Free Library of Philadelphia

Now you can ask a librarian your quick, simple questions by text message using your cell phone!
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Home > Ask a Librarian > Browse or Search Knowledge Base > Text Reference Service: FAQs
1.  How can I text a question to a librarian?

Text us at 66746, keyword askfree

To send us a question via text messaging from your cell phone

Text 66746 and start your first message with the keyword askfree followed by a space. Type your question and press "Send."

Example: askfree  What statue is on top of City Hall?

2.  Who can use the service?

Text a Librarian is available to anyone.

3.  When should I use the service?

The service is good for asking quick, simple questions that can be answered in short responses (160 characters or less). More involved questions that require longer responses should be directed to one of the other services (Ask Here PA Chat, email, or telephone) found on the Ask A Librarian web page.

Staff will not answer questions about your Library Account through text messaging. Questions about the items you have checked out, fines, renewals, or other questions about your account may be asked by contacting your branch library.

4.  What do I need to use the service?

You need a cell phone that is enabled to send and receive text messages.

5.  What does the service cost?

The Free Library of Philadelphia does not charge for this service nor receive revenue from any cell phone provider. Cell phone providers generally charge customers for sending and/or receiving text messages. These charges vary from plan to plan and from provider to provider. Consult your cell phone service provider for details about charges for text messaging on your service plan. The Free Library of Philadelphia assumes no responsibility for any charges your cell phone provider may assess you for sending or receiving messages while using this service.

6.  What information should I supply?

Start the body of the text with the keyword askfree then a space, followed by your question.

Example: askfree What time does Parkway Central close?

Send your text to 66746.

7.  How long does it take to get a response?

During our hours of operation, we will try to respond to your question within two hours. Questions received after hours will be answered when service hours resume. If you do not receive a response to your question within 48 hours, it may be due to a telecommunications problem, so you may want to resubmit your question to Ask A Librarian by 24/7 Chat, email or phone (215-686-5322). The library is not responsible for text messages that are not received by the library or delays due to telecommunications carrier or Internet connectivity delays or failures.

8.  What type of response will I get?

When you ask a question by sending a text message to the Library, you give the Library permission to respond to you by sending a text message. Responses will be sent as text messages to the phone you used to ask your question. Text message replies from the Library to your cell phone may arrive as multiple text messages.

9.  Are my questions private?

Your privacy is important to us, and the Free Library of Philadelphia is committed to protecting the privacy of users of our collections and services. The Text a Librarian service collects limited personal information in order to respond to questions submitted by patrons and gather general usage and quality statistics. All text messages sent to and from the Text a Librarian service are directed through standard telecommunication and Internet channels. The Email-to-SMS server that processes the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Text a Librarian text messages is maintained by textalibrarian.com. Their Privacy Policy is available at http://textalibrarian.com

 

10.  How Do I Get Started?

Text askfree 66746.

11.  Do I Need to Include Askfree?

No. You only need to include askfree for the first question you send to us.