Following extensive discussion and philosophical discourse regarding the necessity, use and feasibility of IM/chat services for academic library reference, we are now officially "live" with the library's new Ask Us! IM reference service. The updated help and chat page were sent to the staging server around 11:30 am; when I refreshed my browser at 1:30 pm, all was well. As soon as lunch is over, my partner in crime and I will do a widget test run, followed shortly by an email notification to all librarians complete with login reminders, web addresses, and information regarding basic statistics we would like to collect.
We have a soft marketing and word-of-mouth target strategy planned. Tomorrow, I have permission to add a "new" link to the main library page. It will then be featured on the "What's new" page and link to the existing help section of the library web site. The director also plans to place a blurb in the weekly student email that will highlight the new service. Additionally, next week is spring break. There will be ample opportunity for librarians to play with the technology and become more comfortable with it's use.
This is a major step for our library. Moving several librarians out of their safe areas, dragging them into a bit of library 2.0 technology, has been a challenge. I am crossing my fingers that students will utilize the service and prove it is a viable resource to offer.