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New service allows students to text librarians questions

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Photo by Lexy Cruz.

Photo by Lexy Cruz.

TCU librarians are ready to bring their knowledge straight to your cell phone.  

With the new Text A Librarian service, students can text a question during the library’s reference hours and get a speedy response, science librarian Jeff Bond said.

Each text goes to a group of librarians’ computers, and they type back an answer that is then sent to the student’s cell phone. The service is free, depending on the student’s cell phone plan, Bond said.

Questions so far have ranged from “What are your hours?” to “I need to find books on…,” Bond said.

There was a similar service offered before, but it was more complicated, Bond said. Previously, students had to include the words “TCU Library” at the beginning of the message.

While the Mary Couts Burnett Library is not the first library to use the newest text system, there are not many other libraries using it across the country, Bond said.

“I think anytime you can match the type of communication students are using in their daily life — I think that’s always a good idea,” Bond said.

While the text service seems like a good idea, junior marketing and entrepreneurial management double major Hunter Sprague said he would probably use the service only when he was outside of the library.

“I know you can email a librarian, which I think makes more sense because if you have a research question, they can give a very, very long response,” Sprague said. “I feel that texting would limit the response."

For more in-depth answers, nursing and health sciences librarian Alysha Sapp said students could use email, chat, phone or in-person requests.

“I think you’re going to have a lot of people coming to get that one-on-one help that they don’t think they can do through an instant message,” Sapp said.

Bond said the service had received 20 to 25 texts since its re-launch earlier this semester.

“A lot of times we get a little smiley face at the end, indicating they were pleased,” Sapp said.

To use the service, send a text message to 817-962-2544. The library’s reference hours can be found online.

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