What is Instant Messaging or IM?
IM is a way to communicate with others over the Internet. This virtual chat is live, typed conversation.
Where do I start?
Choose your free IM service from the list below. Follow the instructions provided by the service to download the software and get your own “screen name”. You may also try AIM Express which requires no downloading.
What is a contact, buddy list or friends list?
A Contact, Buddy or Friends list is a collection of screen names in an IM program. AIM uses the term Buddy and Yahoo! uses Friends. You may add or delete these buddies.
Do I have to wait?
We will try our best to keep the “instant” in IM. Service is first come, first serve. Librarians will answer as quickly as possible or let you know if there will be a wait until they have finished with the in-person, telephone or other IM customer.
How do I know you are online?
The library screen name will be “grayed out” if we are not online.
What kind of question may I ask the librarian?
Questions are generally factual or short research questions that can be answered quickly. For example:
Do you have the latest James Patterson available?
What is the population of Dublin, Ireland?
Can you renew my items for me?
Will you place a request for me?
I need directions to the library!
Who? What? When? Where? How?
What are the rules?
The “golden” rule (treat others as you wish to be treated) applies, as well as, the Alameda County Internet Use Policy. Customers may be banned from use of this service if the service misused. Also, screen names with obscene language or that are harassing will be banned.
What about privacy?
Alameda County Library is committed to protecting customer privacy. No information collected during sessions will be shared with any third party and will be routinely purged. You do not need to identify yourself to use the service.