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Mobile Technologies and Reference Services

While at the ALA Annual Conference last month in D.C. I blogged about one of the sessions I attended, Libraries2Go: Library Services for Handhelds (see post below). It was really interesting to hear what the various libraries were up to and how they were adapting their service and website for mobile use for/with patrons. It seemed that U Cal - Merced has a good grasp of mobile technologies, how its being used by their students, and how they fit into this. Seeing that they do not have phones at the reference desk, only cell phones, it was a natural progression for them to adopt SMS text reference. They did give a convincing argument why libraries should seriously consider adding SMS text reference to their list of services. However, I couldn't help but think that this is a rapidly evolving area and what we see today for SMS text reference is going to look vastly different in a year from now. That shouldn't stop a library to persue the idea of adding this or testing it out. I've always been a fan of playing with new technologies. Those that do start working with this technology will be able to adapt the changing environment with ease. Mobile technologies are not going away. On the contrary, this is where the market is heading. It's all about what's in your pocket!

To this end, if you are interested in learning more about SMS text reference and mobile technologies in general, here are some helpful links to get you going in the right direction:
Can you TXT the LBRY? - Michael Stephens blog in ALA Tech Source about the Mississippi Library 2.0 Summit
Make Your Services Smarter: How Smartphones Can Extend Your Service and Let You Work Away From Your Office and the Reference Desk - a PALINET podcast
Ball State University Libraries Mobile Project
Mobile Phones as Mass Media - at bottom of page is a good selection of current books on the topic as well.
Text a Librarian - info page from Sims Library of Southeastern Louisiana University (great example of a SMS text reference service already up and running!)

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