Tag Archives: Text Messaging Software

Google Talk Workarounds for Mosio for Libraries Notifications (Not Using Hangouts)

Virtual Reference Software Tips - Web Chat / Instant Message / Mosio

A Public Library Mosio patron writes, “We’ve been using Google Talk to notify us of new Text a Librarian questions. Now that Google Talk has been discontinued (and sort of replaced by Google Hangouts), we’re finding that Google Hangouts is not notifying us of new Text a Librarian messages. What do you recommend for a library in our predicament?”

To make sure you don’t miss out on any more of your Text A Librarian messages, we suggest the following workaround. Download a different chat client, such as either Pidgin or Trillian. We recommend Pidgin. When setting it up, enter your Google Talk email address in the section for accounts. Then use the client to view your messages.

4 Ways Text Messaging Can Improve Your Patron Communications

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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.

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.

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 TextaLibrarian.com, 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.

www.textalibrarian.com
877-MOSIO-99 (667-4699)

View more presentations from Mosio

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.

Links

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

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.

Library Marketing Tips, Part 1: Avoiding the Noise (Templates Inside)

Library Marketing Services

There are quite a few books on the topic of library marketing, and OCLC’s Geek The Library Campaign is definitely getting people talking, but this post is the first in a weekly series talking about marketing text messaging reference services in your library. We think they work well for any other services you offer, use what you like. The mobile channel isn’t going away, people in the U.S. every day are texting more than they are talking and they’re using text messaging in more ways than simply communicating with friends. Maybe you know this, have decided to implement text messaging reference at your library, it’s finally ready to go and now what? Start promoting the service!

Libraries as a Marketing Vehicle?
Less than 2 years ago, an agency in the UK considered libraries a new channel in direct marketing. Regardless of what your personal reaction to this is (let me guess: not positive?), the idea is worth mentioning: placing marketing materials inside the book will get at least one view or impression. I’m sure plenty of folks were pleased to find that the idea didn’t take off too well. I’m one to appreciate creativity even when execution might be hard to pull off, but execution is 99% of the battle in marketing and great execution requires great planning. That said, we can learn something from those whose job it is to think of new ways to grab people’s attention.

Just because you print up posters does not mean they’ll get seen and just because you create a Twitter account does not mean people will follow (or even read) your tweets. Sorry, but it’s true. (Side note: we love Twitter, use it daily and it’s ok by us that teens don’t tweet). In the end, it’s about deciding what gets you the most for your budget, time and resources. So what to do? Whenever possible, do something different from what has been done. Write a list of what is usually used to promote news, updates or services and then choose something new and unusual. If you have strict guidelines about how new services can be marketed, no problem, there’s still room for flexibility and creativity or you wouldn’t be reading this post. This isn’t about skipping all methods used in the past, some can be great, the point is to avoid the noise.


A few quick tips on what to consider when avoiding the noise:

1) Avoid the Noise.
Yeah, tough one, right? Seriously though, it’s simple enough. If you see stacks of postcards on a table, placing more postcards there isn’t going to help. One of my favorite stories is about Arizona Iced Tea during their initial roll out to grocery stores: they were looking at slotting/shelving fees and noticed that it would be cheaper to be near the fruits and vegetables than on the drinks aisle. Pay more and be one of many drinks in an aisle (noise) or pay less and be near healthy fruits and vegetables? Seems like a no brainer.

Noise

Noise

2) Choose more than one method, include one you absolutely know will work.
Prior to being in the mobile industry, I worked in internet advertising and guerrilla marketing, both when they were considered very new. I saw over 400 campaigns take place and always noticed one thing: the brands utilizing more than one method or medium to promote their product or service had higher levels of success. By using several methods, you have a better chance at increasing your reach. If someone sees you in both (or even more) places, you are increasing your frequency. Both are good things. We’ll be covering some methods and ideas we’ve seeing working by some of the libraries having success in future posts, but one of the things they have in common is using more than one method to get the word out. Another interesting element is that the librarians where SMS reference services are successful are seeing the value of the service and are excited to be able to offer it.

3) Make sure you are using the proper terminology in your instructions.
This one is very important and while it should go without saying, we’re saying it anyway. Make it easy to understand and it will get used. Patrons are texting to the service, not “calling” it. Links to templates you are free to use are below and have some simple, but useful terminology. It’s also important to note that “Standard Message Rates Apply” somewhere on your materials.

4) A great call to action is the only way you’ll grab attention and hold it.
You can come up with a great call to action phrase without sounding like an infomercial. Your call to action can be in the form of asking a question, followed by a request:
“Need Info? Have a mobile phone? Text a librarian!”
“Want info on the go? Text us!”
A great call to action goes a long ways.

5) Use mobile phone icons or graphics in your materials.
When you show a mobile phone image, you increase your chances of getting noticed by those interested in using their mobile devices for communication. Make it as big as possible on your materials to get people to notice.
Mobile + Information

Ultimately, you have to decide what will work best in your library, which area will get the most attention in the spot with the least amount of noise. Personally, I’m a fan of the business card-sized flyers because they are small, can be tucked into a book, put in a wallet or purse and used later. Other people prefer posters, table tents or bookmarks. If you find any of those interesting, keep reading, we’ve created some templates to hopefully make it easier for you.

Promotional Perfection from East Baton Rouge Public Library

(Promotional Perfection from East Baton Rouge Public Library)

Library Marketing Microsoft Word Templates
If you’re looking for a place to get started, here are some Microsoft Word templates we’ve created for you. In the efforts of leaving them open to promoting the service in your own voice, we made them somewhat content-neutral (we recognize the call to action could be a lot more exciting). You may download and customize them as you see fit for your library.

Library Marketing Materials - Poster Template

Click on any of the links below to open the templates on your computer:

* Library Marketing Materials – Business Card/Flyers Template
* Library Marketing Materials – Table Tent Template
* Library Marketing Materials – Bookmarks Template
* Library Marketing Materials – Poster Template

Please note: The little phone logo on the templates is what we use for Mosio’s Text a Librarian. It was developed with the help of Kelly Barrick from Yale University Libraries (thanks Kelly!) and we feel it does a great job of visually explaining what mobile reference is all about. You are more than welcome to use it on these templates we’ve provided, but if you are not interested, here’s a list of creative commons flickr “mobile phone” photos. Either way, it really makes no difference to us, the goal here is to offer free templates, not sneak a logo in front of anyone.

Patrons at your library who use text messaging are going to think that being able to text you is interesting. It’s new, it’s different and many are using text messaging for more than just communicating with friends. Get their attention, give them a compelling reason and they’ll give it a try. Good luck and see you next week!

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Mobilized: Text a Librarian on the iPhone / iPod Touch

We recently tested out Text a Librarian on the iPhone 3GS and had great success.

Love your iPhone? So do we. Mosio's Text a Librarian works perfectly.
Love your iPhone or iPod Touch? So do we. Mosio’s Text a Librarian works perfectly on both.

iPhone Screen Shot:

Mobile reference for librarians who enjoy being mobile.
Mobile reference for librarians who enjoy being mobile.

We don’t recommend using a mobile phone as your sole text messaging reference solution, researching and typing on a computer is always going to be faster than texting, but we understand the need for mobility in the library. Mosio’s Text a Librarian works very well on the iPhone / iPod Touch or you can set your notifications to “SMS/Text Message” to be notified on your phone of new questions if you need or just want to leave the reference desk. It’s mobile reference simplified.


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