How To Set Up Text Message Reference at Your Library

Want to let people text reference questions to your library? Now is a great time!

Wow, there are now so many services you can use for text message reference, and so many reasons to do it, I wonder why people are not doing it! First of all, almost everybody texts. Secondly almost all younger people text. Thirdly, some texting options are free or super close to free.Oh, but you also need to know that SMS stands for “short message service” and it also means texting. Texting=SMS. Yup.

Why do it?

Check out some of the libraries offering a text message service:

Things to think about:

  • Who is your audience? Teens? Public? Students?
  • How can you market it to them?
  • Can you market this service on a regular basis (it helps)?
  • How much money can you spend? some are free, some have minimal costs with perks!
  • decide on a service: use InfoQuest – a consortium or Google Voice or Springshare’s product or  something else
  • Determine staffing: will reference desk people staff it? Staff in their offices?
  • Determine the hours available: one cool thing about the Springshare product is that it offers after hours auto replies to say that the library will get to the question in the morning!
  • Will this service replace an existing service? Keep in mind that some research shows that offering many virtual reference services can cause competition among them, and not compliment one another.

Phew. Got all that? What do you think? Let’s talk! Post a comment below!