SPEC Kit 304: Social Software in Libraries · 59
SU Library’s Instant Messaging Service
The goal of our IM reference service is to provide SU users with an easily accessible, customer friendly, off site
option for basic research assistance. Our IM reference service is one of several ways our patrons can contact
us for help.
Ask a Librarian
Using Meebo/IM to answer user questions about collections, services, and provide research assistance. This
service is also included on our Facebook widget and Google gadget.
Spark through Jabber
Online reference service.
Individual Liaison IM Reference
Individual liaisons opt-in to use IM or chat in their liaison reference activities. Some have embedded chat
widgets on their subject pages.
Provide virtual reference service
IM for Reference Service
A few of our librarians (on a volunteer basis) have agreed to publish their IM screen names in various
services on our staff directory pages (such as the example page given above). Not all librarians are doing this
“ofﬁcially” yet. We are also experimenting with using MEEBO to embed chat inside of certain Web pages.
Meebo is currently implemented in test, 7–10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.
Using Meebo for online reference. We have accounts with AIM, MSN, ICQ, GoogleTalk, and Yahoo! through
our Meebo account. Some staff also have personal accounts for internal staff use.
MeeboMe for Chat Reference
To provide reference services to library patrons.
Peabody Library Ask George service
We have tested chat/IM a couple of times. Currently, we have a pilot project working at our Peabody library
which seems to have gotten some attention from patrons. We also host a dedicated IM server used by library
staff to communicate with each other.
The library’s IM service is focused on students and faculty to allow them to get real time assistance even if
they are not physically in the library.
Reference IM - Ask a Librarian
IM reference is available 10 am to 3 pm M–F. Librarians monitor account and interact with patrons.
We have just recently implemented an IM reference service and consider it still in beta.