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Tales From the Co-Op: May Exchanges

The LibAnswers 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative is one of the coolest - and most useful - services we offer. It's staffed by our own in-house librarians (our 24/7 Co-Op crew consists of experienced MLS-degreed librarians who collectively have hundreds of years of experience working at academic, public, school, and special libraries) along with the cooperative members from tons of contributing libraries from around the world.


The Chat Co-Op provides 24/7/365 coverage for your library's online LibChat service. A Co-Op librarian will pick up any online chat request from your patrons when your librarians are unable to. This way your patrons get immediate help from experienced MLS-degreed librarians - anytime, anywhere. Over the years, our Co-Op librarians have answered millions of questions and helped just as many patrons successfully perform research, navigate library resources, find relevant content, and more!

To showcase the amazing work that the Chat Cooperative does every day, we're starting a monthly series featuring snippets of real-life interactions between Co-Op librarians and patrons. Introducing: Tales From the Co-Op! Please note that we care about privacy as much as you do, so we've removed all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from these transcripts and have also assigned fun (not real) names to patrons and the answering librarians.

Curious Queries

This chat highlights some of the interesting and unique questions our Co-Op librarians receive on a daily basis. Connecting with patrons over shared interests makes providing reference support even more fun - for both parties!

April 20, 2024 | 1:43 pm

Polly Patron: Hi there! I am trying to research Irish fairy beliefs and folklore, I'm interested in primary sources such as oral folklore recordings and early sources such as the Book of Invasions.

Linda Librarian: Hi! It sounds like you'd like some research support.

Polly Patron: That's true, although I'll just add this isn't for a particular project, more of a pet research topic I'm exploring for my own enjoyment.

Linda Librarian: Great! You did win the librarian lottery on this one, as your topic is a pet research project of mine, too, so let's see what we can find.

Polly Patron: Awesome!!!

Linda Librarian: Since it sounds like you're towards the beginning of your research, let's start with a general search of your library's resources to see what they have, and we can go from there. 
Linda Librarian: I'm going to recommend we use your library's catalog, since it will search in more than one database at a time.
Linda Librarian: Next, we're going to craft a search the system understands--it's not as smart as Google. 
Linda Librarian: To do that, we're going to combine a couple of your topic keywords with the Boolean operator AND, like this:
("Irish mythology" OR "Irish folklore") AND (fairy OR fae OR fay OR faerie OR Sidhe OR Unseelie OR Seelie)
Linda Librarian: This should give us a general idea of what your library has on the topic, and we can revise or refine from there.

Polly Patron: Oh you're good! I already see some really interesting results!

Linda Librarian: That's great! Again, I have a laaaarge section in my personal library devoted to this topic, so I've got a bit of background knowledge to help us search that I might not have for other topics. 

Polly Patron: That's so cool! I'm more of a generalist, so I'm familiar with the works of Diane Purkiss and Katherine Briggs, but I don't have a lot on Irish fairy folk tradition per se. Do you have any specific or general recommendations from your personal experience that you think might be an interesting supplement to the catalog results?

Linda Librarian: I do have some recommendations. Let me check my shelves for the exact titles. 
Linda Librarian: W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory have a great book titled "A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore." There's another one by Padraic Colum called "A Treasury of Irish Folklore"

Polly Patron: Cool! These look excellent! I so appreciate your time and attention!!

FAQ-tastic Interactions

This interaction is an excellent example of how Co-Op librarians across the world can use LibAnswers FAQs to streamline chat convos and provide consistent service, chat after chat!

April 29, 2024 | 11:20 pm

Patrick Patron: Hi! I'm looking for this one specific book called Careers in Criminal Justice and Related Fields: From Internship to Promotion.

Lucy Librarian: Hi! I'll look for it. Is it a course textbook?

Patrick Patron: Yes, ma'am.

Lucy Librarian: Thanks so much for your patience! This FAQ suggests more ways to look: Where is my textbook? (link to institution's LibAnswers FAQ removed for privacy)

Patrick Patron: Yay it worked

Lucy Librarian: Yay!

Patrick Patron: Thank you for your help! really do appreciate it

Lucy Librarian: You're very welcome ~ Come back anytime at all!

Spotlight on Librarian Excellence

Librarians provide incredible reference support every day, and this includes our Co-Op librarians! Take a look at this chat for an example of some of that great librarian work.

March 7, 2024 | 4:04 am

Pamela Patron: I am writing an essay about the value of human life and I am having trouble finding a database with information to suit this topic.

Leonard Librarian: Hi! Which class is this for?

Pamela Patron: A college writing course on the subject of dreams and nightmares.

Leonard Librarian: Interesting - and what is your assignment asking you to do? 

Pamela Patron: We watched and analyzed the film Blade Runner. The prompt is asking us to take a stance on whether we believe the film is able to challenge our assumptions on what it means to be human in light of expanding AI technology.

Leonard Librarian: I see! So you're wanting to find sources that discuss the value of humans in the context of AI?

Pamela Patron: Yes that would be perfect!

Leonard Librarian: Do you mind sharing some of your main ideas? They will be useful for developing keywords for us to search with.

Pamela Patron: Yes! I am mostly looking for sources that can show why certain traits such as emotional capacity are uniquely human and not found in AI.

Leonard Librarian: Nice, okay so maybe some keywords there are compassion, empathy, "emotional capacity", and humanity
Leonard Librarian:
Alright, here's what I came up with - it's your keywords in a format called Boolean:
(humans OR humanity) AND (value OR strengths OR compassions OR empathy OR "emotional capacity") AND (AI OR "artificial intelligence")
Leonard Librarian: It may look funky, but you can put it into pretty much any search engine or database to find some hopefully relevant results. For just starting out, I suggest using the library's search on the library homepage and Google Scholar.

Pamela Patron: These are good results! Thank you so much for your help!
Pamela Patron:
I was confused on how this system worked at first but now I think I have a better understanding.

Leonard Librarian: You're welcome! Glad to hear you're getting the hang of it.
Leonard Librarian: As a heads up, my shift is ending soon - do you want me to transfer you to someone who can keep helping you, or are you feeling all set for now?

Pamela Patron: I'd say I am set for now. Thank you so much for your help! It really saved me today.

Leonard Librarian: Happy to hear it! Good luck with this assignment!

For more information about the 24/7 Global Chat Cooperative, contact

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