26 November, 2009

D*P*C #15 mobile phone information service

They say that young people don't email, don't twitter, don't blog, but they do IM and text. And for those of us who do twitter and blog we can text from our phones directly to our online sites. And with 22 million mobiles in Australia (*ABS) there is a huge potential audience for mobile phone information services (in some libraries, the service has been there for years).

Council's new TELL_TCC text service already includes the library - if people want to ask basic questions like 'when does Flinders library close?' or 'how many books can i borrow?'
More detailed texts requiring a response, like 'can you renew my books?' will be referred onto library staff to action. Text services are present in academic libraries around Australia, see
James Cook University (overdue & recall notices sent), and in Brisbane libraries (a huge service of 33 branches). you can text Brisbane Square and the Hub libraries. And QUT.

One I'd like to see? Embed IM on the library front page for information services. A timely article from Nina today is 'How-to: working with campus marketing classes to improve reference service visibility'. Duke and MacDonald** note in their paper that 'the marketing students strongly advocated starting an instant messaging (IM) reference service... ultimately chose Meebo because of its ability to work with Yahoo, Google Talk and MSN chat software. ... the Meebo widget could be embedded into library webpages.. high visibility...' This occurred at The Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University, which then developed a stategy for promoting the IM service.
Of course, having the ability to access e-books, podcasts, etc will be amazing too.
As Bonnie said, Shan is already sending SMSs out to people who have booked in to events to confirm bookings.

* Australian Bureau of Statistics. Population Clock: (sourced via Warren at

** Duke, L.M. & MacDonald, J. B. (n.d.). How-to: Working with campus marketing classes to improve reference service visibility. Information Today Inc. Accessed online at

another image from oppersephone's fanpop gallery, just because.

Robert Pattinson


comrade harps said...

Launching next month, the new Frankston City Libraries website will have a Meebo IM widget on the homepage. It'll be interesting to see how much use it gets and how we manage the workflow. First we have to take some of our own people beyond the fear/anxiety and Luddite stage with it.

Like plenty of other libraries we already have the text overdue/reservation pickup notices.

alison said...

Thanks Harps,
I'll definitely have a look, and let everyone here know also.