Letting Chat Reference Die. (At Least for the Time Being.) Like many libraries, Central Michigan University has had to cut back due to a reduction in funds. This included the loss of four positions last spring. This has impacted the entire library system including Reference.
How did we respond? One way was to cut chat reference. While this service looks nice on paper, it really doesn't get a lot of use. Despite years of marketing, only a few students would make use of it on any given day. It is the most expensive form of reference service I have ever participated in. Given this fact, it made sense to eliminate the service and invest the staff time into other areas of the library to help make up for the cuts.
I hope to bring it back in a few years when the budget is better. I would also like to join a consortium so that we can offer the service without investing as much time into it.