I’m working at a non-library job on a contract that lasts through 2009, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the library world. Today I am very proud to announce that I’ve created the service I wished for ten years ago.
Text LIBRARY 12345 to 41411, assuming that your ZIP code is 12345 (and if it is, how’s the weather in Schenectady?). You will get a text message with the name, address, and phone number of the nearest library.
Here’s how it works:
--You send the text message “LIBRARY 12345″ to 41411 (TextMarks).
--TextMarks uses the word LIBRARY to assign the rest of the message (”12345″) to my TextMarks application.
--My TextMarks application sends the rest of the message (in this case, your ZIP code) to a server at freeshell.org. Running PHP scripts on freeshell.org isn’t free, but for a one-time $36 donation, you get that privilege.
freeshell.org searches NCES for branch and central libraries, then finds the first result and identifies the name, address, and phone number in its HTML code.
freeshell.org sends back a very simple result with newlines where appropriate (view the source to see how it’s really formatted).
--TextMarks sends you the literal answer from freeshell.org, plus a brief advertisement with which TextMarks pays the bills. (I don’t see a penny from this except when y’all phone up potential employers and tell them they’d do well to hire me for 2010.)
Ben added a few bit that he'd like to add eventually, but this sounds like an amazing start on a genuinely new way of navigating the wide world of Libraryland.