Last week I ended one of my library instruction classes with a spur-of-the-moment survey by asking how many students in the class had used our Ask-A-Librarian service. Four students raised their hands. I then asked how many students used IM, and nearly every one of the 25 students raised their hands. I asked them if they would consider IMing a librarian if our library had its own IM account. Most agreed that they would IM the library, and many believed that using IM would be easier than VR, because they are already familiar with IM software. One of my colleagues attended the session to watch me teach, and she left convinced that our library needs to try an IM reference program. We are looking at launching a pilot program for IM reference in the fall. To get staff ready, I am having them sign up for both Yahoo! and AIM accounts, and we are installing Trillian as our IM client. In the daily interaction of the office, we are getting practice with the software, and some staff members are sending files over IM. It will take some time before everyone jumps on board, but by fall, I hope to have our entire staff crazy about IM.
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