The Little Box in the Corner: Chat Widgets Offer Safe and In-Depth Reference


  • Dylan DeLoe Blue Mountain Community College
  • Ashlei Emmons Blue Mountain Community College



online live chat service, chat, access, chat with work from home, live chat reference, live chat with students, live chat in higher education, LibChat live online chat, LibChat on Springshare, Blue Mountain Community College Library


Those of us working in libraries, including university and college libraries, know the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light. However, we also know that many (if not all) of these challenges existed pre-pandemic and will continue to exist when we have reached a post-pandemic future. Issues of connectedness and access to services—and to people—will continue to be a concern for any institution aiming for improved equity and outcomes for those they serve. Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) in Pendleton, Oregon, implemented LibChat, an online live chat service made for libraries and hosted by Springshare. Since its implementation in April 2020, LibChat has already assisted the BMCC Library and its wider community with these issues, as it applies to everything from internal communication, flexible work schedules and environments and, of course, response to student, faculty, staff, and community needs. Additionally, LibChat can continue to assist with these issues as we move forward and evolve with our community and its needs.


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Author Biographies

Dylan DeLoe, Blue Mountain Community College

Dylan DeLoe (he/him) works at Blue Mountain Community College as a Library and Learning Support Assistant. He just graduated with an Associate’s degree of Applied Sciences in Agriculture Production from Blue Mountain. Initially, he pursued this as a foundation for his dream of operating tea fields and/or a tea house, but he has been won over lately by other passions in libraries and political activism. He’s now looking for ways to advance in those fields in a more moderate climate outside of eastern Oregon’s deserts. He is the primary author drafting the in-progress textbook affordability plan for the institution and has lobbied on behalf of student interests with the state legislature. He plays video games, enjoys takeout, and hikes in green spaces with beautiful views.

Ashlei Emmons, Blue Mountain Community College

Ashlei Emmons (she/her) studied at Willamette University and has an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree from Blue Mountain Community College, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Portland State University. She has worked mainly in libraries—including the Blue Mountain Community College Library—since her time as a student worker, but currently she is the Learning Management System Technologist (also known as the Canvas administrator) at BMCC. She considers herself a lifelong gamer and a technology enthusiast. Writing has always been one of her passions. She lives in her childhood home with her two cats, Cheddar and Bugs, who are the purrfect companions for this journey we call life.




How to Cite

DeLoe, D., & Emmons, A. (2022). The Little Box in the Corner: Chat Widgets Offer Safe and In-Depth Reference. OLA Quarterly, 27(2), 11–16.