Our Multiple Online Personalities
So why would we choose to have multiple online personalities?
okay, you can call them screen names if you insist!
Well, our building is 2 stories. Resources needed to answer the questions of different age groups simply aren't in the same place!
Our Adult Reference is on one level, Teen & Youth are on the other level.
Patrons can feel a closer tie to the staff answering the IM and know they are directing it to the correct area.
How does our staff like this setup?
They like the the separate names. The Teen Dept. librarian said she gets a lot of young adult reader's advisory inquiries which our Reference desk would be unable to answer. Her IM traffic seems to pick up after she booktalks at the high school. Students will remember parts of what she said, and then inquire about the title.
It also helps to get an idea of the age of the patron right off the bat. Adult Reference said they do get some inquiries that are obviously a middle school or perhaps high school student but most of the reference materials they use for class projects are housed in the adult collection anyway, and IMs are usually a follow-up to a class visit to the library.
I reserved a name for adult readers advisory (our 4th public desk), but as of yet I haven't been able to get them excited enough to try it!
One of the biggest problems we've had lately is staff forgetting to log out at the end of the day. (We use Trillian) ...but at least we've gotten them to remember to log in!
Solution: I've got Trillian set up at home just so I can log in when we're closed, which disconnects the screen name from the library's computer, and then I log out.
We have also noticed that the "I'm away" message expires after a few hours on Trillian, so the user appears to have returned.
We did not have IM Reference active at the beginning of the school year (we started in October) so I imagine next year our numbers will increase.
Promo idea: Youth Services sponsors a teacher breakfast in July for all the local teachers (held before hours at the library) and each department gets the chance to promote services and how the teachers and the library can work together.
Apparently great minds think alike! Michael of Tame the Web is planning on adding a new screen name for their Sites & Sounds Department!