February 17, 2018

Caleb Tucker-Raymond | Movers & Shakers 2008

Never Satisfied

Caleb Tucker-Raymond might have developed Oregon’s statewide digital reference service, L-Net (www.oregonlibraries.net), from the ground up, but according to Jim Scheppke, Oregon State Librarian, he’s not resting on his laurels. “For Caleb, the status quo is never good enough,” he says. “His fine mind is always working on how to make virtual reference service better.”

Brilliant at defining problems and envisioning solutions, Tucker-Raymond claims, via his résumé, that he “nudges library software vendors to improve virtual reference products for libraries.” True to his word, in one instance, instead of simply forwarding numerous user complaints to the vendor of L-Net’s virtual reference software, Tucker-Raymond analyzed the complaints and offered ideas for possible fixes. The vendor responded well to this collaborative approach, and technical problems dropped significantly.

As people’s preferred communication tools change, Tucker-Raymond envisions software that allows users to submit their virtual reference questions in any communication medium they choose. His staff and Ohio’s KnowItNow service staff, who share this goal, discussed system requirements and presented them to a vendor. Oregon librarians are now testing the resulting software.

Multnomah County Library director Molly Raphael values Tucker-Raymond’s ability to “envision a different future for library service, define that vision so that others can share it, and work collaboratively to make it a reality.”

But his head is also clearly in the here and now. Tucker-Raymond says that, depending on whom he’s talking with, at any given time his title of “coordinator” means “project manager, youth advocate, spokesman, reference librarian, problem-solver, writer, researcher, evangelist, hacker, beggar, blogger, technical support monkey, seer, peer, colleague, and friend.” And he loves every bit of it, because it gives him the undreamed-of opportunity to serve three-and-a-half million patrons.


CURRENT POSITION L-Net Project Coordinator, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

DEGREE MLIS, Simmons College, 2000

KUDOS Oregon Librarian of the Year, 2006; American Library Association Emerging Leader, 2007

SO STEREOTYPICAL Sometimes wears his hair in a bun