[Libs-Or] Answerland Notable Transcript Award

Emily PAPAGNI emilyp at multco.us
Mon Aug 5 10:09:11 PDT 2013


Answerland, Oregon's Statewide Virtual Reference service
(http://www.answerland.org/), recognizes Laura Baca at Cedar Mill
Community Library for her excellent virtual reference work while
staffing the service in March 2013.

Laura’s transcript is online at


In this transcript, an out-of-state patron was looking for a local
newspaper that might have an obituary for a family member who had died
more than 10 years prior. The patron did not know where it was
published, but knew the name of the deceased, the date of death, and
the date the obituary ran. The patron also offered that the purpose of
finding the obituary was to confirm birth siblings, as the patron was
adopted. Laura asked if the patron had time to wait while she
searched; within a few minutes, she had located the full obituary and
pasted the text into the chat. This information was a genealogical
discovery for the patron: three half-siblings and lots of nieces and
nephews. The patron responded: “This is wonderful information, thank
you so much… You have made my upcoming holiday.”

Lynne Erlandson, Head of Adult Services at Cedar Mill Community
Library, brought this transcript to the Quality Team’s attention,
partly because Laura received a follow-up card from the patron. On the
outside, the card said: “You make my world a better place.” On the
inside, the patron said that this information had led her to
connecting with her biological mother and ended her message by saying:
 “I am very thankful for your kindness and willingness to assist me.
This new journey will be exciting and very unique, not many people get
this opportunity. Your random act of kindness has impacted my life in
such a positive way, I cannot thank you enough!”

The Quality Team is impressed with Laura’s excellent use of reference
interview questions in this chat, which helped her move from the
initial inquiry (“Do the local libraries keep local newspapers on file
so if I was looking for a family obituary that was 10 years old I can
find it in my local library?”) to providing the full text of the
specific obituary within a matter of minutes. When the patron offered
some personal information, including the plans to use this new
information, Laura responded warmly, but professionally, bringing the
chat to a close with wishes for a good holiday and thanking the patron
for the question.

As an expression of our appreciation, Laura was presented with flowers
and a certificate. Please join us in congratulating her!

The Answerland Quality Team
Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College Library,
(Stephanie.Debner at mhcc.edu)
Barbara O’Neill, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, (Retired)
Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library, (emilyp at multco.us)

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