I have decided to reflect on the following:
Many libraries provide instant messaging and VoIP reference services, how would you feel about communicating with patrons this way? Do you think uses would have different service expectations when they use these tools?
[Skype] and instant messaging are a cheaper way for people to communicate with colleagues; loved ones and friends. Using Skype is just like talking to each other face to face and I use it to keep in touch with friends and family who live interstate.
[Wikipedia] Is the voice over Internet Protocol that allows communication over the Internet.
Instant Messaging in Libraries:
[Educause] Instant messages is the way people can communicate through personal computers or mobile computing devices.
[National Archives] IM allows people to
- Exchange text messages
- Respnd to messages
- Block other users
- Communicate with people who use the same software
[Top Windows Tutorials] The major Instant Messenger Providers are:
With the budgetary restraints and libraries having to justify themselves within an organization, the use of instant messaging and Skype would go long way to help them achieve this. It would allow communication between branch libraries to go more smoothly.
Communicating with patrons using instant messaging and VoIP reference tools would be a bit confronting for me at first. That is always the case when you learn to use new technologies in the work place for the first time. At first you always worry about being to slow or not providing the right information to the users.
If the user is not happy with the answer or the service provided they will not came back and use the service. Unhappy users would not recommend the service to others and this in the long run would affect the Library service has a whole.
On the other hand I would realize the benefit of instant messaging and VoIP to provide a more compressive library service to everyone including:
- House bound
- External users
- Interstate and overseas users
- Library Help Desk – to be able call for assistance.
I do not think that users have different expectation using VoIP reference services or instant messaging over face to face encounters. All users expect great and prompt service from their Library and this will not change by using VoIP reference services and instant messaging are just another way for Libraries to increase good quality services to users.