New IM Report

Via Stephen Abram:

This post includes facts from a new report from AOL on IM use ( and then Stephen weighs in:

More grist for the library mill. I recall seeing a 1956/57 article in the Wilson Library Bulletin advising libraries not to adopt telephone reference. From my travels this year, we seem to be split on piloting IM reference and resisting it. This seems to be a watershed issue in libraries and our relationship with our users.

Several folks have informed me that their library IM trial yielded poor results. I asked how they marketed and promoted the service. As a rule, they hadn’t done very much promotion at all. Some feared getting too many questions (an odd irony). I know of one library that got amazing results just by getting every staff member to give the special group IM address on a bookmark to every teen who arrived in the library. The word of mouth marketing this generated worked very well. Now that the average IM user is 32, this kind of promotion could be done very effectively by circulation and information commons desks.