Category Archives: SMS Reference

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
http://mosio.com/libraries

Virtual reference from your Facebook page via the Facebook mobile and iPad apps with Mosio for Libraries

How to set up your library’s Facebook Page to launch your Mosio for Libraries widget inside of Facebook Mobile and iPad Apps.

^Yes, it’s a mouthful, but bear with us, this is pretty cool.

Mosio recently launched a Facebook App enabling you to add your chat/email/text messaging widget to your Facebook Pages. The app is getting a lot of excitement from our customers and naturally we got a request from a library asking us about making it work in Facebook mobile (the app or mobile web). Creating a Facebook App doesn’t automatically mean it will be an app in Facebook Mobile. Well we found a way to make it work and we’re going to show you how, right now. In fact, to do this you’re not even using the Mosio Facebook App, you’ll see the how/why in a second.

What you’ll need:
1) Mosio for Libraries
2) Bitly or another url shortening service
3) A Facebook Page

Step 1: Launch your Mosio widget from the tab or button on your website’s page and copy the url inside the widget.
mosio_facebook_mobile_widget

 

Step 2: Paste the url into the Paste a Link Here field (look for the puffer fish if you’re using Bitly)
After you do this, you can create a custom url name after bit.ly/YOURCUSTOMNAMEHERE. “askaquestion” was taken, so we used hyphens for the same effect.
bitly_paste_a_link

 

Step 3: Find a place (or places) in your Facebook Page to paste the link
We pasted ours in the Description/About sections, but you can also upload a photo and paste the url in the description of a photo. The screen shots below show it on iPhone, iPad and also the photo we uploaded of an Ask a Question button.

mosio_facebook_mobile2 mosio_facebook_ipad1 mosio_facebook_askaq_button_facebookapp

 

Step 4: That’s it! When someone clicks on the link it will open inside the Facebook Mobile or iPad App.
If a patron is accessing your library’s Facebook Page from the web via a smartphone or tablet it will open up in a new browser window.

mosio_facebook_mobile3 mosio_facebook_ipad2

If you’re a Mosio customer and you need any assistance, you can use our support widgets to get you the help you need. If you’re a library looking to support patrons from all channels (Online Chat, Text Messaging, Email and Facebook) through a simple, web-based dashboard, please consider Mosio for Libraries. We have plans for all sized libraries.

Have a wonderful day!

The Mosio Team

Mosio for Libraries
Patron Support Simplified
http://mosio.com/libraries

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

Do you speak text?

Mosio_TextSpeak_Translator

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.

Moose Jaw Public Library’s Text a Librarian Service – Great Video Coverage (Canada)

This video popped up in our alerts and we thought it was so great we had to pass it along.

Great job Moose Jaw Public Library in getting up and running and EXCELLENT work getting some news coverage!

 

moosejaw

How to Text a Librarian [VIDEO COMPILATION]

Hello!

We found a batch of “how to” videos about Text a Librarian and wanted to share them in a single place where you can watch them. As we’ve recently mentioned, getting patrons to register their phones is the best way we’re seeing a serious increase in usage from libraries. If you’re looking for some inspiration on creating a video to promote and announce your service, here’s a few to help you with your process.

Remember that the single best way to get patrons to text in is to simply tell them:
“Text YOURLIBRARYKEYWORD to 66746 for instructions.”

Make sure you update YOURLIBRARYKEYWORD for your own. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all we have for now. Looking to implement text messaging services at your library? Consider Mosio’s Text a Librarian, currently used in over 800 libraries across the US and Canada.

 

Message & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to 66746 to opt-out.
Text HELP to 66746 for help.

Privacy

Text Messaging for Libraries – Mosio’s Alerts and Announcements Feature Guide

Text Messaging Alerts and Announcements – Stay in touch with more patrons on their mobile phones!

Mosio’s Text a Librarian is the only mobile carrier certified text messaging solution built specifically for libraries, giving libraries the reliability and flexibility they need to stay top of mind for more patrons on the go.

This quick instructional video is part of the Text a Librarian Alerts Guide, instructing libraries on the best way to set up and use the alerts and announcements feature on their Text a Librarian microboard.

We’re announcing more new multi-channel features soon, but to learn more about how Mosio can help your library connect with more patrons, visit us at www.textalibrarian.com – If you’re a current Mosio / Text a Librarian customer, the video is below.

 

Library Thought Leaders Q&A: Courtney Young (Penn State Greater Allegheny)

Today’s library thought leader is Courtney Young, Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Penn State Greater Allegheny.

Hi Courtney, thanks so much for your time, here we go…What does the idea of Patron Relationship Management in libraries mean to you?
For me, Patron Relationship Management means a supportive collaboration. That includes getting to know your users, provide them with the types of services they expect, and create opportunities for your patrons to discover something new at your library. PRM is outreach, opportunity, and advocacy rolled into one.

You were recently the Twitter moderator for Library Journal’s “Power to the Patron” virtual tech summit. What ideas stuck out to you in the convergence of patron empowerment and technology?
I was really impressed with the creative ways libraries were bringing content of interest to their communities as well as improving access to their resources using technology. The walking tour of San Jose mobile site drawing from images in the library’s collection takes digitizing a collection to a new level. Cuyahoga County Public Library’s decision to stop tattle taping their print collection and encouraging self check-out via a mobile app is the ultimate in patron empowerment. These projects and others from the tech summit highlighted that being user focus has changed, and the implementation of these services using technology effectively provides an opportunity for patron empowerment. Dan DeSanto summed it up during his talk on the Long Trail digital collection when he noted by creating mobile apps libraries create access to digital collection at “point of interest”.

It feels a little odd to say libraries “compete” with other entities, but when it comes to patron attention, companies, social networks and the media are all competing. What can libraries do to maintain the attention they have? Is it different for Academic Libraries vs. Public?
Libraries will likely continue to do the type of work that users traditionally expect, but it is very important that we continue to transform in the eyes of our users by experimenting with new models for providing information and other resources to our respective communities. The “Power to the Patron” virtual tech summit presentations are a glimpse into the possibilities for libraries to capture and maintain that attention. Outreach and advocacy must go hand-in-hand with strategic risk-taking. It is also important that no matter what libraries decide to do they must do it well.

While the missions of academic and public libraries can make the way this is carried out look different, there is definitely overlap in strategies for keeping your users’ attention. This includes awareness of user needs and implementing programs and services to meet those needs. It has been my experience when having conversations with public and school library colleagues there are more commonalities than differences. Sometimes we use different terminology, but our goals are usually the same.

What is an example (technology-oriented or not) of how a library has done a great job with “customer/patron service”?
There are a lot of libraries out there doing an excellent job with “customer/patron service”.  There are school libraries lending e-readers to students, a program that not only fosters literacy skills but also technology skills. There are public libraries providing diverse programming and events such as author lectures, live musical performances, book groups, and technology training. There are academic libraries collaborating with students to allow them to create LibGuides from the student perspective as well as teach software functionality skills (ex. creating high-impact tables and graphs, working with images to create slides for presentations). All these examples and more illustrate positive PRM.

What tips or resources do you have for libraries looking to improve patron experiences and service?
Educate your staff so they have the tools to succeed. They know and build relationships with your patrons, so their understanding of new programs, services, and technologies will allow them to directly provide patrons with positive experiences. Decide what skills everyone needs and what members of your team should become specialists or experts with certain products or services.

Ask for feedback from your library users and your staff. Not only will you find out what could be done better, but you may be surprised to find out what you are doing well.

Identify libraries providing the types of services and programs you want to provide at your library and contact them for advice and strategies. The library community is very generous with its time and eager to share information. In addition to how they decided to implement a particular program or service, you can often find out what modifications they made as a result or approaches they would have liked to have taken if they were planning it again for the first time.

Thanks for your time and insights!
Thank you again for the opportunity!

About Courtney:
Courtney Young is currently Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Penn State Greater Allegheny. Courtney is an active leader in the American Library Association (ALA), serving on the ALA Executive Board and as a past President of the New Members Round Table. In 2011, Courtney was named a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker”, recognized as a Change Agent for her ability to successfully make connections among a diversity of duties in her library, on campus, and in the profession. She graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio with a B.A. in English and minors in Black Studies and Women’s Studies.  She received her M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College.

Before coming to Penn State Greater Allegheny, Courtney worked at The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, where she received a Staff Achievement Award as the assistant instruction librarian, and Penn State’s University Park and Beaver campuses. Courtney frequently presents and publishes on issues related to academic librarianship, diversity, African American studies, women’s studies, virtual reference, and professional development.

Follow Courtney on Twitter at @librarycourtney and visit her blog at http://librarycourtney.blogspot.com/

Integrated Library Systems – All library software providers using text messaging need to do it the right way

Everyone is texting and it is not likely to be going away any time soon. That means libraries looking to communicate with patrons on their mobile phones need to rely on the best and most reliable ways for deploying mobile technologies. There is a lot of hype around mobile apps and we love them too, but text messaging is the best way to reach literally everyone and it can be deployed at a fraction of the cost of developing and managing a mobile app. With the popularity of text messaging, we see a lot of software providers in the library space circumventing short codes, truly the only approved way to send and receive text messages.

What about ILS integration?
We get asked this a lot, it makes sense and we’re having discussions with potential partners where we feel we will add the most value to our libraries and patrons. The problem we’re seeing in general is that many software companies in the library industry are doing their best to add text messaging, yet doing it in a way that is not permitted or certified by the mobile carriers or the CTIA (the wireless association).

Permitted and certified text messaging can only be done using a 5 or 6 digit short code.
It is truly the only way a software provider can add text messaging to their service and be compliant. Sending emails to text message email addresses (aka SMTP to SMS) or using 10 digit texting numbers are not permitted and there will soon be a bigger crackdown on companies attempting to provide text messaging solutions.

I recently asked the CTIA for a response about 10 digit texting numbers being used by software companies of all types (not just libraries). Here’s the response I received:
“the carrier community is not pleased with the circumvention of the consumer protections that are part of the short code environment. CTIA’s position, developed in collaboration with our carrier members, is that all commercial messaging–the so-called “A2P” traffic, belongs on a short code and must be subject to the controls and monitoring that apply to short code campaigns.  We oppose the abuse of the person-to-person (P2P) channels for commercial messaging.”
Note: [P2P = 10 digit texting numbers]

“The guidelines that the CTIA board adopted in October (http://files.ctia.org/pdf/Inter-Carrier_SMS_Guidelines_v3-as_adopted10-11-11.pdf ) are pretty clear about that: 
‘These recommendations apply to regular 10-digit dialable telephone numbers and expressly exclude A2P campaigns. It is recommended that A2P traffic utilize messaging channels established to support Common Short Codes (www.USShortCodes.com).’”

So why are we sharing this info?
After hearing our customers (or potential customers) echo incorrect information that they’d been told, read or assumed, as a company we felt the need to get and share an official statement from the mobile industry. Mosio strives to make mobile messaging easier to understand for our customers, partners, developers and anyone who is interested in deploying text messaging as a part of communications with their members, patrons, students, employees and event attendees. We pride ourselves in knowing what is available, how to navigate the waters of this rapidly changing industry and make the most informed decisions possible.

If you have any questions about deploying text messaging applications the correct way, please feel free to contact us, whether you are a customer or not. We want to do our part to educate the marketplace so mobile messaging is done correctly, securely and permitted.

Fill out my online form.

160 characters is a lot more info than you’d think (Mosio lets you send 320 or more, just in case)

We get asked how much information can be shared via text message. Not surprisingly, many people don’t think it is much, even considering the average mobile user manages to share a lot of info with friends, family and co-workers texting from their mobile phones.

In 1984 when SMS (Text Messaging) was invented, Friedhelm Hillebrand decided on 160 characters because it was the average amount of characters that fit on a typical postcard in those he counted. The postcard above (written by Rush drummer Neil Peart in 1984, the very same year SMS was invented) is 254 characters including sign off and his name. If you haven’t seen one of Neil’s drum solos, they are truly amazing, but also a tad longer than your average rock drum solo and worth every second (scroll to the 6 minute mark in the video below if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing).

98.15 Characters (61.4%)

That is the average number of characters in an outbound response from our clients to their patrons, students and customers. The important thing to remember is that ultimately, users understand the medium they’re using. Text messaging is conversational and short, but plenty of information can be shared in a single text message.

So what does 160 characters look like?

Here’s my personal favorite quote (from Charles Kingsley), I try to live by it every day. 159 characters including the quotation marks:
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”

For Text a Librarian customers who are less like Charles Kingsley and more like Neil Peart, we enabled you to send longer responses, automatically breaking them over several text messages when needed.

Library Thought Leaders Q&A: Lisa Carlucci Thomas


Today’s Library Thought Leader is Lisa Carlucci Thomas, Director of design think do.

We have been exploring the idea of “Patron Relationship Management” (PRM) and it is the theme of this Q&A series. What areas of PRM are you seeing where libraries can benefit the most? What roles can mobile technologies play?
Libraries employ a variety of methods to establish and maintain quality service relationships with customers. Defining a patron relationship management (PRM) strategy ensures that library services align with the vision and goals of the institution and sets the standard for service consistency. As emerging information technologies have driven demand for new library communication channels, we’ve seen increased interest in the use of mobile and social tools to promote interactivity, expand outreach, market programs, and enhance the library service experience across digital platforms, and in our physical spaces, too. PRM tools offer integrated solutions to help libraries identify needs and priorities, obtain and assess feedback, and strengthen customer relationships.

While all libraries strive to deliver timely, effective, and seamless service to their users, many operate with minimal staffing and limited financial resources, which inhibit opportunities to take even modestly innovative risks. When you factor in the steady technological advancements of the last five years alone, combined with the outstanding cultural shift taking place in the way we collectively communicate and interact with information, what’s needed now and what’s realistic for libraries to implement right way become very different conversations. Meanwhile, patron expectations continue to evolve, and mobile users seeking mobile access to library services and collections expect to find what they need readily available. What they’re actually finding ranges from splendidly concise library mobile websites and mobile searchable catalogs to advanced and complex apps; from straightforward SMS reference services to mobile-social communities via Facebook and Twitter; from value-added mobile services (QR codes, augmented reality, place-based digital collections, research guides, and more) to no mobile services at all. How do you prioritize services and engage users across the spectrum of mobile interest? Early adopters are now adept at navigating the mobile information experience, and fledgling users expect those delivering the information to anticipate their needs.

Patron relationship management via text messaging supports mobile users at all levels of engagement by promoting direct, responsive, communication, and allows libraries to address and assess mobile information needs of their unique customer base. Mobile PRM expands the SMS reference concept to combine marketing, outreach, and interactivity to meet a broader need for information services beyond the reference inquiry. A study of the Text a Librarian statistics at Southern Connecticut State University, where I implemented and managed SMS reference from 2010-2011, determined a 60/40 split between reference and non-reference mobile interactions. As more libraries provide mobile offerings, including patron self-service features, mobile payments, room reservations and program registrations, and access to ebooks and digital collections, expect non-reference communications from mobile users to increase.

Social media is such a hot button topic for libraries as well as companies in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). How do you respond to libraries that say “Ok, we have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Now what?
Consider how these accounts support the communications and PRM strategy of the organization. Actually, this should be part of the first step, along with determining the name and brand that will be used to represent the organization. If you have the accounts already, make the time to have these discussions retrospectively. Document the organization’s social media objectives and priorities. Include a flexible structure and expect it to evolve. Train staff in social media norms and culture, functional use of the technology, and how and which channels to use for different types of content, and why. Staff the position like any public service. It’s not enough to simply monitor accounts; social media is proactive and interactive. Connect with others and build a network; this is your audience and community. Publish regular content, communicate with and respond to users, set goals, and track and assess progress. Who in the organization will be responsible for delivering timely, informed, interesting, valuable content on a regular basis? If multiple staff members will participate, who will manage the service and ensure consistency? Who will answer incoming questions across the organization’s social media channels and adequately and appropriately represent the organization’s vision and values? Who will manage analytics and report on statistics? Who will determine what content will be archived and how? Social media offers short-term, immediate engagement opportunities which can have long-term effect on consumer interest and loyalty. The advantages are high; the barrier to entry, generally, low. Libraries and organizations can work with partners, peers, and firms like design think do to establish an action plan for implementing and assessing communications, marketing, and PRM strategies via social media.

What is the most innovative new technology you’ve seen or heard about? Is there a way libraries can and should utilize it?
Mobile technologies, and related developments in the mobile-social information environment, are a driving force for innovation today. It’s difficult to pick just one aspect of mobile tech and call it “the most innovative” especially since we’re in a time of constant development, advancement, and growth, and mobile culture has widespread, cross-industry implications. Smart phones, such as iPhone and Android devices, multi-functional e-readers and tablet devices, such as the iPad, B&N Nook, and Kindle Fire are all being used to search, access, store, create, organize and interact with information. This is all still new technology to many of us; and even for the mobile-proficient, next generation devices and new applications with increased functionality and complexity continue to vex and inspire. Furthermore, expanding public interest in mobile services, including access to e-books and digital content, is fueling controversy related to digital publication, distribution, and licensing, for libraries, publishers, vendors, and organizations of all types. Libraries can and should utilize mobile technologies within the context of their organizational priorities and community needs. At minimum, librarians should actively learn about the changes that are taking place in the mobile sphere and consider how mobile technologies, social media, PRM and related innovations fit the goals and objectives of their libraries.

Thanks so much for your time! In closing, what are some great resources (along with contacting you, of course) for libraries looking to improve patron experiences and service?
Selected resources on mobile libraries, mobile culture, and patron self- service:

About Lisa:
Lisa Carlucci Thomas is a nationally recognized librarian and author known for her leadership, innovation, and research on mobile and social technologies. Her expertise includes ebooks, mobile libraries, social media, and technology trends and training. Lisa is the Director of design think do, providing custom creative services and innovation consulting for libraries and information organizations interested in mobile culture and services, ebook workflows and licensing, new media, and professional development programs. Lisa’s recent projects include the Library Journal Virtual Tech Summit: Power to the Patron: From Systems to Services and the Connecticut Library Consortium’s “Trendspotting 2011: eBooks: Collections at the Crossroads” symposium. Lisa is a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker  and 2009 ALA Emerging Leader. She previously managed library systems and digital initiatives at Southern Connecticut State University, and access services and digital collections at the Yale University Library. She writes the Social Eyes column for the Journal of Web Librarianship.

Contact:
Lisa Carlucci Thomas
http://lisacarlucci.com
lisa@lisacarlucci.com
twitter: @lisacarlucci

Director, design think do
http://designthinkdo.org
http://www.facebook.com/designthinkdo
twitter: @designthinkdo

Do you know a library thought leader (maybe you?) who’d be great for our Q&A series? Contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.