Monday, November 17, 2008

Thing 20: Can I ask you a Question?

I kept missing Jennifer while she was online so I decided to try out an IM Reference site. I recently spoke with a librarian in my hometown library and she noted that they had begun using brought up reference chat and she was a bit disappointed that it hadn't quite caught on yet. We discussed marketing and promoting so I thought I would IM her via the reference chat and see how things were going since our last discussion.

35 minutes later, no response. Nada, no away message, nothing. Not to be critical of my colleagues in the public library world, but this is a perfect example of a good idea gone bad. I know the library is extremely busy after school or maybe a staff shortage, but there should be some way for the user to get feedback as to status or at least something equal to "Your call is important to us." If I was Joe Library User and I'd been waiting this long I'd just turn to Google. Bad PR.

We've been using Trillian on all of the staff workstations here at the library. It's a great way for desk staff to quickly IM the cataloging department or the children's room on the lower level when they're sending a patron down to retrieve a book .Often, the book is in the hands of the children's staff by the time the patron gets downstairs. Personally, I've found Trillian a great way to communicate with my son who is away at college. His freshman year he would post his whole day's agenda as his away message. I've suggested to all of my friends who have kids away at school that they should adopt this technology, it's like a baby monitor for college kids. It's also a great way to communicate quick messages from home like, "Could you pick up some milk?" or "Mom, I need index cards, can you get some on the way home."

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