Today I had my first reference interaction using AOL IM. My library has been doing chat reference for quite some time, and we are available for about ten hours on most weekdays. Our business is good, and we are able to help quite a few students with library research. We have about twelve people who staff our chat queue. Personally, I am only on chat once or twice a day and these times are irregular. As a result, this makes it difficult for would-be chatters to contact me directly.
Last summer I created both Yahoo! IM and AIM accounts and posted them on my library contact information page. By doing this, I wanted to enable business students to be able to contact me directly. In each class I showed students my contact information, and talked about being available through IM. Day after day I would start up my IM client, only to shut it down eight hours later. It was all quiet on the chat front —–until now.
The question was fairly basic. The patron wanted to know the update frequency of the Value Line Investment Survey. I answered him, and also referred him to another similar resource. Again, pretty basic, but very effective act extending my reach and going where the users are. Will there be more? Only time will tell.