Last year, I was very nervous about pushing the idea of IM Reference at my library. If anything, I totally over-prepared before even broaching the subject. I actually created a formal proposal on the Web with links to information about IM Reference (studies and good examples at other schools) and showed specifically how we could implement it in terms of tools used, staffing, training, etc. The funny thing was that it ended up being a very easy sell, as my director was very interested in providing equal services to our online students.
However, I have heard from plenty of other librarians who have been having a hard time convincing their supervisors and IT that IM Reference is a good and safe idea for their library. Fortunately, Aaron Schmidt has just provided some terrific IM talking points on his blog. These are great ways to refute some of the common misconceptions/objections people have about IM and to show what a valuable tool it would be for providing reference services to tech-savvy patrons. So before you go to your library director’s office to discuss the possibility of doing IM reference at your library, look over Aaron’s talking points a few times so you’ll be ready for some of the objections you might encounter and will be able to dazzle them with your knowledge of the subject.