Collaborative email reference at Queens Library
For those of you who aren't from New York, it may be news that the city actually has three separate public library systems:
- New York Public Library (with branches in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx)
- Brooklyn Public Library (with branches only in Brooklyn)
- Queens Library (with branches only in Queens)
My goal at the panel was to explain how the collaborative chat reference service in QuestionPoint works and to encourage my audience to consider collaborative reference services an important, growing trend in the way libraries can meet the information needs of users. I noted how hard member libraries in QuestionPoint's academic cooperative work together, but I must admit here to being amazed by the effort on the part of the librarians at the Queens Library and the Shanghai Library to establish this joint project.
QuestionPoint's academic cooperative is limited to college libraries in the United States at the moment. Australian libraries that use QuestionPoint on their own have so far resisted joining the cooperative. I have heard, though, that a group of public libraries in the United Kingdom are planning to join QuestionPoint's public library cooperative soon. I hope that in the coming years we see more and more reference partnerships like the one between the Queens Library and the Shanghai Library.