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White Plains Library Debuts Text Service

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — White Plains Public Library became the first Westchester library to answer patrons' questions via text messages when it unveiled its Text A Librarian service last week.

Nancy Kunz, community relations librarian, said reference desk staff have only fielded a few text inquires. Still, library staff and Mayor Thomas Roach say they’re confident it will catch on. According to a library release, Americans now text twice as often as they talk on cellphones, making it the preferred communication choice for those on the go.

“The White Plains Public Library is once again at the forefront of utilizing technology to reach users and make library services more accessible,” Roach said in a statement. “The new service provides an easy-to-use interface for our librarians and maintains the privacy of our patrons' information."

Library users can send questions to librarians by prefacing requests with the abbreviation “WPPL” and addressing the text to 66746. Their questions pop up on the reference desk's computers, where staffer type a response that is then texted back to the patron. No phone numbers are displayed.

“I don’t know of any limitations. People can ask for a phone number they’re trying to get or if we have a book in. It’s pretty wide open at the moment,” said Kunz. “It’s just another way that we can provide services.”

The Text A Librarian service is available during White Plains Library’s hours: Monday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

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