Another interesting tidbit to come out of our meeting: people’s perceptions of IM. Someone asked if I was keeping transcripts of IM sessions between the library and patrons. The intention of this would be to protect the library (and me) against someone in the public claiming any kind of misappropriation. I had forgotten that IM has been slightly demonized in the past as a tool for people trying to lure children.
I’m not sure that there is anything special about IM that warrants this type of record keeping. We don’t feel the need to record our face-to-face transactions, or email transactions, and what, really, is different about IM? Certainly it is true that face-to-face or email reference transactions haven’t been used to harm children, and IM has, so this raises red flags. However, I’m sure that that email (not in a reference transaction) has been used for nefarious purposes, and there’s no concern for this method of communication. This leads me to believe that concern arises simply because IM is new and unfamiliar. When/if libraries get hip to IM, it will only be a matter of time before it is old hat.
The suggestion of keeping IM transcripts, ready to be displayed, must be seen as ironic when revealing the contents of a circ record or an in person reference transaction is something we fight to protect.