The Oregonian takes a look at a day in the life of Jennifer May whose job is to staff the state’s increasingly popular Internet reference chat line, known as L-net. After her shift ends, she will hand off to another online librarian. And so the cycle will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making library resources available around the clock to any Oregonian who wants a librarian’s help answering any legitimate question.
Three years ago, the state’s chat line debuted with a grant from the Oregon State Library. Instantly, patrons could converse live via computer keyboard with librarians at any time, day or night.
“At first, it was a trickle,” Caleb Tucker-Raymond, coordinator of the Statewide Digital Reference Project, says of the inquiries coming in to librarians through chat. “People would sit for two hours with nothing to do. Now it’s just the opposite.”