No really, I’m working
My last post actually inspired a comment from one of my favorite (and very popular) bloggers. Seems like name dropping will get you somewhere. It apparently has not inspired me to actually do this blogging thing, however. Once you quite, you never go back I guess.
As a result, I have a backlog of links stacking up in my del.icio.us account. As a semi follow up to my last post, however, I’ve got more on virtual reference. Jessamyn discusses her experience with virtual reference on her fine, blog, and though I there’s some insight into what she has to say, I think that it is more a condemnation of 24/7 than of virtual reference itself. Though I see the appeal to a fully staffed, consortial system, how many of our customers have questions at two o’clock in the morning? (as an aside, I must admit that I did use AskAway early one morning while working on a research paper).
A comment to the original post brings up another interesting point, one librarian may be handling multiple chat transactions at one time, something I generally wouldn’t try to balance at a reference desk, but librarians must feel they can get away with because no one is watching? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t equal better service. One librarian at my library pointed out that virtual reference was difficult because though customers waiting can see that a librarian is on the phone or talking to someone, it was difficult to explain we are busy because we’re in an online chat. That balance between being near the stacks, as Jessamyn suggests, and being where you can provide uninterupted service. If we could afford a second reference collection out of customer view…
Regardless, finding excuses not to reach patrons because of problem x or y seems worse than finding ways of overcoming those problems.
Also see her follow up post and Luke’s enlightening post on being a virtual reference librarian.