A colleague sent me a sad email regarding Instant Messaging at her library. Evidently she was experimenting with it, hoping to increase communication within her library. The IT department found the IM software on her computer and took it off. The gall!

While this might be a lesson for others highlighting the advantages of an administrative approved program (programs won’t be taken off of your computers if the admin want them there), this incident could also highlight another route. Since this route is already familiar to many of the younger people that use computers at school and in libraries, librarians should know about it too: AIM Express.

AIM Express is a web-based version of AOL Instant Messenger that can be used from almost any computer. There is no download necessary, therefore, there’s nothing that can be erased from your computer. If you don’t have IM programs installed on your public computers, I’d bet that people have circumvented this shortcoming by using AIM Express.

Those computers that don’t meet the system requirements for AIM express can use an older version of AIM Express.

Walking Paper supports surreptitious use of IM programs for positive endeavors but isn’t responsible for any possible resulting hot water.

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