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IMforAccess

Reference and Fine Arts Instant Messaging Services Available

On Sept. 5, the Baylor Libraries launched their new IM Your BaylorLibrarian service. This service incorporates instant messaging technology to give faculty, students and all those connected to the World Wide Web immediate access to librarians and library staff during the libraries' regular hours of operation.

Visitors to the libraries' Web site can use the built-in messaging widget found on the Reference Library Web site to initiate a conversation with library staff with no specialized software required. Those who already have an instant messaging account with AOL, Windows Live, Googletalk or Yahoo! can IM library staff simply by adding the BaylorLibrarian screen name to their buddy lists.

The IM Your Baylor Librarian service is now a reality due to the combined efforts of the libraries' client services division and the expertise of e-learning librarian Ellen Hampton, who handled the technical challenges involved and later offered training to reference staff before the service was launched. The libraries' team of experienced reference librarians and their support staff will continue to be accessible by phone, e-mail and for in-person consultation.

There is also a similar widget available on the Crouch Music and Fine Arts Web site. Users may also add bufalibrary to their buddy lists. Kyle Babb, the materials processing supervisor for the Crouch Music and Fine Arts Library, assisted Sha Towers, music and fine arts librarian, in adapting the service for Crouch and in training their student staff.

"The recent addition of instant messaging options for students and faculty adds yet another facet to the libraries' strong service commitment," says Sha Towers.

"It shows that the libraries are willing to explore new ways to interact with our clients where they are -wherever that might be."

For more information and to try this new service, please visit the libraries' reference Web page. For music and art related assistance, visit the Crouch Web page. All technical questions may be addressed to Ellen Hampton, the libraries' e-Learning Librarian.

- Jamie Duerksen
Crouch Fine Arts Library