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Virtual Reference, IM chat and Beyond: Taking Reference Services out of the Library

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  1. Virtual Reference, IM chat and Beyond: Taking Reference Services out of the Library Laura Maldonado Deborah Gaspar Sarah Palacios-Wilhelm

  2. Introducing IM to GW • Millenials and the Pew Internet study • IM? We already have VR! • Research • Training • Pilot studies • Next? Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  3. IM Generation • Research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (July 27, 2005) • Teens use e-mail, but prefer IM • “email is something you use to talk to “old people”, institutions, or to send complex instructions to large groups” • 75% of teens ages 12 – 17 send or receive instant messages Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  4. VR vs. IM • Gelman Library has provided Virtual Reference for 4 years. • Only 1.5% of GW students took advantage of VR • How do we serve students in their preferred medium of communication? Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  5. Getting started • Study Phase • Software requirements • Literature search • Potential IM usage • Surveyed universities providing an IM service • Pilot for librarians • Introduce Reference team to IM • Is IM a good fit for Gelman? • Training opportunity Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  6. Fall 2005 • Patron pre-pilot pilot • Offered for 10 days • Designed advertising • Designed webpage for spring pilot • Tested patron experience • Standardized usage procedures Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  7. Spring 2006 – Patron Pilot • Documented student use • Logs and statistics • Preferred hours of service • Documented ARL guidelines - Reference questions - Directional questions • “Best Practices” • Drafted and implemented • Continuous service assessment Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  8. …and Beyond? • Student feedback • Expanded advertising • Evening hours • Inclusion of other library staff • Evaluation of service Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06

  9. For more information • Laura Maldonado AIM: maldonalGLS maldonal@gwu.edu 202-994-1373 • Deborah Gaspar AIM: DebbieGLS dgaspar@gwu.edu 202-994-1333 • Sarah Palacios-Wilhelm AIM: sarahpwilhelm palacios@gwu.edu 202-242-8290 Gelman Library George Washington University 2130 H Street NW Washington DC 20052 Computers in Libraries Gelman Library System The George Washington University 03/06