I was talking to a fellow librarian yesterday who told mentioned that “virtual reference is a very special sort of hell.” I laughed at her pain, but it sparked a conversation about chat reference that I had not even considered – online creepers.
I’ve joked about it here before, but I had never considered that creepers would show up when you’re doing reference work online. She said that transcripts for all interactions are archived and librarians are encouraged to read through them. There are plenty of conversations where people ask creepy questions like what the librarians are wearing. I expect that sort of nonsense on online dating sites, but not virtual reference!
So to avoid that sort of BS, she opted to create her virtual librarian as an older gentleman named Floyd in hopes that it wouldn’t encourage anyone to try to pick her up. I reminded her that Jason Sudeikis’ character on 30 Rock was a pretty great looking Floyd and I wouldn’t mind chatting him up online.
Perhaps her plan backfired.