Describe how your library uses email. Has it improved productivity? Our library doesn't seem to use e-mail too much. I use it frequently at home; it's one of the best ways to get ahold of me.
I know the library has an option for patrons to receive notices via e-mail, rather than by paper copy, and some have opted to do that. That makes sense to me-by the time the paper notices are printed, mailed, and received (especially for overdue items), the patron has already returned said item(s), and then we get that great phone call from an indignant patron. Whereas, with the e-mail notice, the notification is done on the same day, and if the patron is like me and checks his or her e-mail at least once a day...there you go.
When I am communicating with my coworkers, oftentimes we just leave notes for each other...but when the notes get lost things can get interesting. But, say we can't get to our e-mail-then it's the same thing. There are quicker, more efficient ways to do things electronically, sure...but that doesn't mean it should be expected to replace the 'old-school ways of doing things' either.
Share your thoughts on online reference using some of the other Web 2.0 communication tools. I think there are so many cool 2.0 technology things out there that at this point, there's not much that can't be accomplished digitally, and then shared via the same method. When I took my Reference class Winter term 2007, for the first half we were supposed to focus mainly on print sources. Now, that's fine and all, but I can tell you that most of my younger classmates were thinking that our teacher was stuck in the stone age. Yes, not all reference sources are available in electronic form...but I remember thinking that that didn't necessarily mean they were correct, either (especially if they were more than a couple of years old). The library comic strip "Unshelved" had a funny series about it last week:
Our library is open pretty limited hours (20.5/week), so the live reference wouldn't necessarily be a good fit. But it's still something to be aware of, and to keep in the back of our minds for a time that it will come in useful.
Are you an active user of text messaging, IM, or other communication tools? Yes and no. I can text, but I'm not nearly as quick as my kid. I did set up templates in my phone to use for quick messages; I think I'd do better with a phone that had a whole mini-keyboard on it(like a Sidekick or a BlackBerry), but I do OK now.
I don't IM, but I do know how, and have in the past. It would be really useful for a remote reference conversation, though. The library staffs 3 people, but usually only one is working at a time. It's a small branch library, so we only have the one librarian terminal.
Which OPAL or MINITEX Web conference (Webinar) did you attend? How was it? What do you think o this communication tool? I attended a WebJunction webinar (well, an archive): "It's Great to Collaborate in 2008". It strongly reminded me of some of my undergrad college classes in that the presenters were at a remote location, yet it was all interactive (the archive wasn't, but if I would have done the web conference on the day it was live it would have been).
I can see how handy it is, but I also know that some of the best things about conferences is the networking that goes on at a personal level. There really wasn't that give and take that an actual conference would have. However...on the other hand, there were participants from all over the U.S., which was neat. The prospect of being able to attend one of these sitting in my non-work clothes is enticing, that's for sure!
This kind of communication tool has its place, and is very useful. These are used in business settings, and have come a long way from conference calling. The fact that archives can be accessed months later at whatever time is great; it allows people to get the information who might not have been able to attend the original webinar.