GSU’s library is increasing the array of online services it offers. Since the advent of the pandemic, it is emphasizing services such as Ask a Librarian and LIVE CHAT With a Librarian.
Associate Professor and Librarian Linda Geller noted the difference between a “virtual library” and the online services offered through the library: “One interpretation of a virtual library is when everything is done online; there is no physical presence, no on-site resources, and no in-person assistance,” she continued, “In contrast, at least in ‘normal’ times, our library does provide physical collections and in-person assistance in addition to offering online support and online resources.”
The library’s online services have come a long way. Geller gave a brief history of its origins: “In the year 2000 the library began work on a Virtual Library project that was funded by an Illinois Board of Higher Education grant.” She noted how “from September 2003 until June 30, 2004 Professor Paul Blobaum coordinated the library’s participation in MyWebLibrarian”. While this service no longer exists, Geller noted how “In 2019, Professor Elizabeth Sterner advocated for and received a library subscription for LibApps, a suite of library applications that included a chat service,” and now thanks to Professor Sterner, the library now offers a LIVE CHAT With a Librarian service.
The service can be accessed by clicking the “LIVE CHAT With a Librarian” button on the library’s home page. From there, students can message a librarian in real-time. “We started monitoring chat Monday through Thursday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.” Geller understands several challenges and issues that come with using a chat service. She cited “delay between typing a question and typing the answer” and “describing a request and waiting for it to be deciphered and answered in chat or email” as being possible issues. “However,” she stated, “we may be extending chat service hours, and students should know we check email frequently”
Geller emphasized resources that already existed online such as A-Z Databases and Research Guide links listed on the library home page and the variety of ebooks the library offers to GSU students. While students may have a hard time finding that one source to pull their research paper together, Geller announced: “We are also glad to inform everyone that we can still interlibrary loan articles we don’t have online, although this may take a longer time to process remotely.” Geller further noted “that all fines have been waived and GSU and I-Share books will not be considered overdue.”
Geller closed with the following remarks: “We appreciate everyone’s effort using these new methods of communication with the library. We hope everyone is well and safe.”
Students with further questions–either about the services offered or with academic inquiries–can contact the GSU library at [email protected] or contact their liaison librarian.