Tag Archives: Library Industry

4 Ways Text Messaging Can Improve Your Patron Communications


A recent Pew study revealed that 80 percent of American cell phone owners use text messaging as a means of communication, sending or receiving an average of 41.5 text messages per day. For the 18-24 age group, 97 percent of cell phone owners text, sending or receiving an average of 109.5 texts per day.

One look at these numbers and you know instantly how to reach a majority of your current library patrons and an even greater majority of tomorrow’s library patrons: via text.

Text messaging is a fast and efficient means of communicating with your library patrons and there are many ways in which you can use text messaging to improve your patron communications. Here are just a few types of messages you can communicate to your patrons via text:

1. Circulation Notices Such as Holds and Overdues.

Emails today convey much less of a sense of urgency than they did a few years ago, especially to younger library patrons. To catch your users’ attention with important circulation notices, try sending them via text instead of email. This way, they can act on the notices immediately.

2. Promotional Polls and Contests

A great way to keep your patrons engaged is to link promotions to programming and other library events. Your library can have contests where you send out polls or questions via text for prizes such as first row seats to an upcoming speaker (ie. “The first three patrons to text us the author of Tender Is the Night win front row seats to our October Author Speaker Series Event”). You can also hold a text vote to choose between two programming possibilities for an upcoming date.

3. URLs to Newsletters or Other Library Publications

Does your library publish a monthly newsletter? A terrific way to get the newsletter into the hands of your patrons so they may have immediate access is to send them a short text with the URL right when it is published. Your patrons can be reading the newsletter that your staff worked so hard on literally within seconds of publication.

4. Programming Reminders

In today’s fast-paced and information-packed world, we need to be reminded of things. A great way to promote your library programs is to send your patrons text reminders of upcoming events, along with URLs linking to further information if available. This way, they can check their schedules on the go and even add the events directly from your text to their calendars.

Try these text messaging tips to improve communications at your library. We think your patrons will appreciate it.

The iPad, Tablets and E-Readers in Libraries: Game Changers or Are They Just Another Mobile Technology?

My wife loves to read magazines and books every night after work. I love to read articles on my iPhone. The problem is that when you’re reading a magazine or a book, it’s obvious what you’re doing. When I’m “reading” my iPhone, in her eyes, I’m working. Yes, some of them are articles, news and blog posts about work, but many other times they are not. I can’t think of too many other reasons currently why I’d like an iPad, which is being announced by Apple tomorrow.

Note: I have $.50 riding on the fact that it’s called an iPad and plan on using my winnings to pay for half of a bus ride on MUNI.

There has been a lot of talk around the office about what this and other e-readers will do for the publishing industry and we’ve signed up to get our Kindle Devloper’s Kit, but based on some of the recent news and talks that happened at ALA Midwinter recently, it got me thinking again about libraries and how e-readers and specifically the iPad will change or not change libraries.

Here’s what I’ve determined: Outside of the discussions going on about mobile technologies in libraries, I don’t think it will change it too much. The iPad will offer some great new graphic interfaces where buttons will be bigger, browsing experiences will be more tactile (as the iPhone and other mobile phones do), but e-readers and libraries becoming more mobile-friendly will play into the fact that an iPad will just be a bigger version of the iPhone. Obviously at this point I haven’t seen one, so I’ll update if I’m wrong, but I can’t help myself in thinking people will be holding up the iPad to their ears as a silly joke, looking like they’re talking on an iPhone.

So we’re back to mobile. Do I think libraries should start spending money and resources to develop iPad Apps? Absolutely not. In fact, we don’t think libraries should spend money and resources on iPhone Apps. If you need some great reasons, Michelle Kraft (AKA the Krafty Librarian) just wrote a great piece called “Stop the App Madness” and Jason Griffey’s proclamation of 2010 being the Death of the App is actually something we’ve talked about a lot over here. And while it’s great to see these things talked about in the library community, we’ve noticed that Google is betting on the mobile web, plus some research stating that the cloud will replace mobile apps (and their stores) in the next five years.

All of this said, I’m looking forward to seeing how the iPad and e-readers “change” libraries, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to seeing what it looks like and ultimately what it does, other than to let my wife know I’m reading and not answering work emails.