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Implementing instant messaging in four university libraries

Charlotte Clements (Library Research and Learning Services, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 4 September 2009



The purpose of this paper is to report on a project to implement a virtual reference service for the Library Consortium of New Zealand (LCoNZ).


The process of choosing the most appropriate software and implementing the service are outlined and discussed in the context of recent findings about similar services in academic libraries.


Because of the rapid development in social networking software and use, open source software is chosen as the most appropriate option. The overarching principle need to include a focus on enhancing the learning experience.

Practical implications

The lead library is able to implement the service at two sites initially, with a minimum of systems support. Improvements to the software are already planned. The main shift for the library is in how the service needs to flex to accommodate customer expectations and needs.


This paper examines the implementation of an instant messaging reference service in the context of online learning and student learning experience. It discusses reasons why university libraries need to keep forging online opportunities for meeting their customers' needs.



Clements, C. (2009), "Implementing instant messaging in four university libraries", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 393-402.



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