Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The 'Human Google' at the NYPL

Shelf Awareness

Noting that "in an era of online searches, librarians at the New York Public Library are still the most-trusted source," CBS News reported that at the NYPL's Fifth Avenue branch, "the phones keep ringing for researchers," who have been called the "Human Google."

"One of the number one comments that we get from callers is, 'Thank God I've reached a human being,' " said Rosa Li, who manages the library's Ask Desk. "Even on chat sometimes people will say, 'Is this a robot or a person?' We have to laugh and say, 'I'm a real person.' "

The Ask Desk receives about 300 inquiries a day--via telephone, e-mail, chat and text message. "Facebook, Twitter, and even snail mail queries from New Yorkers and even people from around the world," Li said, adding: "We love the fact that more and more things are online. The computer is a tool for us, so the faster we can find an answer for somebody, the better."

CBS News also asked Li what she is able to discern after answering a question. "Gratitude," she replied. "Also, that moment--that 'A-ha!,' that 'A-ha!' moment is great to listen to. Hearing that joy in their voice. It's almost like a little checkmark goes off and it's like, OK, I've managed to accomplish that!"

No comments: