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More than seventy-five libraries are listed as of May 1, 2006.

As I’ve written at Tame the Web and spoken about at many conferences, the number-one benefit of IM reference is the fact that, through IM, librarians put themselves out in the cyberspaces, online places where our users are working and playing.

IM has been around for a long time in Internet years.

Many of these users are teens, a demographic that has adopted the medium in high numbers. It also puts the librarian as close as possible to the point of need of an information seeker—especially if the IM name is featured throughout your Web site and the online catalog as well as on other Web sites in your community.( Fire—An open-source Macintosh application used by SJCPL for virtual reference, with many of the same features as the above. ( In addition, there is Google Talk ( and ICQ (com).These could also be solutions for online reference, if your user base utilizes them.2006 Conference, in a session devoted to IM and libraries, I was asked to speak a few minutes about how IM can improve collaboration and build community among librarians. However, this library system is very reluctant to change and slow to respond to most new ideas.So I created a brief survey at Survey Monkey, and the informal survey yielded more than 600 responses. I feel very discouraged when I meet with professionals in other library systems that get to try new things.” I also received some survey feedback about barriers in some libraries that prevent the librarians from using IM.

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