Chatbots in US Libraries: Current Practices and the Prospects
The COVID-19 pandemic led many libraries to curtail in-person reference services, but instead provide the services via online live chat. The problem is that the service hours are limited to normal business hours, and yet the patrons expect immediate engagement with online live chat. Therefore, many libraries globally turned to a chatbot as a virtual reference librarian. However, the practice has been adopted by less than a handful of libraries in the United States. We interviewed two of these libraries to learn from their chatbot experience and see what the prospects for chatbots in the US libraries are.
Lisa ShenDirector of Library Public Services, Sam Houston State University
Lisa Shen is the Business Librarian and Director of Public Services at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). She has an MLIS from McGill University and is currently a doctoral student for higher education leadership at SHSU. Her research interests include information behavior and evidence-based library practices.
Soo-yeon HwangAssessment and Analytics Librarian, Towson University
Soo-yeon Hwang is the Assessment and Analytics Librarian at Towson University. She has a PhD in Communication and Information from Rutgers University, and MS in Information from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her professional experience includes software development, technical writing, testing (QA), and technical support, as well as web services and user experience librarianship. She is interested in time use with information, everyday use and social implications of information and communication technology, library technology, information system design, usability and user experience, and library assessment.