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David Lee King

Topeka Has IM



IM in Topeka!My library has just started two things, really:

  1. IM reference! (Yippie!)
  2. Using the Meebo Me widget

We have wanted to begin IM reference for over a year at least. One of the cool things about being the Digital Branch Manager at this library is that the library as a whole is excited about new ways to reach out to customers, and doesn’t shy away from all this new-fangled technology stuff (translation=everything I do).

Our Adult Services Department actually came to me and asked if they could start IM – they even had a plan in place to use the Meebo Me widget, so they could get everything up-and-running quickly (we’re also in the process of installing Trillian on all staff computers). Basically, all I had to do was say “go for it.”

So far, the Meebo Me widget is working out well. The things we’re working through are more procedural issues, like what to do when reference staff receive a phone call and an IM question at the same time (ie., do we go into away mode or just quickly type “hold”?).

So – this should be just the tip of our Digital Branch iceberg!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.daveyp.com/blog/ Dave Pattern

    Yay — just had a quick chat with someone on your Ref Desk :-)

    I’ve been beta testing Meebo Me in our MetaLib installation and the students who’ve used it have been really enthusiastic.

  • http://www.daveyp.com/blog/ Dave Pattern

    Yay — just had a quick chat with someone on your Ref Desk :-)

    I’ve been beta testing Meebo Me in our MetaLib installation and the students who’ve used it have been really enthusiastic.

  • http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/ Noreen Fish

    We’ve been using Meebo Me since last September. As far as what to do when you’ve got a phone call or someone at the desk and a Meebo patron, it kind of depends. Some of us are more comfortable multi-tasking than others. I usually try to do both, at least at first. If the person on Meebo doesn’t reply immediately, I can often finish off the other question before I need to get back to them.

  • http://www.lacrosselibrary.org Noreen Fish

    We’ve been using Meebo Me since last September. As far as what to do when you’ve got a phone call or someone at the desk and a Meebo patron, it kind of depends. Some of us are more comfortable multi-tasking than others. I usually try to do both, at least at first. If the person on Meebo doesn’t reply immediately, I can often finish off the other question before I need to get back to them.

  • http://www.hclib.org/ Glenn Peterson

    Congrats, David! We’re about ready on the tech side, but not the staffing side. We like the Plugoo widget since it can connect with AOL accounts and we can use Trillian (or Pidgin). Did you find a way to get around the the constant connection approval windows with the MeeboMe/Trillian combo?

  • http://www.hclib.org/ Glenn Peterson

    Congrats, David! We’re about ready on the tech side, but not the staffing side. We like the Plugoo widget since it can connect with AOL accounts and we can use Trillian (or Pidgin). Did you find a way to get around the the constant connection approval windows with the MeeboMe/Trillian combo?

  • http://www.librarianinblack.net/ Sarah Houghton-Jan (Librarian

    Congratulations to the tenth degree, David! We are planning to do the same with our new website, which is still in the design phase. That MeeboMe Widget is the best thing since sliced bread.

  • http://www.librarianinblack.net Sarah Houghton-Jan (Librarian in Black)

    Congratulations to the tenth degree, David! We are planning to do the same with our new website, which is still in the design phase. That MeeboMe Widget is the best thing since sliced bread.

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  • Rikhei

    I wish you better luck with Trillian than we had – we couldn’t get it to stay connected to the Meebo server. (We’re using GAIM/Pidgin instead.)

  • Rikhei

    I wish you better luck with Trillian than we had – we couldn’t get it to stay connected to the Meebo server. (We’re using GAIM/Pidgin instead.)

  • http://roycekitts.blogspot.com/ royce

    Love the meebo. I am currently working on IM buy-in at my library: The Manhattan Public Library in Manhattan, Kansas.

    I think the question you presented about what to do when you have to choose between IM and a phone call is a very interesting policy question.

    I would be most interested in seeing how things work out.

    side note:
    I am spending this weekend in graduate school at ESU/SLIM with two people from your library, and talking to one of them earlier today they thought that the meebo was “awesome”.

  • http://roycekitts.blogspot.com royce

    Love the meebo. I am currently working on IM buy-in at my library: The Manhattan Public Library in Manhattan, Kansas.

    I think the question you presented about what to do when you have to choose between IM and a phone call is a very interesting policy question.

    I would be most interested in seeing how things work out.

    side note:
    I am spending this weekend in graduate school at ESU/SLIM with two people from your library, and talking to one of them earlier today they thought that the meebo was “awesome”.

  • lissa

    I was using chat software to help patrons in 2001 at the University of Illinois libraries before I came to TSCPL, and I never figured out why this didn’t catch on more quickly with more libraries, so I was VERY glad that we are finally using meebo here in Topeka. Last Friday, I had THREE meebo questions simultaneously, which was a bit tricky since there is no way on a shared “reference” account to have another staff person take one of the questions, and no way to set my status to “I’m helping someone” without disconnecting with the three people I already have! Another problem with a shared account for me is that patrons seem to want to know who they are talking to. I had a patron log on three times over the course of my shift, and she would ask the same three questions before getting to her new question in order to see if the answers would be the same (I asked her the third time who she was repeating questions and she said “wanted to see who was answering”. Occassional overload and identity issues aside, I think that patrons are really enjoying trying out this new service at TSCPL. I hope that we can staff meebo more soon – right now we are only logging in M-F 9-5, and I think that evenings and weekend hours would be useful to our customers. (We have to get speakers out at the reference desks first though, so that we can hear the “ding”)

  • lissa

    I was using chat software to help patrons in 2001 at the University of Illinois libraries before I came to TSCPL, and I never figured out why this didn’t catch on more quickly with more libraries, so I was VERY glad that we are finally using meebo here in Topeka. Last Friday, I had THREE meebo questions simultaneously, which was a bit tricky since there is no way on a shared “reference” account to have another staff person take one of the questions, and no way to set my status to “I’m helping someone” without disconnecting with the three people I already have! Another problem with a shared account for me is that patrons seem to want to know who they are talking to. I had a patron log on three times over the course of my shift, and she would ask the same three questions before getting to her new question in order to see if the answers would be the same (I asked her the third time who she was repeating questions and she said “wanted to see who was answering”. Occassional overload and identity issues aside, I think that patrons are really enjoying trying out this new service at TSCPL. I hope that we can staff meebo more soon – right now we are only logging in M-F 9-5, and I think that evenings and weekend hours would be useful to our customers. (We have to get speakers out at the reference desks first though, so that we can hear the “ding”)

  • davidleeking

    Thanks, Lissa! Very cool comment from someone at my library about how using Meebo is going so far.

  • davidleeking

    Thanks, Lissa! Very cool comment from someone at my library about how using Meebo is going so far.