simple a Shiny New Thing (SNT) is to use, implementing it into your business requires implementation and training with some employees needing morHe than others. Implementing anything new into your business process needs careful thought so the learning curve and mistakes are minimized. Throwing SNTs into the mix increases your chances of confusing and/or frustrating your staff.

The first version is never the best, don’t bet the farm on Beta.
Every early adopter knows that the first version of a new technology is never the best. This means your business is subject to all of the glitches and bugs of the brand new product. It definitely pays to wait it out for the next version if you determine it is something that could prove beneficial to your employees or clients.

Shiny new things can make you lose focus.
I want an iPad. I want one badly. I think they’re a game changer for many industries and as I anticipated their arrival, I started brainstorming all of the possible ways Attack! could use them for our client projects. I’ll admit, I also tried to brainstorm how I could use one at work, ready to enlighten my partners on a revelation in Non Traditional Marketing Agency Management. My “Reasons Partners Should Get iPads” brainstorm notes are below:

There’s nothing wrong with getting an iPad because you want one and we’re headed to the Apple store at lunch to get them, but the mistake in the above thinking that it was rooted in “a solution looking for a problem”: I tried to think of reasons an iPad could be useful rather than thinking of all of the inefficiencies and challenges needing solutions and concluding that the iPad was the perfect tool to solve them. There is great wisdom in knowing the difference.

If you absolutely can’t resist…
There’s nothing wrong with being an early adopter. It’s great (and fun) to be in search of the New New Thing, of new ways of being innovative at your company. Some of the best ideas come out of being open to new technologies and products that can help your business grow. If you can’t resist the temptation to look for new technologies to implement, here are a few things to consider:

Make a list of your challenges and areas of improvement needed at your company.
By defining what it is that you need to improve on, ways your employees can improve process and efficiencies, when SNTs show up, you’ll know instantly where there is a fit. You’ll have a problem looking for a solution. We’ve recently defined several areas in our business where text messaging can improve efficiencies in our Account Management teams and can be sold as add-on services by our Account Executives. The end result will be time saved, archived data in contractor communications and additional revenues to our programs by giving events and street campaigns a longer tail.

Create a new technologies decision phase.
It’s pointless to tell early adopters to wait. Early adopters wait long enough hearing rumors, seeing leaked photos, specs and standing in lines to get their beloved new technologies. Instead, implement an internal timeline and process where you will explore if and how a SNT can help your company. Start with 60 days. Use the time to attend demos, identify pros and cons and ultimately make an informed decision on how you will implement the SNT into your business. You might need more than 60 days, but after the launch of a product, that should be long enough to help you determine if it will be good for business and also to hear about when the next version is coming out. See if you can wait for version 2.0.

Know which employees are technology-friendly and who aren’t.
This will be helpful in the implementation and training phase. Employees who are excited about new technologies can be the ones who help you test them out before you decide they should be implemented and they can help you educate the others who are less comfortable. If over 50% of your employees are not technology-friendly, every new SNT you add will be a struggle, so it’s best to pick your battles. If you have an employee or two helping you test things out in the new technologies decision phase, make sure they understand that you ARE testing out the technology against your needs, not trying to find a place for it to work.

Know when to cut bait.
You should default to “we don’t need this” then see if the solution it creates beats the need to let it go. But, as soon as it becomes apparent (hopefully sooner than later), stop testing the technology and let it go. Your time is valuable, your employees time is valuable, so there’s no point in hanging on to wait and see if something magical will happen.

I’m off to buy my iPad…because they’re awesome and I want one.

Patron Relationship Management (PRM) – Mosio’s Future in Libraries

As we gear up for another ALA Annual the company has had some interesting discussions on new announcements and our directions in the world of library software.

A couple of weeks ago I had a great meeting/conversation with one of our partners and the discussion of library customer service came up. At the end of our partner meeting, someone said “we can give patrons access to all of the data in the world, but if we aren’t there for them from a customer service standpoint, it won’t matter.” Very true. Andy Woodworth’s blog post “Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be the Best Thing (…Right Now)” [link below] came up in an internal company meeting, specifically his two points about customer service and advocacy (from the comments it seems the post got a lot of people talking).

The idea of improved customer service, whether at libraries or businesses in general, will continue to be a significant function of an organization’s success in the information age. Aaron Tay’s recent blog post about regularly scanning Twitter and the web for feedback is great (he gives some tips on how to do so) [link below], obviously taking a page from what many companies are doing as part of their customer service: listening to social media mentions for good and bad comments. Neither are the first to talk about the ongoing need for pro-active/reactive customer service in libraries, but both are current and relevant.

So what does this mean for Mosio and Text a Librarian?

We’re still very new to libraries and we LOVE working with them. Frankly, we’re just getting started. While we have friends who are librarians and have a handful of amazing people advising us, we’re not librarians ourselves, nor have we ever pretended to be. In many ways we see this as a distinct advantage to building our product: we cast aside any preconceived ideas of how things should be done and focus instead on simplicity, usability and feedback from our customers. We also know the inner workings of mobile technologies, enabling us to offer reliable (and certified) mobile services to libraries. We recently made an announcement that Mosio’s Text a Librarian is being used by over 500 academic and public libraries. It’s something we’re very proud to have accomplished in such a short amount of time, but we could not have done it without listening to the people who matter most to our success, the librarians who use our software with the benefit of communicating with more patrons on-the-go. The combination of our expertise and passion about creating an amazing library service will continue to be the keys to our ongoing success.

Text Messaging: It’s Not Just for Reference Anymore

In the same announcement we also mentioned that Mosio is now offering our full list of mobile services to libraries. Text messaging can be used for so many things beyond virtual reference and we’re set up to offer additional services to the benefit of our customers. We’re thrilled to be able to continue working with new and existing customers in offering technology solutions that will help us fulfill our vision for our library software: Patron Relationship Management.

Patron Relationship Management

We truly believe this is going to be one of the key tools libraries will need in the future to maintain great patron relationships and relevance in the community. Two comments we hear often are “I wish we could answer all patron questions this way” and “I wish everything could be in one place.” One of those comments we take as a compliment, the other we are taking seriously as a wish list item. Our goal for Text a Librarian was always to start simply, create web-based software that’s easy to use, reliable and certified by the mobile carriers, then grow additional features, elements and uses to continue giving more patrons access to libraries on their mobile phones. You can expect to see more from us in the mobile technology space, but every new product or service we add will have patron communications and relationship management in mind.


Andy Woodworth: Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be the Best Thing (…Right Now)
Aaron Tay: Why libraries should proactively scan Twitter & the web for feedback – some examples
LISWire: Mosio’s Text a Librarian in Over 500 Libraries, Announces Add-On Mobile Services

Answer Text Message Questions With QuestionPoint

Today Mosio’s Text a Librarian goes live with OCLC’s QuestionPoint.  Libraries who are customers of both can choose to have text message questions show up and be answered in QuestionPoint.

Librarians who are staffing QuestionPoint will be able to immediately answer text questions, noticeable by a “TXT MSG” prefix and a new answering interface.

Text message questions and answers will be included in QuestionPoint’s reporting.

Of course, all of your Text a Librarian functionality still works too.  Patrons can still text for instructions, autoresponders will be sent when the library is closed, and message footers will be added to promote library events.  Messages will be threaded inside of QuestionPoint as they are in Text a Librarian, so you can easily carry out a full conversation.

TAL marketing materials are still available from your login, so be sure to promote your service!

As lead developer at Mosio, I want to send a big thank you to OCLC’s team for helping us make this happen. They were all a pleasure to work with.

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for our weekly webinars.

Text a Librarian’s Post to Twitter Button and Why It’s Great: User Generated Marketing for Libraries

Post Your Library’s Questions and Answers to Twitter

A “Post to Twitter” button on websites isn’t a new functionality, but after giving it some thought, we decided to add it to Text a Librarian. The reason? It’s User Generated Content that engages patrons and markets your library services.

SEO + Social Marketing + Patron Engagement
People searching online often type out an entire question in the search box, rather than just a few keywords, to see what results come up. Tweets are indexed by search engines like Google, Bing and soon Yahoo and when an individual searches online by typing out a question, your reference Q&A can appear in search results (aka helpful service + free marketing).

Here’s an excellent example of how the New York Public Library’s AskNYPL tweet of the question “What is the wingspan of a swallow?” is now indexed on Google, marketing their reference services.

Tweeting user generated content of funny, interesting and helpful questions and answers also engages Twitter-following patrons (and their followers through re-tweets) and informs them about your library’s reference services. We’ve seen great uses of Twitter by libraries engaging patrons with reference trivia and daily fun facts.

Spreading Love for Your Library
Many libraries are using Text a Librarian beyond questions and answers as a virtual suggestion box and for patron ideas and opinions about library services (questions, comments and feedback). When a patron texts good ideas and positive feedback, you can use the post to Twitter button to spread the love.

How Do I Start Using It? (for existing Text a Librarian customers):
The Post to Twitter button is an optional function of your service, controlled by your library’s Admin. Please visit the New Features section of your Text a Librarian microboard for details on how to turn it on.

New! Simple but Effective Feature: Text for Instructions

“Aren’t you oversimplifying this? Yes. That’s the whole point.”

From the Steve Krug’s new book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy

We’ve added a simple, but very effective feature we call “Text for Instructions.”

Simply stated, it means your patrons only have to text your keyword to 66746 for instructions on how to use your service.

What happens next?
1. Your patrons get an auto-responder with instructions on saving your keyword and the number 66746 to their contacts for when they need to ask you a question. The instructions include a link to a mobile web page with detailed instructions in case they need them.

It acts like a registration system that gets them started with your service without having to have a pressing question or message on-the-spot. They save your info in their phones for later when they do.

2. The Mosio system assigns the phone number a PatronID associated with your account, so after that all they need to do is text their question to 66746.

That’s it!

Note: The old way of texting your keyword + their message to 66746 still works, no problem. But this way patrons can see your poster (example below) or promotional materials, text for instructions, then save everything in their contacts when they need it later.

If you’re a Mosio / Text a Librarian customer and want more specific information about it, like how you can customize/edit the instructions, it’s listed in the New Features section inside your account.