The 2006 Public Library and the Internet Survey http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet_reports.cfm, explores the impacts and benefits that communities derive from public library connectivity. One of the most significant findings is the vital role that public libraries serve in providing access to government services such as Medicare Part D, and federal insurance following disasters such as Hurrican Katrina.
Found this interesting article on CNET News about a service, "Qunu", that connects technical support inquiries up to real live users via a Jabber-based IM client.
From the Qunu website:
"What's Qunu? Qunu is a next-generation expertise matching service. We use instant messaging to connect -- in real time -- people who have software or tech-related questions with experts who are passionate and willing to help."
Could this kind of service be usefull in a library setting? From the CNET article, it appears that this service is largely used by programmers; however, given some fostering of the community, perhaps there's some interesting outcomes that could happen by teaming the library world up with Qunu.