instant messaging in Qatar

Check out this job description for a Reference Information Technician at the Weill Cornell College in Doha, Qatar. Under the Major Responsibilities you’ll find this, emphasis mine:

2. Supervises the Reading Room and interacts with patrons either face-to-face or through a variety of media (telephone, e-mail, and virtual Web-based reference including iChat).

This is amazing for two reasons.

First, I’ve never seem IM reference included in a job description before and it makes my heart warm.

Second, I’m not familiar with this institution, but I am familiar with Qatar, and I’d guess that this library isn’t in any better position than universities or public libraries in the United States. IM reference was clearly a priority for them (I can imagine very good reasons for them to be using it) and they are making it happen. In other words, if you put your mind to it, you can certainly overcome the obstacles to starting IM reference in your library.

note: nothing appears on their library’s wesite about IM reference at this point

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