There’s an app for that – ask a librarian

“The [Washington] state library says it’s the first in the nation to offer an app for online reference service, although technically the app switches users to the phone’s browser for the online chat). The Ask-WA service, also available through a traditional web browser, makes use of more than 60 libraries and hundreds of librarians. A national cooperative of librarian helps answer questions after hours.” I like how the “other services” page that you get to if you’re not coming from a WA state IP address (I’m not) shows the Library Success Wiki, one of my favorite “stuff that works” wikis. [thanks david!]

3 thoughts on “There’s an app for that – ask a librarian

  1. We HAD the chat embedded in the app, but when the librarian sent a link it would take the user out to Safari (on the iPhone, at least) and they would lose the chat. So yes, now we kick them out to Safari for the whole thing, so they can click their links and keep on chatting, too.

    I’m glad you like the “other services” page. I tried to link to sites like AskMefi and Yahoo Answers, but my web people were aghast that I would push potential users AWAY from our services, even if their questions lent itself more to a different forum.

    Ah well. Thanks for the mention!


  2. Ha! I found the link through some totally other direction and should have known that you were behind it. You did a wonderful job.

  3. Thanks!

    I should mention, since it didn’t come across quite right in the story, that we are the first in the nation to have a statewide virtual reference service as a mobile app, connecting users to any number of libraries for 24/7 chat.

    I am well aware that many libraries, including our own Seattle Public Library, have excellent apps and mobile websites that integrate chat services.

    Having a statewide app is nice because it benefits the smaller rural libraries who would otherwise not ever be represented via mobile platforms.

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