Students using the computers in the library may notice small notes taped to the side of the computer monitors.
On these notes students will see a drawing of a cellphone with a message informing them that they may text a librarian for help.
If students—on or off campus—choose to use this new resource, they text their questions to (253) 370-8969.
Librarians will respond if the library is open.
This program that began in winter quarter was first introduced last year by Christie Flynn, dean of library and learning resources.
Since the program of texting librarians was first initiated, the library has since received 20 texts, mostly pertaining to simpler questions.
“The most frequently asked questions are about printing,” said Lesley Caldwell, technical services and systems librarian. “This makes sense to me because you are limited in how long a text response can be. Asking a detailed research question may be best done face-to-face.”
Students can use a total of 160 characters in their text, making it ideal for those who need a quick reference while working.
Along with the use of texting, the library offers assistance via email if students have a longer request.
“Most students still prefer to come to the reference desk,” Caldwell said.
In terms of the resource efficiency, the library is in the works of perfecting the systems in order to prevent disruptions in the library.
The issue of primary concern is finding the best way to be alerted of a student’s text message without startling those who are studying within the library.
Another issue is getting the library number on a no-call list in order to prevent calls from telemarketers.
“I think having a text reference service gives students another option for getting help, and that’s what is important,” Caldwell said. “Technology is going to continue to change, and librarians want to be part of that change.”
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