Tag Archives: mosio

Library Thought Leaders Q&A: Mary-Carol Lindbloom (Executive Director South Central Regional Library Council)

Today’s library thought leader is Mary-Carol Lindbloom, the Executive Director for the South Central Regional Library Council in New York state.

When did you get started in reference, and more specifically virtual reference?

In the summer of 1999, when a group of us, including Tom Peters, Lori Bell, and Ginny McCoy, met in person at Eureka College (IL) to brainstorm a grant for an academic virtual reference collaborative. Eureka, indeed! Initially, as we thought about the grant, we planned to staff the virtual desk afternoons only. But it was a grant—why not experiment and use that opportunity to explore 24/7 virtual reference? Would students and others really use the service in the middle of the night? The grant application was successful, so we used that opportunity to find out. I was the project director for the grant and Bernie Sloan was the evaluator who analyzed such areas as time of day, days of week, questions, etc. I have only been involved with virtual reference in a collaborative environment—the service was planned, implemented, and delivered collaboratively. That project was called Ready for Reference; a year later we combined with a public library virtual reference service to form My Web Librarian; eventually MWL merged with AskAwayIllinois.

How did you come up with the idea for My Info Quest?

I personally didn’t! Many of us had been working with virtual reference for over a decade at that point, and Lori Bell, who worked at the Alliance Library System in Peoria in 2009, raised the question about SMS texting as a service platform for the 21st century. She was able to secure funding to test this; when the funding ended, the project continued as a library/library system-sustained program. SCRLC had been involved in MIQ from the get-go, so we took over some of the leadership after the Illinois library systems merged.

If you were to start it again, what would you do differently?

I would have a business plan from the get-go. Several virtual reference cooperatives have started with grant funding, and find it very challenging to move from grant funding to library-sustained. I might explore grant funding to study certain aspects of the service, but at the core, there has to be a committed group of libraries willing to pay for the service. There also has to be ample funding for a project coordinator/director and marketing—marketing to two difference audiences (librarians and library users).

What advice do you have to anyone looking to manage a cooperative?

This advice pertains to a virtual reference cooperative! Ensure you have adequate time and funding to devote to the process, including time to evaluate and analyze. If you do not have a general business plan or strategic plan, get with your group and develop one—include goals and objectives. As with all library positions in the 21st century (and all centuries, for that matter!), there are multiple components to manage within a virtual reference cooperative. Be comfortable with ambiguity and change—it is cliché but those are the constants—especially change. In addition to time spent on the actual desk answering questions, in MIQ there are scheduling, marketing, best practices, standards/policies, recruitment, training, and sustainability. Ensure that training is interactive, even at a distance. Sharon Kim, our current coordinator, has used Google Neighborhood and GoToMeeting to train librarians and students (we have student librarians in this service, as well). She developed practice questions that also lead trainees through the service’s best practices. Set up a Google Group to communicate (this is used to sent pointers, meeting notices, participants request temporary desk shift changes, other information, etc.). Try to meet virtually on a regular basis (we have monthly meetings for those who can tune in). Develop working groups, as needed—one wonderful aspect of being part of a collaborative service is that we don’t have to go it alone! MIQ has a culture where participants feel safe and comfortable in expressing and contributing their ideas.

What does virtual reference look like in the future?

Most libraries reachable to their users via virtual reference services! The number of libraries that are not reachable via virtual reference, i.e., SMS text and web-based chat, is amazing to me. In point-of-need service, which many of us try to provide, users/members/patrons must be able to walk in, phone, email, text, or chat up the reference desk. If I recall, according to one of the Pew studies, 31% of texters prefer texting to talking—and that was a study that included young adults but not teens. If we are to stay relevant to future users, we absolutely have to be reachable to users in all ways. I would like to see libraries rival the commercial chat services, e.g., ChaCha—to be the go-to service for questions that increasingly our smart phones can’t answer. And I do think that is a factor. We’re seeing less “ready reference” questions in our service and more library-related. With the increase in smart phone ownership, I think that those folks are finding their own quick answers. VR still enables us to be the human behind the machine! But…it could go the other way—with budget and time challenges, there could be fewer individual libraries offering their users this capability, and cooperatives could dissolve. Hopefully that only occurs in an anti-universe far, far away! My hope: All users are met at their point of need 24/7/365, by librarians—that our libraries are relevant, valued, and supported by our communities! I would also like to see VR become such a standard part of library service that there is no need for lists in the Wikipedia of libraries that offer virtual reference (or SMS text reference). When is the last time you saw a list of libraries that offer phone or email reference?

What is a current trend in libraries that interests you?

Just one? The effect of patron-driven-acquisitions on resource sharing and collection development; trends in texting for information; best practices for continuing education delivered via distance learning; assessment and the relationship between student outcomes and library services.

Ok, now ask us a question.

Where do you see Mosio for Libraries in five-years, including…..any plans for a back-up reference service?

About Mary-Carol Lindbloom: Mary-Carol is the Executive Director for the South Central Regional Library Council. SCRLC is a non-profit, multi-type library consortium, operating under charter by the New York State Board of Regents. It has member libraries located in the counties of Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The members include academic, corporate, hospital, public, school, and non-profit libraries.

Facebook: South Central Regional Library Council
Twitter: SCRLC
LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mary-carol-lindbloom/6/a85/24a

Mosio Partners with Tshwane University of Technology for its First Library Solution in South Africa

Mosio Partners with Tshwane University of Technology for its First Library Solution in South Africa

Leading virtual reference software for libraries, enabling two-way communications between staff and students via live chat, email, text messaging and Facebook, now available in South Africa
mosioforlibraries_microboard_sk13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 14, 2013PRETORIA, South AfricaMosio for Libraries, an all-in-one, multi-channel virtual reference software for libraries, announces its first solution implementation in South Africa. The company’s partnership with Tshwane University of Technology will enable library staff to interact with patrons and answer questions via live chat, email, text messaging and Facebook.

“We are extremely excited to add Tshwane University of Technology’s Libraries to our client roster and have already established a great, collaborative relationship with their team,” said Noel Chandler, CEO and Co-Founder of Mosio. “As one of Africa’s leading universities of technology, we look forward to continuing our work to help them provide excellent information resources to students online or on-the-go.”

The Mosio for Libraries solution will launch in August, 2013, and will be rolled out to nine campuses, supporting approximately 56,000 students. The software features a secure, easy to use, web-based dashboard that can be utilized for two-way interactions with library patrons. Popular communication and efficiency tools include answer templates, customizable auto-responders and collaboration features. “The LIS is introducing major and exciting student service enhancements, including Mosio”, said Vivian Agyei, the Director for Library and Information Services.

“We are thrilled to become Mosio for Libraries’ first partner in South Africa,” said Nokuphiwa Kunene, Systems Librarian at Tshwane University of Technology. “Our priority is to implement a strong technology solution that allows us to better serve and interact with students, while also enabling us to maximize the use of resources by efficiently managing communications.
Mosio for Libraries is available in 21 countries, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Spain, Australia and South Africa. The software is cloud-based, so it is always up to date and does not require any hardware or software installation. The dashboard can be accessed on any web-enabled computer or device, regardless of physical location.

Mosio for Libraries integrates easily across websites, blogs and online databases through support tabs and widgets, and plugins and apps are available for Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress and Facebook.

About Mosio for Libraries
Mosio for Libraries is an all-in-one, multi-channel support software that enables libraries to receive and respond to patron questions via live chat, email, text messaging and Facebook. Visit http://mosio.com/libraries to learn more, sign up for a free trial and be greeted at the front door with a 90-second video detailing Mosio’s technology solution to a problem faced by libraries all over the world.

About TUT
In its logo, the Tshwane University of Technology claims that “we empower people” thus committing itself to the concepts of Diversity, Ethics, Relevance, Entrepreneurship, Care, Partnerships, Professionalism and lastly, Quality. TUT awards qualifications from national diploma level through to bachelor of technology degrees. Students may also continue with postgraduate studies towards master’s degrees and doctorates.

Why choose a University of Technology?
One of the strong features of obtaining a qualification at a university of technology, is the specialization in a chosen field. Furthermore entrepreneurship carries a lot of weight in the students’ education, since they are taught new ways of thinking and approaching their careers to become job creators rather than job seekers in the market,

It is a fact that South Africa is still in dire need of people suitably qualified in science, engineering and technology, the so-called SET courses. TUT offers numerous courses in these fields. But apart from academic qualifications, the university also offers programmes to equip students with specific skills to prepare them for the world of work. Some of these programmes especially those aimed at improving communication, writing, reading and interpersonal skills, form part of their academic programme.

TUT is divided into seven faculties:
- Faculty of Economics and Finance
- Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
- Faculty of Humanities
- Faculty of Information and Communication Technology
- Faculty of Management Sciences
- Faculty of Science
- Faculty of the Arts

At TUT the emphasis is on:
- Cutting edge technology
- Innovation through to commercialization
- Problem-solving skills
- Research and Innovation
- Partnerships and networks
- Technological incubators, technology stations, centres and institutes
- Community engagement

For more information visit http://www.tut.ac.za

Free Trials of Mosio for Libraries

try-mosio-for-libraries-free

Hello! We now offer free trials of Mosio for Libraries so you can try out the system and experience how powerful virtual reference software can be.

  • Receive and respond to patron questions via Live Chat, Text Messaging, Email and Facebook, all through a single, web-based interface.
  • We guarantee you’ll be more efficient in your patron communications.
  • Add an Ask a Librarian button to your Facebook Page with a few clicks.
  • Answer questions from widgets on your website, blogs or electronic resources.
  • Patrons can text questions from their mobile phones or chat from smartphones or tablets.

There’s no obligation and no credit card required. Sign up for your Mosio for Libraries free trial here.

Thanks and we look forward to working with you!

The Mosio for Libraries Team

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

Library Customer Service: Online vs. In-Person (Ask a Librarian Software vs. Asking a Librarian in Real Life)

Library-Customer-Service-Mosio-for-Libraries

Libraries, and the folks who work in them, solve problems for patrons by connecting them with the resources and information that they need.

In today’s online world an ever-increasing amount of this help is taking place via the magic of the web and mobile technologies. Patrons are no longer face-to-face with the library staff who are helping them. Instead, they are communicating with the library from their homes, their offices, and on-the-go via their mobile devices.

Libraries today must be ready to deliver excellent customer service in this online environment. Top-notch customer service is something patrons have come to expect from libraries, and this service needs to extend to the growing world of virtual assistance.

Online customer service is applied in different ways than face-to-face customer service, but it adheres to the same two central precepts:

(1) Ensure the patron knows you are listening to his or her query and that you are committed to helping until his or her information problem is resolved; and

(2) Do it with a smile on your face.

Using Ask a Librarian Software you can achieve number one by frequently communicating with patrons so they know you have not left them. Remember, they cannot see you, so you must tell them exactly what you are doing. One minute of unexplained silence in a chat box can seem an eternity and is enough to lose a patron. If a search is taking longer than expected, give the patron frequent updates so he or she knows you are still with them.

To achieve number two, you must convey your smile with the language that you use. Phrases like, “It’s my pleasure to help you today,” “Have I answered all of your questions fully and completely,” and “Thank you for being so patient,” will go a long way towards conveying that smile and giving your patrons the warm, cared-for feeling they look forward to from a library interaction.

Michael English is an academic librarian and freelance writer/editor.

This article is provided by Mosio for Libraries. To receive these directly in your inbox, please register for our Patron Support Tips Newsletter.


Patron Support Simplified
www.mosio.com/libraries

Support Tabs for Library Websites – Mosio offers 70 different colors and types!

support-tabs-gallery

We just created a gallery of 70 support tabs for our customers to use and will be including the source file so you can make your own. They come in different colors, formats and text treatments to create a tab best suited for your website, blog or content management system.

Mosio has created the best web-based help desk software for libraries. Help more patrons everywhere more efficiently, in real-time or on your time. Whether they are online or on the go, Mosio makes it simple to communicate with them.

Contact us now for a free consultation and quote.

Mosio's Text a Librarian - As seen in TIME

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Library Guide: Setting up Holiday Auto Responders with Mosio for Libraries

Setting up Holiday Auto Responders

Happy Holidays!

Here’s a quick tutorial on setting up holiday auto responders using Mosio.
You’ve spent time creating great auto responders and with the holidays approaching you want to let patrons know your hours have changed, but don’t want to undo what you’ve already created. No problem! Set up holiday auto responders!

 

Click on Auto Responder (in the Microboard Administration module, see the above image for help). Then click on New Holiday Auto Responder and you’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:

Now…
1) Enter your message.
2) Pick your dates.
3) Click save.
You’re done! :)

And while we have your attention…
Have you added a support tab to your site yet?

We are launching new features that make it even easier to provide support to more patrons while saving you time. If you aren’t ready to launch chat yet, you can still install the support tab. In your microboard, look for the Widget/Tabs/Chat Admin module (above Microboard Administration) and you’ll have directions on how to add a support tab or embeddable widget to your website. As always, if you need any help in setting things up, please let us know by emailing support[[at]]textalibrarian[[dot]]com!

 

Happy Holidays from the Mosio Team!

Library Newsbytes: Mini-Library in a Birdhouse, Zombies Invade Library, Picking Up Slack from the Bookstores

The Smallest of Our Library’s Big Attractions

A recent donated book of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets is now one of the two attractions for Allen County Public Library. Among all other collections of the Library, this particular one is a rare miniature book carousel holding the complete works of Shakespeare.

Read More

Can libraries pick up the slack from bookstores?

Since bookstores such as Barnes and Noble stores rapidly disappearing, libraries should step up and fill the important space being left out so as to let the public still continue to have a place to kill some idle time, hang out or meet friends. So as to fulfill this part, libraries should provide better amenities such providing more magazines, coffee table books, etc.

Read More

Zombies Invade the Library

Last October 20, two floors of the Z. J. Loussac Library in Anchorage were transformed into a zombie central for the purpose of staging an emergency preparedness program.  The idea may seem to be unconventional, but the exercise is good to teach local residents how to be prepared in case of natural disasters and pandemic. Such as potential life-threatening situations like earthquakes, avalanches, volcanoes, dangerous wildlife, and blizzards.

Read More

Clever mini-library in a birdhouse gets kids excited about reading: Margaret Bernstein


Sometimes a little strategy can trigger the curiosity of the public especially the minds of school children and alike. In Cleveland, a small red birdhouse is getting a lot of attention because of its collection of about 50 books anybody can borrow.  This project is part of the Little Free Library Movement which aims to get the communities excited about reading.

Read More

Library moves beyond books to digital age

Libraries are turning into a savvy digital place where readers can have both worlds of physical books and ebooks. Portage County Public Library in downtown Stevens Point offers various services such as lending users tablets, subscriptions to a lot of databases and jobs databases, etc.

Read More

Crowds still flock to public libraries

Public libraries are still in demand as people flock at Walnut Grove Public Library as it opens its doors to its patrons. Libraries are still there to provide the public a safe place to explore various books in spite several attracting places to go to.

Read More

Library enters the digital realm

As everything else gets digitalized, libraries also step up to that field of change. Libraries keep and preserve their paper-based originals for reference since there are still doubts about how to preserve digitalized objects.

Read More

Libraries collect holiday greetings for military troops

Medina County Library District does a good deed of not just letting the public expands once knowledge through reading books but also reaching out and helping provide morale, welfare and recreation-type services to military personnel by gathering Christmas cards to send to the USO. The library targets to collect at least 300 cards for their “Cards to Troops’ drive 2012.

Read More

Library of Congress exhibit celebrates Jewish history, artifacts

The Library of Congress exhibits 60 artifacts of Jewish history from its vast Hebraic collection. It was a gift from Jacob Schiff, a financier and philanthropist which dates back in 1912. This had help scholars in their study about the foundational works about Judaism and Jewish civilization without even going to Europe for answers.

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Friday Memorial Library works to become autism-friendly facility

The Friday Memorial Library is working it’s best to accommodate everyone in their facility including those with autism.  A grant was funded to the library to let their librarians attend workshops to learn how to cater children with autism thus in the end letting these kids and their families to feel comfortable and safe as they visit the library.

Read More

 

 

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

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.

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New Text a Librarian Feature – Automatic Bit.ly Generator

Text a Librarian’s Bit.ly Linke Auto-Generator: More Links With Less Characters

We have a handful of new features coming up over the next month, but wanted to quickly let you know about our Bit.ly generator, suggested by our customers as a “great to have” feature.

Bit.ly is a handy URL shortening technology that makes it easier to crunch long urls into less characters. Now with Text a Librarian, you can paste a long URL, check the Bit.ly box and it will shorten it for you.

After librarians send the message, if they mouse over the bitly link, it’ll show them what the real URL looks like, see below for an illustration.

More features and exciting updates coming soon!

Thanks,

The Text a Librarian Team