I posted this yesterday, and received some good comments. So this post will focus on those comments:
Add patience to that list From SkaGirlie (make sure to read her way-hip blog, by the way). Sorta tongue-in-cheek, sorta not. My three solutions for what to do with staff that don’t want to accept the web as communication focused on the staff members themselves. Skagirlie’s solution focused on… well… ME! Those of us who “get it” need to be extremely patient as we deal with those who don’t “get it.”
We also need to make sure we don’t lump those who don’t get it into one all-inclusive “don’t get it” category. That seemingly reluctant staff member might be awesome, say, at children’s outreach… and once your patience and continued explanations have sunk in, that person might take off with some new “so completely with it” focus that you’ll be blown away. It’s happened before.
Comment #2 [edited a tad]:
Where is the line drawn? … But if we are talking about communication – then what about providing Skype on a public terminal? Again, little additional expense (assuming that someone brings their own headset) or effort on behalf of the library … What about setting aside a semi-private space for videoconferencing? … just wondering what makes sense for a broad array of libraries and what tools / facilities they provide to their communities. From cj.
Good points! Why don’t libraries provide Skype to their customers… Wow. I can see it now: “Library provides free long distance service to community. Baby Bell is considering a lawsuit. News at 11.” But seriously…
Bottom line? Libraries need to find out how their customers want to communicate, and then do that. Is it IM? Then provide IM. Do you have a large customer base that has been asking for Skype? Then why not? Videoconferencing? My library has considered it – I won’t be surprised if we offer videoconferencing in the future (depending on funds, of course). Other libraries do offer videoconferencing. Here’s one from a small public library in Missouri. I’m sure there are others, too.
So again – focus on what your customers: 1. are doing. and 2. want (within reason, budget, and technical limitations).
We don’t offer the IM clients here at the Missouri River Regional Library, because of patron privacy concerns. We are concerned about the fact that many patrons would set the client to remember their user/pass combo and then the next person to use the machine would have access to their “stuff”. The way we get around this is to provide links to a web-based service called e-messenger. This seems to work pretty well – so far! From Robin.
Good idea! e-Messenger is to the web what Trillian or Gaim is to client-based IM – it provides a way to chat via MSN, Yahoo!, and/or AIM. If you want just one flavor of web-based IM, try services like AIM Express, MSN Web Messenger, or Yahoo! Web Messenger.