I scheduled a LibraryH3lp practice Monday, and actually had 3 participants who had not used it before (yea!). It went fairly well--we actually spent most of the time practicing adding buddies and chatting across the librarian interfaces rather than fielding practice questions. However, it was very useful for giving the staff practice to how chatting works.
Unfortunately, we've just had a few major projects come up, and I think virtual reference is going to be placed on a burner that's even further back than the one it was already on. Part of the problem is that it's just hard to coordinate schedules enough (especially among public service people, who are the ones who will be on the front lines chatting!) to get in practice. And it's pretty clear that we all need more chatting practice. The other part is that I'm just not sure how many people are really interested in offering the service, at least to the point of helping to make it happen. Our best bet may be taking a staged approach--offering a couple hours a week of the service until it catches on.
An additional update is that the coordinator of the state virtual reference program has created LibraryH3lp accounts for us so that it will be easier for us to integrate with the program when and if we are ready. This is great both for that reason and because it gives me an automatic back-up person who I can call for help.
I'm trying to keep this more on my personal front burner than I have before (another reason why it's so far back!), and I will try to continue to update!
The shy person's guide to lobbying
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