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Text-A-Librarian number changes

30 August 2014 By Sam Shelton, Associate News Editor No Comments

Cook Library’s Text-A-Librarian service received a new phone number over the summer as a result in a change of service provider. With this service, students can call or text 410-774-1398 to be connected to one of Cook’s librarians at any time during normal research help hours.

“We changed providers because we thought it would be a little bit of a better experience for students, because it’s easier to just have a regular phone number, whereas before you had to have a short phone number and then a code that you had to include in your question. So it was a little bit more confusing,” Emerging Technologies Librarian Kim Miller said.

While the Text-A-Librarian service itself is not new to campus, Miller said that the phone line’s popularity has declined in recent years and that the new number may help to reignite student interest.

“I think when the library first introduced it, I think it was about four or five years ago, it was fairly popular because we did a lot of marketing,” Miller said. “And then as the marketing dropped off, the usage dropped off. So I’m hoping that now that it’s a little bit easier to use, students can just plug in their phones and have it on the go wherever they are, so that maybe it will get some more use.”

The mobile aspect, Miller said, is helpful for questions that can be answered on the spot, though questions submitted outside of typical research help desk hours will receive delayed responses.

“We tell students that it probably works best for quick questions so, for instance, ‘when is the library open?’ or ‘what are the library’s hours today?’” Miller said. “Sometimes the more in-depth questions don’t work as well because we need to be able to have you visit our website or send you information and that doesn’t always work very well on a cellphone or other mobile device.”

Miller advised that students looking for answers to more detailed questions utilize the other means of interacting with Cook Library staff and databases, such as the research help desk on the third floor, the website’s subject gateways and the Cook OneSearch program.

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