Quantcast

Texting with your librarian - u can

y cant i find my sox…u know where they r
Queens Library staff probably can’t answer this question for you. But this is one of the few exceptions - librarians there can actually respond to a surprisingly wild variety of inquiries including texting, via online chat at that. And in the coming weeks, the library will have a more user-friendly chat software.
Currently, only about 2 percent of inquires to Queens Library come via chat, which the library started using in 2003. Part of the reason for the low number is that the word “chat” does not appear anywhere on the library’s website, so people may not know that it is available, said Joanne King, associate director of marketing and communications at Queens Library. Users only find out about the chat option when they go through multiple steps until they get to an option called “Connect with us live.”
However, the hope is that more users will chat with librarians when in about six weeks the word “chat” will appear on the home page and new technology will make it possible to access the chat from any page on the library’s website without having to go to the home page as is the case now, said King.
She explained that the questions that come through chat, often typed with text message abbreviations, vary: from mundane inquiries about the library’s resources to more unusual questions about how wigs are made or the last ingredient just mentioned on a cooking show. Librarians can respond to the latter by going to the program’s website to see if the required information is posted there, King said.
Librarians can also answer questions like, “I don’t have insurance, where can I get a mammogram?” or “Where can I find a nearby facility for recovering from substance abuse?” explained King.
Although librarians have become proficient at decoding all sorts of instant message abbreviations, “they won’t talk the talk: they always respond in formal style, setting a good example of correct spelling and careful grammar,” said Nancy Weiss, a librarian who answers questions from the library’s central branch, on 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, in Jamaica.
Even people who do not own a library card can contact the library via chat - or phone - every weekday between 10 a.m. and 8:45 p.m. by logging onto the library’s website, www.queenslibrary.org, and clicking on the “Ask a Librarian” option on the left hand side of the menu; on Saturdays, employees are available for chatting until 4:45 p.m.

More from Around New York