IM is a force to be reckoned with – does it have a place in your library?

Aaron and TechnoBiblio discuss the results of AOL’s Second Annual IM Survey and what it might mean for reference services especially in libraries that haven’t chosen yet to do virtual reference. Now, granted, a “trends” survey is a different animal than an actual scientific survey, and AOL has much to gain by people thinking that it and other IM clients are fairly ubiquitous. However, it’s hard to deny the numbers. I’m an old lady and I’m sure I send more IMs than I do email [although I also think that’s a false distinction in many ways] and I would use it a lot more if more people I knew were using it. Remember, it’s not just an AOL thing. There are many open source clients that you can use, even to chat with your pals on AIM. I would like to see some real numbers comparing libraries that use virtual reference software and libraries that use IM clients for chat reference comparing cost, usage, ease-of-use, and overall successfulness.