Thankfully, I think that information professionals may be more willing to reach out through IM. Some libraries use IM to communicate with patrons (see SJCPL). Some libraries allow patrons to IM from public computers. (BTW one library in my region kicks people/kids out who download the IM software and prohibits them to come back to the library for the remainder of the calendar year.)
I also think that there is an age difference in who really likes IM and who doesn't. I watch college students in class and in computer labs, and they IM all the time. (Ah...those Millennials!) How "old" and stodgy some of us must look, if we won't IM and want to inhibit them from IMing.
If you've read this far, you might wonder why you should care about instant messenger.
- It is an accepted communications tool.
- It is a social networking tool.
- It could help you interact with your users -- whether they are sitting at a computer in your facility or halfway around the world.
- It could be a great way of connecting to those who are using your digital library in real time.
- It is seen as part of / related to what is called Library 2.0.
...making your library'’s space (virtual and physical) more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs...The basic drive is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives...to make the library a destination and not an afterthought.