Text-a-Librarian and other new technology

tcox@bcgov.netNovember 4, 2012 

The Beaufort County Library now offers two new services to Beaufort County residents. One of these services is called Text-a-Librarian, which allows customers to ask the library questions via text message. It is a convenient -- and fun -- way to receive assistance.

Those with texting capabilities on their cellphone can text a question. To begin, users text the phrase "askbcl" to the number 66746, and they immediately receive an automated response that gives them the go-ahead to ask a question. From that point, customers can easily ask the library questions from their phones. It is important to note that standard message rates apply through a customer's cellphone carrier.

Our reference librarians respond to text inquiries from their computers. Customers can ask anything -- help with their library accounts or with placing holds and renewing items, or more extensive questions, such as "When is the first day of winter?" or "Who was the 33rd vice president of the United States?" Our reference staff will retrieve your answer as quickly as possible. (For those interested, the 2012 winter solstice is Dec. 21, and Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd vice president of the United States, from 1941-45.)

Text-a-Librarian also offers the ability to ask a question via instant message, or "chat." Go to the library's homepage and click on "Ask a Question," or go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/ask.

The texting and chat services are available during the library system's normal hours.

Also new is Brainfuse.

Are you looking for homework help now? Do you need someone to review your research paper? Are you seeking guidance with your resume? Look no further than Brainfuse, the Beaufort County Library's online tool for learners of all ages.

Brainfuse is a comprehensive suite of online academic services designed to support many learning styles, and accessible for a variety of age groups and academic needs, ranging from children to adult learners. It offers, among many services, on-demand, one-on-one homework heIp.

In the Intensive Writing Lab, students have the ability to upload a paper and receive a detailed, constructive analysis within 24 hours. Brainfuse also provides a test center with subject specific tests like math and science, and more general practice tests for the SAT, ACT, GED and more. Users get instant results and can share their results with an online tutor for a targeted skills-building session.

A tool called "Flashbulb" allows learners to create their own online flashcards they can share with others. Users can also join friends in an online classroom called the "Collaboration Suite" where they can study for tests, work on homework assignments, and team up on projects. The "Brainwave" function allows users to record an action to share with others, such as recording the process to solve a complicated math problem.

Brainfuse also offers an adult learning center, where adults can receive live resume and cover letter assistance, Microsoft Word and Excel skills building, and take practice tests such as the U.S. citizenship test.

Trained tutors are standing by at Brainfuse. To access it, go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/brainfuse. To create an account, users will need their Beaufort County Library card numbers.

For more information on these services, stop by any reference or children's desk at your local library branch or call 843-255-6430.

Traci Cox is the information services coordinator at the Beaufort County Library System.

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