Today our library, the San Jose Public Library, launched our new Text a Librarian service. As far as I can tell, we’re the first public library in California to offer text messaging services independent of a consortium model. There are others who participate in the My InfoQuest cooperative, which we are not a part of. Here are the details:
- The service is run through Mosio’s Text a Librarian.
- Text your question to 66746 and start the message with AskSJ
- The library responds to the user through the interface of our choice (web browser, email, IM, or text messaging) and the answer shows up to the customer as a text message
- Customers are encouraged to add 66746 as a contact for easy future access
- The library currently is answering questions from 1-6pm, Monday-Friday
- The service is completely secure & private – customers are assigned random user IDs so the library staff don’t see phone numbers connected with questions
- The service is mobile carrier certified, so we don’t need to worry about Verizon or AT&T blocking our number from sending messages to customers.
- It’s staffed jointly with the San Jose State University Library
librarians and a number of our public library staff at our main King
Library and at our many branches.
For more info on our service, see the San Jose Library Text-a-Librarian FAQ page.
On our first day, we’ve received 20 questions so far (as of 5pm).
We have received an immense amount of interest from the media as well — today I gave 3 radio interviews about the service and 1 television interview (along with SJPL’s Head of Reference, Joan Bowlby). Our press release also garnered a front page story on the San Jose Mercury News Local section today, as well as a brief 30-second spot on this morning’s local Fox affiliate through a press release we sent out.
UPDATE: LOTS OF VIDEO, AUDIO, & STORIES
- 90-second coverage on CBS 5 television (including video)
- brief accompanying story from CBS 5
- story from KCBS Radio (including audio)
- story from KGO News Talk Radio (including audio)
- story from MetroActive
- School Library Journal coverage
I’m very interested to see how much the service takes off in the upcoming week, as people have heard about it and start to use it and spread the word.
That’s a lot of awesomeness for one day! How do you spell H-O-T?