COLUMBIA--The Richland County Public Library in Columbia, S.C., the Brisbane City Council Library Service in Queensland, Australia, and the Somerset County Council Libraries, Arts and Information Service in the United Kingdom are partnering to provide the first 24 hour global reference service.
"Answers Now-All the Time, Across the World," a unique online, real time reference service, will expand the available information resources for each of the three communities. Each library will be responsible for eight hour increments, allowing constant, 24 hour reference service to patrons in all three service areas of the world. The service will be launched this fall.
To access the service, patrons will simply logon to one of the three libraries' Web sites and click on the Answers Now icon. They will then be able to interact with a reference librarian online, gaining access to information and resources 24 hours a day.
The service is made possible by software developed by Library Systems & Services, L.L.C. (LSSI). For more than 20 years, LSSI has been finding and delivering new tools and technologies. Now, LSSI's Reference Division team is taking this unique ability to identify and adapt technologies for libraries-and bundling them with superior training and support-to provide new tools and new ways for reference librarians to meet the changing nature of library usage.
"This connection allows the three libraries to truly become global resources of information in a unique, innovative way," said David Warren, executive director of the Richland County Public Library (RCPL). "We find this most exciting."
The Richland County Public Library is North America's 2001 Library of the Year, an award presented by Library Journal and the Gale Group. RCPL has established a Sister County Library relationship with the Somerset County Library and a Sister Library relationship with the Brisbane Public Library.