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The New Text Messaging Reference Service At Prairie State College Library

1220 words - 5 pages

This proposal recommends the implementation of a new text- messaging reference service at the Prairie State College library. This service would extend the library’s current limited virtual services, by allowing students to send and receive answers to reference questions via text outside the library’s physical location, as well as normal business hours. To ensure cost effective implementation, the service would take advantage of the university’s current email system, allowing librarians to receive and respond to reference inquiries sent via text through an online platform.

As consistent with Prairie State College’s current strategic plan to support the usage of innovative technology that facilitate “new ways to engage and communicate with students, ” as well as in their past initiatives in incorporating and expanding technology in the library and across campus to “enhance student success, ” this proposal makes the case for creating a new text-based reference service to enhance and extend the current reference services offered at the Prairie State College Library to reach a new segment of students (Prairie State College Strategic; Prairie State College 2011). Currently, the library’s reference services are limited to certain pre-defined hours between Monday and Saturday, and one slower virtual reference method (email) for students seeking assistance outside the library’s physical location (Prairie State College Get; Department of Education Prairie). As a commuter college where over half of the students attend part-time, the library hours are must frustrating for night students. In addition to the part-time students, a large number of students also work outside of school; making it nearly impossible for them to get to the library before it closes. The library lacks an effective method to communicate and provide assistance to those students outside the library’s physical location, as well as normal business hours, especially during final exams (Prairie State College Profile).
This proposal seeks to remedy this problem, by proposing the creation of a cost-effective text-based reference service to connect students outside the library with a reference librarian during different times of the day. As a means to maintain overall library costs, especially due to the library’s relatively small budget and staff, this proposal proposes the implementation of a service based on the SMS to email model, which would take advantage of the college’s current email system, allowing librarians to receive and respond to reference inquiries sent by students via text through either their current email system or an online platform provided by a commercial vendor, such as “Text a Librarian” (Sanders 20-22; Henrich and Kenyon 12; Brannon 154-155). This type of service would not require the library to purchase or share a phone among staff, rather would function by linking the current email system through which librarians normally receive inquiries (that may...

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