Throughout a typical day, many residents likely have a long list of family members, friends, co-workers and classmates to send text messages to.
Now, in addition to “lol’s” and “wat u up 2’s,” Mahwah residents can text questions and concerns to township librarians.
The Mahwah Public Library has purchased a one-year subscription to ‘Text a Librarian,’ a service provided by technology company Mosio. According to librarians, Mahwah is on the cutting edge of this technology. Only one other library in the state subscribes to the service.
During the next year, the “service [will allow] us to keep statistics about incoming messages, so we can determine how to proceed when the term is over,” Allison Moonitz, Supervising Librarian at the Mahwah Library, said. “Ideally, it'd be fantastic if our patrons fully embraced the service and it'd become a permanent fixture in our library's communications.”
Library representatives in a release this week said they opted for the new texting system because of the increased use of texting by their patrons.
“If a large portion of our community texts, why not be a part of that?” Moonitz said. “We're just trying to strengthen the dialogue between the library and our community - to reinforce that we're here to help!"
According to the release, 'Text a Librarian' allows people to ask questions by sending text messages with their cell phones. “Librarians answer on a web-based interface, keeping a live archive of all the questions and answers. The service does not display phone numbers. It generates an anonymous ID for each patron in order to reference conversation history,” the release said.
Moonitz said she is expecting quick questions to come in as texts – things like “library hours, directions, what's the movie being shown this afternoon, what's the capital of Greece, who wrote the book "Gone Girl," etc. If patrons were to text us complicated research questions or essay prompts, we would definitely encourage them to either call or stop in so they could elaborate on their information request.”
To ‘Text a Librarian’ in Mahwah, text “askmahwah” to 66746 for instructions. Message and data rates may apply.
For more information, visit www.mahwahlibrary.org.