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Sunday, May 15 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Poster Session 1: Poster Board Number 78

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Poster Board Number: 78
Title: An Innovative Use of Instant Messaging Technology to Support a Library’s Single-service Point
Objective: To identify the best method and technology to institute a library single-service point model that utilized referral to reference librarians.
Methods: A system to refer patrons with reference questions from a service desk to on-call librarians was sought by a public services team at an academic medical library. Desired characteristics of the referral system included: (1) ease of use by service desk staff, (2) ability to broadcast a help request to several librarians at once, and (3) ability to detect whether a help request had been answered by a colleague. The library’s head of technology development identified LibraryH3lp, a multi-operator instant messaging (IM) system, to meet these needs.
Results: Service desk assistants summon a reference librarian through a "broadcast" IM when reference help is needed. Implementation of this service model included providing training on issues such as question types to answer versus refer and protocols for sending and answering messages. The new service was phased in over several weeks, and adjustments were made as needed. Challenges included identifying a staffing model for the on-call service and choosing a front-end technology solution for the LibraryH3lp client.
Conclusions: The service model was at first a major cultural and procedural change but is now a routine aspect of customer service in our library. Service desk help requests have been sent through IM for two years with successful workflow and timeliness for our patrons.
Authors: Andrea S. Horne, Associate Director, Information Services; Bart Ragon, Associate Director, Library Technology and Development; Daniel T. Wilson, Associate Director, Collection Management and Access Services; Adrienne D. Granitz, Library Service Desk Supervisor; Claude Moore Health Sciences Library; University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA

Sunday May 15, 2011 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Exhibit Hall A - Minneapolis Convention Center

Attendees (26)

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