Monday, April 27, 2009

Communication 2.0 - Assignment 1

At Mansfield Library, e-mail is pretty much an indispensable communication tool. Being a mid-size academic library, we have a lot of staff, so e-mail is a great way to make sure the same information gets out to everyone. We're also all on a Microsoft exchange server, so using Outlook as our e-mail client also allows us to view several people's schedules at once to facilitate finding a time when everyone is free for a meeting. And then you can send an invitation that automatically updates everyone's calendar. Pretty cool.

From a patron standpoint, I love that we get e-mails telling us when materials are due, or when requests are available from ILL (since I started graduate school this semester, I've been using ILL a lot!). It's so nice not to have to keep track of those little slips of paper.

As Lauren said, we have a Meebo chat box on our homepage. I don't work the reference desk, so I don't really have any first hand knowledge of how it works, but I hear it's gaining popularity (or at least usage is up, which must mean it's more popular, right?). I personally would prefer e-mail or chat to texting as distance reference tools, mostly because I'd rather use a full size keyboard, but I can see where some of our patrons who are more adept at that whole texting thing. I do think it's important to provide at least some of these 2.0 options for reference tools for our patrons though, both because it's the world many of them live in, and because it's just not always convenient or even possible for a patron to come to the library in person, and we still need to serve them.

I use IM only a little - I have MSN messenger installed and use it to send quick notes to my husband (lately these mostly involve library books that are due which I've forgotten to bring with me!) or to ask my coworkers quick questions when I'm working from home. I never thought I'd be a texter until I started graduate school, but it seems to be the way a lot of my classmates communicate, and I've grudgingly admitted that it's useful for things like telling my accompanist which practice room I'm in, or setting up a scene rehearsal for my acting class. So I guess I'm a convert of sorts. :)