Multnomah County Library now offering 24/7 text-a-librarian service

PORTLAND, Ore. — Feb. 28, 2011 — Whether it’s a research question, a question about library services, or a question related to your library account, the answer is now only as far away as your mobile phone with Multnomah County Library’s new text-a-librarian service. Multnomah County Library is collaborating with other libraries to offer patrons this service around the clock.

To text a question to a librarian, a patron simply sends it with the word multcolib to 66746. A librarian responds within a few minutes. There is no charge to use the service, other than the user’s standard text messaging rate.

Text messages are an especially convenient way to get quick facts, such as “What elevation is Roseburg, Oregon?” or “What time does Hillsdale Library open?” Questions on any topic are welcome, including questions about a patron’s library card or account. At times when Multnomah County librarians are not staffing this service, questions that involve account-specific answers are answered by Multnomah County librarians at the next possible opportunity.

Text messaging augments the many other ways Multnomah County Library patrons can connect with their library, including by chat, email, phone, and on Facebook and Twitter.

“Our patrons have asked for more mobile access to their library,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “The library already offers mobile catalog services and downloadable books and music. Making librarians accessible via text messaging is the next logical step in meeting our patrons at their points of need.”

The library provides this service in collaboration with the Oregon Libraries Network (L-net), a statewide digital reference service coordinated by Multnomah County Library. L-net is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.

About Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house about 700 computers for the public and a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person.