Meebo is getting very popular! Many libraries have switched
from OCLC’s chat tool to Meebo. All responses reported IM stats going up with
the result of using the Meebo widget box on a centralized web page. Meebo on
subject guides do not get as much IM traffic. Most libraries are using the
Meebo widget box.

Some specific points:
switched from AOL IM to Meebo. It
has worked very well, They promote heavily with students, and it is open longer than the reference desk.
They extend hours the final week of school till midnight, and they get hits.
For involved questions, they set up appointments. Computer competition is tight, so students will Meebo the
reference desk to keep from losing it.

UT (Molly White): switched from OCLC to Meebo a year ago.
Chat is staffed on a distributed basis by librarians and Graduate Information
School students. Statistics
are reported to the coordinator of the service, and he compiles the data and
sets up the schedule every semester.  Chat requires login.

SIU (Arendt): Chat/IM use went up with Meebo. Most questions
are answered by guiding the patron through the library web site. They remind
patrons to open a separate browser window. Library has programmed the Meebo box
to appear only during the hours that the service is offered.

Some reported downsides:

RIT: Librarians must
remember to log in.  This can be somewhat avoided if you install the Meebo
Firefox extension that was recently released:   
"Remembering to log in doesn’t work so smoothly here as we each log into the
reference desk machine under our own roaming profiles.  So each one of us needs
to remember to log in to meebo each time a desk shift changes.  That can also
keep someone on the reference desk (logged in to their roaming profile) until
the chat session is over. You also have to be willing to give up on nice statistics that paid chat
services can provide.  Meebo will log activity from specific returning users if
you have made them your buddy (and they write to you screen name to screen name)
but I don’t think such statistics exist when patrons merely use the widget."

North Carolina:anonymity and informality. Students asking a question will disappear, and the
librarian doesn’t know why. But any loss of quality in service is outweighed by
the ease of use for patrons.
UT: no email contact for patron followup

Several libraries
reported that they will roll out Meebo services in January. Wellesley is interested.

Learning Sites: Library Instruction Wiki:


About effervescentlibrarian

UX Librarian at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
This entry was posted in general librarianship, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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