Chatstaff was originally a home-grown solution created when North Carolina’s state-wide virtual reference service, NCknows, decided they needed a higher quality, lower cost alternative for afterhours and backup coverage.
After establishing that Chatstaff could offer those improvements and increase traffic as well, we decided to start offering the service to other libraries interested in creating a new virtual reference program, or expanding an existing one.
We’re still based in NC, but we have librarians from across the country. This dispersed workforce not only lets us recruit only the best, it also means less vulnerability to local weather conditions and infrastructure problems. If you are a skilled reference librarian who thrives on the challenges of reference in an online environment, you can apply for a position with Chatstaff here.
The service is owned and run by four ALA-accredited librarians with a total of 56 years of professional expertise.
Alicia Wyatt works closely with our customer libraries to customize our approach and provide a seamless experience for their patrons – many patrons never realize that the librarian they’re working with is from Chatstaff instead of a local! Elizabeth Bollinger supervises and provides support for the team of incredible librarians who are the foundation of our service. Alicia and Elizabeth both also regularly participate in staffing the service, which keeps us in tune with service on the ground.
Gwen Exner and Pam Sessoms handle data wrangling, and provide development and support for the underlying software.