Answerland Goings-On

Answerland Goings-On 11/2/15

What’s going on with Answerland?This summer the oversight of Answerland was successfully transitioned from Multnomah County Library to Oregon State Library. Enough cannot be said about those who not only participated in the changeover but also kept the service running. Many thanks to our volunteer coordinators, June Bass (Multnomah County) and Robin Speer (State Library), and to the Answerland transition team: Cindy Gibbon, Darci Hanning, Kelly Most, Emily Papagni, and Rachael Short!

The next step is to upgrade to a new platform. The State Library is in the final stages of crafting an RFP; we hope to have a new system up and running by early March. I will keep you apprised of our progress.

I am also in the process of reconvening the Answerland Advisory Board. I am aiming to have a membership list by the end of the year so that the State Library Board can approve it at their January meeting.

Last but not least, we will not be holding a 2016 Oregon Virtual Reference Summit, due to the transition and upgrade. However, Washington State is putting on their first ever Virtual Reference conference in March 2016. Stay tuned for more information!

Goodbye to….

…  Laura Cecil (Volunteer), Judy Chen (Multnomah County Library), Sara Kelso (Tigard Public Library), Linda McGough (Multnomah County Library), and Morgan Sohl (Driftwood Public Library).

Congratulations on your new opportunities. Answerland will miss you!


Yes, statistics are down from the previous year. We attribute this to transitional staff changeover and lack of time for marketing, recruiting, and training. Once we have the new software in place, we will be revitalizing the service – so get ready!

  • July: 1,261 chats, 85 emails, 109 texts (down 25% from July 2015)
  • August: 1,152 chats, 68 emails, 97 texts (down 16% from August 2015)
  • September: 1,391 chats, 76 emails, 100 texts (down 21% from September 2015)
  • October: 2,246 chats, 87 emails, 119 texts (down 16% from October 2015)

Here Comes Santa Claus

Well, not quite yet… but the holiday season is fast approaching. This is a reminder that Answerland will be closed for Veterans Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving (Nov. 26-27), Christmas (Dec. 24-25), and New Years (Dec.31-Jan 1.).  All shifts for those days will be dropped. Also, if you are planning on taking any vacation in addition to these days, please remember to drop your shifts. It helps if you can drop your shift by the Wednesday before the day it is scheduled, so that everyone will get notified that it is available and have the chance to pick it up.

Patrons Chat Back

(A sampling from the last 4 months)

  •  “Great information and immediate help! I really appreciated the additional websites the librarian referred me to. Thank you!”
  • “I bookmarked this site. It is a very helpful tool.”
  •  “I received online help with an account question I had. It was very prompt and courteous. Thanks!”
  • “The librarian suddenly closed my session. He said he had to close up. I thought this service was a 24/7 day operation.”
  •  “I learned about interlibrary loans today! In the middle of the night, no less. And I was able to request a book that isn’t in my current library system and I’m really excited to hear back about my loan request.”
  • “You should have more librarians on at once, my friends had to wait 45 minutes to use this, please consider what i said.”
  • “What a great way to communicate with the library, genius.”
  •  “This is not about this particular chat with this person, because he was thorough and helpful. But, I have noticed that the chat librarians the last few times I contacted them were not keen on looking up information for me. They wanted me to go to the research tools page and look for the information myself. It is not that I am against looking in the research tools, but I would think that the chat librarians could serve a more useful purpose than merely guiding every single patron with a question to the research tools page. I remember the good old days of chatting with the librarian where they would actually have reference books (I think) as opposed to just the internet to refer to and actually find answers I was not able to find on my own with my limited resources. I always do my online research before I go to ask a librarian. When I go to ask a librarian, I really want information I was not able to find. I miss the days when I could chat with a librarian and receive information. I wonder how often nowadays they feel they are just there to tell people to use research tools on the library page. Sorry to be so negative. But, I feel sorry for the librarians nowadays. It wasn’t like this in the past. I have many saved transcripts to prove it.”