April 13, 2005

Training IM: A Ready To Go Module

Training IM

Last week I did some IM Training for some new and seasoned staff who will be working at SJCPL Service areas that use IM (Reference and AV) to answer questions. It was a good exercise and now I see more clearly how to set up this type of training. I wanted them to get screenames first, then chat with each other and then tackle some exercises. I did all the things a good trainer should do: checked my equipment, tested the computers and preppeed the room and handouts.

What I didn't count on was having issue with logging in to iChat (we were on Macs, thank you very much) with a new screename. I tested it on a random training room computer and it worked for me. In the class - it didn't. No one could log in.

How I will do it differently: Next time, I want all 20 macs pre-configured with iChat and Fire (a multi client chat app for OS X) and each to have a pre-configured screen name: SJCPLTrain1, SJCPLTrain2, SJCPLTrain3, etc.

That way, we don't spend the time signing up and logging in. I want to save that for other training times, maybe as Advanced IM. Along with the IM Reference initiative here, we have a thriving community of IMing staff who communicate and work better because of this software. It does my heart good, I said to my Assistant Director this afternoon, to meet with our Staff Development Librarian and hear her plans to mount an IM directory on the intranet and encourage staff to IM her.

Anyway, here are my training documents. Maybe some of you can use them.

IMHandout.ppt
PPT file used as a handout for IM Training. CUSTOMIZE to your library and your IM Client

IMOutline.doc
Trainer's Outline & Objectives

IMQuestions.doc
Sample questions. Give to half of your students

IMQuestions2.doc
Sample questions. Give to other half of your students

Posted by Michael at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another IMing Library (A Shifted Library! Right, Jenny?)

http://www.ncpl.info/departments/reference/im.htm

From colleague and workshop participant Stephen Boggs, who is director of New Carlisle Public Library in New Carlisle, IN (at the far west reaches of my county), we get a report of what he's doing at his library since the "Reinventing Libraries Workshop" This rocks my world.

So far I have set-up three additional IM accounts for the library. Information about or screen names is posted on our main web page @ www.ncpl.info

The accounts were fairly easy to establish, though I have switched to a program called PSI to handle all three accounts instead of managing three different IM programs at once. I'm hoping that kids/adults will see that we are trying to be as approchable as possible, especially since it simply takes just a few clicks to ask a question. I am also going to try to have the staff sign up for IM accounts for quickie questions and general communication instead of using the intercom or waiting for an e-mail reply. It's easy to do, but people don't care to "have their cheese moved," so I need to remember to be patient and supportive when introducing things like this to the staff.

I have also started a blog. It is located at http://ncplinfo.blogspot.com/ The cool thing about it is that I can just use my normal e-mail to post to it. Some ask why do both a blog and a website? Simple. They are two different things. The blog is strictly a list and nothing more, whereas the website is much more structured. I must admit that as I was browsing some library related blogs I was quite put off by what the ALA President had to say about bloggers in general. That's okay, that's one less organization to which I need to belong.

Rock On Stephen! I hope the internal IM initiative goes well. Two key words for introducing staff to new technologies: patient and supportive. Some staff will take to it like ducks to the pond, some staff will fight anything that's new, and some staff fall in between. I'm pondering buy-in a lot these days... it's important for success in libraries for sure!

Posted by Michael at 06:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Multiple Online Personalities at Lansing PL

http://www.kellistaley.com/2005/04/our-multiple-online-personalities.html

Kelli Staley writes about the IM experience at Lansing PL, and shares some cool stuff about how it all works:

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!

I love that Booktalks increase IM questions. That type of promotion will build up the service.

I'm sad though that the Adult Reader's Advisory folks aren't excited about IM. What might get them into having IM at their desk? Stats might bore them. A mandate from admin would turn them off. Hmm..could some anecdotal evidence -- stories if you will -- get them to buy in? (This isn't new -- I'm channeling Durrance and Abram here folks!)

We recently had an IM:

[17:46] Patron: Hello
[17:46] Patron: Is anyone here?
[17:47] AskSJCPL: Hi. May we help you?
[17:47] Patron: Are you a robot?
[17:48] AskSJCPL: We are live librarians.

No, not that one, but how about this:

[11:27] IM User: Hello I am a student from (a local college) and i have a question for you about one of your books
[11:28] AskSJCPL: sure, go ahead.
[11:28] IM User: I had looked through a book that my friend had taken out from your library titled (cool book by a cool author)
[11:28] IM User: I would like to use one of his ideas for a project but I do not have the bibliographic information
[11:29] IM User: could you by any chance get that for me, I do not have time to come to the library myself
[11:30] AskSJCPL: Okay. What sort of info do you need?
[11:31] AskSJCPL: Author, date of publication, publisher?
[11:32] AskSJCPL: (Bib info given)
[11:32] AskSJCPL: it's 64 pages long
[11:34] AskSJCPL: are you still there?
[11:34] IM User: yes
[11:34] IM User: that is perfect
[11:35] IM User: thanks you very much
[11:35] AskSJCPL: you're welcome, have a nice day!
[11:35] IM User: thanks u too!!

I might make the point that by serving the patron's need at their point of need via the method that was the best for them at the time, the library is providing some darn good service. I'm curious, readers, what other IM stories might we share? Comment here if you'd like.


Kelli also made a nice comment in response to Jenny's comment: "I agree with Jenny...the catalog should be the main source for this info, but we all know that many of our patrons are intimidated by the catalog or lack the searching techniques to find what they want. Just as our patrons learn our catalog interfaces, an upgrade can make them feel as if they're at square one again.
If the IM inquiry about a film, cd or audiobook is what it's going to take to pull them back into the library (especially if they've been gone a while) then we stand a chance at promoting all the other wonderful services & programs they are missing out on! It's all about getting those independent tech saavy patrons back in the door so we can show them it's NOT all on the internet!"

I hear you and I agree!

Posted by Michael at 06:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IM Online Status! (Presence Rules)

Hey - now you can tell if the SJCPL IM Reference service is online or not! We were inspired by Lansing!

http://www.libraryforlife.org/asksjcpl/asksjcpl.html

Thanks Maire!

Posted by Michael at 06:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

SJCPL IM Reference Expands to Audio Visual

askavlogo.jpg

This is in the works for the library's Sights & Sounds department! Direct IM capability to find out if music, movies or audiobooks are available. I'll be training a bit with the staff before they go live.

I was tickled to see we are on the right track when I saw Jenny's post about Lansing Public Library and their multiple screen names. "Kelli wrote, “Our library is on 2 levels, so we have separate screen names for different age groups. AskLPLAdult, AskLPLTeen, AskLPLYouth (we're on Yahoo & AOL).” She went on to note that a few weeks ago, they received IMs from students in Florida and Ohio. Those two requests are from students who couldn’t IM their local library. Can your students IM yours?"

Can your patrons IM your service desks? Can your librarians IM each other across the boundaries of distance (Floors? Miles?)?

Here's the promo bookmark prototype courtesy of SJCPLSkagirlie!

Posted by Michael at 03:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

IM Article at Library Journal

Schmidt & Stephens 2005:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA512192

Posted by Michael at 08:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2005

Playing with Jybe

SJCPLskagirlie is playing with Jybe with one of our Nextgen libs.

Neat stuff. Think of the learning opportunities for a librarian, a user and a learner to co-browse a few sites.

Posted by Michael at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

IM solving VR Woes

Good stuff here: http://blog.uwinnipeg.ca/schwagbag/archives/2005/03/im.html

So here are some of the pros and cons (for our particular situation), and my general questions . . .

Pros
it's saves several thousands of dollars a year – it's free!
it works – bonus!
no messy setup or clunky interfaces; uses a medium that many/most students are already familiar with
ability to create customized 'queues' per subject or librarian for things like subject pages (simply create an appropriate and different screen name for that purpose), which with VR software can cost around $3000 per librarian
it's 'disposable': one thing that really bothers me about our current system is that all questions and transcripts are kept for three months, and in terms of privacy issues, we have no control over that

Cons
much more challenging to keep statistics
lose the ability to refer and track email questions (a component of our VR software) among numerous subject librarians

I think the stats issue could be handled without too much muss and fuss for most libraries. A database could be set up on the IM computer and each questions could be entered and cataegorized: reference, informational, etc. Then you'd have some good stats to pull out.

Posted by Michael at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2005

Another Nail in the VR Coffin?

JYBE!

Even as I post this, David King, Chad and Blake and I are co-browsing the Web! We all downloaded and installed JYBE and joined the same session. Suddenly, we were watching as David took us around the KCPL site! There is a built in chat room at the bottom of the page! We were chatting within the browser! WOWZA! Thanks to the fellow who posed the question to Aaron and I at our CIL IM presentation: "Have you tried Jybe?" And thanks to Chris Jowaisis who told me about it when it launched in January.

Think of the implications for virtual reference without bloated software!

guysbrowsing

We were able to surf together. I loaded up Indiana's access to EBSCOHOST and we searched together, found an article and downloaded. Everyone got a copy!

Blake said: "I never want to browse alone again."

My mind reels....

Posted by Michael at 03:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

Libraries and Technology

No one should have to deal with a situation like this - folks, it's 2005 -- there are are tools we can use to communicate, to learn, to exchange information, to improve workflow...

Michael - I have information to share - but please do not use my name or identify my organization. My organization absolutely does not allow IM. In fact - I needed it for a training class and had to petition my boss, the head of IT, and others for permission. I got permission to use it for a specific amount of time - the duration of the class. Then it was immediately removed. That's my story.

This was a response to an email request Karen sent out for me to some mailing lists. My tummy hurts.

Posted by Michael at 02:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

February 11, 2005

IM Bookmark

Beatrice comments:

I'm a brand new librarian in a new job and getting giddy just reading this. I love the idea of the IM bookmark as a promotion. May we "borrow" this idea? My library is currently offering e/m and virtual ref, but virtual ref is sporadically active at best. I'm going to be talking to my colleagues today about trying chat reference (probably using Trillian); on any given day that I walk around the library I see students using databases, the web and one or two IM applications all at once. I'm hoping that we'll even reach those working from their dorm rooms.

This makes my heart warm. Beatrice - please borrow away! That's one of the beautiful things about all this library coolness around ... we borrow, change, grab inspiration and downright share all the time. Go for it! That goes for anyone that might be IMing and need some inspiration!

Posted by Michael at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2005

Promoting IM Reference Services at SJCPL


This weekend at Science Alive! we'll be distributing a bookmark promoting out IM Reference service..and then the librarians will be visiting schools, etc to give them out. I am interested to see if the stats jump!

Want to see the full bookmark - download it here (883k)

Posted by Michael at 08:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

SJCPL IM Stats (Updated)

Maire informs me that we have had 75 Instant Message reference transactions here at SJCPL fomr September 2004 to January 2005 -- no too shabby considering we have not publicized the ASK SJCPL Service at all -- no cards, no bookmarks, etc... just this page.

For a detailed examination, click here: http://www.skagirlie.net/wpblog/index.php?p=142

Posted by Michael at 05:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 27, 2005

Presence via the OS & iChat

Picture2.jpg

On my Macs, I use iChat to IM. I just realized when I send IM windows to the dock (the program launcher in Mac Os X), they look like the above. That, I believe, is an example of presence: the virtual person... available and engaged.

Thanks Maire for fixing the image!

Posted by Michael at 03:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2005

I just SKYPED with Steven Cohen

It was like we were talking across my desk! How cool.

Folks...I'm home watching it snow..if anyone wants to test Skype, I'll be logged in!

mstephens7

Posted by Michael at 11:34 AM

December 12, 2004

Presence - CJ @ Technobiblio

Thanks CJ!

http://www.technobiblio.com/archives/2004/12/email_and_im_get_hitched.php

I'm fascinated by the direction IM, e-mail and blogging is going... social networks, interaction, collaboration... sweetness.

Posted by Michael at 06:58 PM

November 22, 2004

Aaron's Stats from LJ!

stats.gif

LJ, Nov 15, 2004

Let's look at a simple ROI:

400 questions divided by 7 months is an average of 57 questions per month for virtually no huge cost -- just the staff time whatever the cost may be. For this type of outreach and what might be called "good buzz" (ala Jenny), that's priceless!

Posted by Michael at 05:02 PM

November 16, 2004

For David King

CharlieJake_1.jpg

Posted by Michael at 05:03 PM

November 09, 2004

I SEE YOU

After working at a branch yesterday for a Sunday shift I stopped to get gas at the grocery store/gas station/Starbucks complex up north of town. As I was pumping the petrol, my phone signaled I had a text:

"I see you getting gas..."

It was like a movie! I suddenly felt like the whole world was watching me and I hadn't known.

"Who is this?" I replied.

(Here's where every stalker thriller I've ever seen played out in my head..)

Turns out, it was my colleague Maire from SJCPL who does our Web Development. She was getting coffee and thought she'd text me to say hi...

Posted by Michael at 08:39 AM

November 01, 2004

IM Article at Red Herring

I can't remember where I got this!! But I file it here...

http://www.redherring.com/article.aspx?a=10870&hed=I%20work,%20therefore,%20IM

Posted by Michael at 02:55 PM

September 09, 2004

Video Chat... In my Robe

bobjudeIM.jpg

Will the next big wave of video chat for online collaboration result in folks like me paying more attention to their dress when connected? Here I am after a long soak, in my robe and chatting with Bob and Jude who were still at work at IUSB!

Posted by Michael at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Loads of IM info... Thanks Technobiblio!

"Frequent IM users, on the other hand, tended to use IM more as a tool for collaboration, with discussions covering a broad range of topics via many fast-paced interactions—each with many short turns in the conversation, much threading, and a predisposition towards multitasking. "

Oh yeah! Aaron and I have planned a number of things...and Steven and I have set up some collaborative stuff as well.

CJ never ceases to amaze me with the quality of his posts. Take a look at this about IM and the great articles he links to.

Posted by Michael at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2004

iChat Meeting with Aaron

Aaron and I are writing and article AND presenting at Internet Librarian -- so yeaterday we met for almost an hour via iChat on our Macs! Face to face and with audio...nice!

aaronchat.jpg

Posted by Michael at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2004

Instant Messaging at the Library: Re-Evaluating IM in your Library

The more I read (Abram and Luther in LJ this month!), the more I ponder, and the more I IM with colleagues and SJCPL staff, I realize we need to get serious about this form of communication.

I saw this recently in a library and it made me sad:

I totally understand restricting open chat rooms...but not IM. Just sayin!

Posted by Michael at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

I'm over it - New e-mail

I have received over 500 spam messages this weekend. So I turned off the old address here... mstephens (at) tametheweb.com!

New address:

mstephens7 (at sign) tametheweb (dot) com

mstephens7 (at sign) mac (dot) com still works as well!

Posted by Michael at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2004

That Instant Messaging is so HOT right now

Jenny points to this...while Aaron and Chris are blogging about it as well.

Here's what I've gathered in the year or so I've been connected:

IM with colleagues works! I have planned conference presentations with some good library folks, cried on a dear colleague's virtual shoulder when things seemed opretty dark, discussed my upcoming dive back into academia with numerous IM library pals, scheduled training and meetings with my SJCPL colleagues -- all VIA IM!

IM is great for a quick shout out -- better than e-mail really... "Hey did you see Jenny's post about THIS?" will always get me clicking to see what cool thing is coming up next.

Libraries can use IM as a means of virtual reference. Small investment..big results. There are libraries that do this! Aaron is! I'm changing the article I'm working on to highlight this stuff instead of Virtual reference -- which, according too many good folks, is DEAD or should be!

And in general, it's darn cool too be connected this way and hear from friends and family from all over the US in this "in the moment" way.

I do agree libraries and businesses will have to develop an IM policy to insure consistency of communication and some protocols. Note, I said libraries will have too... because I believe libraries should take this new HOT thing VERY seriously!

Cheers!

Posted by Michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

That Instant Messaging is so HOT right now

Jenny points to this...while Aaron and Chris are blogging about it as well.

Here's what I've gathered in the year or so I've been connected:

IM with colleagues works! I have planned conference presentations with some good library folks, cried on a dear colleague's virtual shoulder when things seemed opretty dark, discussed my upcoming dive back into academia with numerous IM library pals, scheduled training and meetings with my SJCPL colleagues -- all VIA IM!

IM is great for a quick shout out -- better than e-mail really... "Hey did you see Jenny's post about THIS?" will always get me clicking to see what cool thing is coming up next.

Libraries can use IM as a means of virtual reference. Small investment..big results. There are libraries that do this! Aaron is! I'm changing the article I'm working on to highlight this stuff instead of Virtual reference -- which, according too many good folks, is DEAD or should be!

And in general, it's darn cool too be connected this way and hear from friends and family from all over the US in this "in the moment" way.

I do agree libraries and businesses will have to develop an IM policy to insure consistency of communication and some protocols. Note, I said libraries will have too... because I believe libraries should take this new HOT thing VERY seriously!

Cheers!

Posted by Michael at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2004

Buddy Lists & Thommy

Check out Aaron's post at WP about IM and some young ladies at his library. I'm watching his IM the Library service closely... intrigued...

And, do older online folks IM? Technobiblio's post about the Silver Tsunami leads me to believe they probably do. IMing grandkids across the country. And what about the folks that have bought Web cams for grandma or grandma so they can see the kids?

Posted by Michael at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

Attention Fiddling Librarian

Caught your IMs after you had logged off. Watch for me and let's discuss!

Posted by Michael at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)