For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Free Library of Philadelphia users can now send questions on-the-go from their cell phones

PHILADELPHIA, June 16, 2009—With the Free Library of Philadelphia’s new Text A Librarian service, customers can find the answers to all of their library questions at their fingertips. Launched on June 1, the service allows users to text simple questions to Library staffers during operating hours and receive answers within approximately two hours—questions received afterhours will be answered when service hours resume.

Supported through a grant from Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the Free Library’s Text A Librarian service was brought to the Library in cooperation with Ask Here PA. The Free Library was selected by Ask Here PA’s State Coordinator to be the pilot location for the state, and the Library will provide the service for a year under the arrangement.

To use the Text A Librarian service, customers must start the body of their text message with the keyword askfree, followed by a space and a question. Messages should then be sent to 66746. Example: askfree Do you have resources for job seekers?

Text A Librarian is just one of many ways Library customers can ask questions and is recommended for questions that can be answered in short response—customers with more in-depth inquiries should visit the Ask a Librarian page at, where the Library offers a variety of services for answering questions. Visits, calls, and emails are all encouraged, and the Library also features Ask Here PA Chat, a program supported through a grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

The Free Library does not charge for the Text A Librarian service; cell phone providers, however, generally charge customers for sending and/or receiving text messages. The Free Library assumes no responsibility for charges cell phone provider may assess and encourages customers to consult their cell phone service provider for details about applicable charges

The Free Library is committed to protecting the privacy of its customers, and the Text A Librarian service collects limited personal information in order to respond to questions submitted by patrons. The server that processes the Library’s text messages is maintained by—a privacy policy is available at their website

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.




Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850