Managing a Statewide Virtual Reference Service: How Q and A NJ Works

Bromberg, Peter
April 2003
Computers in Libraries;Apr2003, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p26
Trade Publication
New Jersey's live virtual reference service, Q and A NJ, is available on the Web 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.It's collaboratively staffed by more than 250 librarians from 33 participating libraries. Q and A NJ is funded by the New Jersey State Library with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds and managed by the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (SJRLC). Q and A NJ grew out of a desire to create a highly marketable library service, and it's developed into a unique, collaborative, statewide virtual reference service, helping more than 4,000 satisfied customers a month. In this article, I will chronicle the genesis of the Q and A NJ project, as well as the strategies we've employed to meet the challenges of day-to-day management, scaled growth, and quality control. The seeds of Q and A NJ were sown at a "Leap Forward" planning day that SJRLC held on Feb. 29, 2000. SJRLC is a multi-type library cooperative based in Gibbsboro, N.J., and it serves over 560 libraries in the southern seven counties.


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