Tag Archives: Txt a Librarian

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.

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