Ask a Librarian: Taking Customer Service to the Next Level
Ask a Librarian, Florida’s virtual reference service, takes customer service to a new level by offering patrons fast, reliable, easy-to-use online reference assistance from anywhere in the state. The service’s slogan, “The Human Search Engine”, truly says it all! Ask a Librarian maximizes valuable staff time and resources by sharing reference services with a rapidly-expanding base of participating libraries throughout Florida. The ability to engage patrons in real-time chat sessions using a comfortable, intuitive user interface provides libraries and their users a competitive edge in a fast-paced Web world. The service’s core software allows libraries to generate powerful, on-demand statistics to assist them in planning and in local service development.
What separates Ask a Librarian from traditional reference services?
Ask a Librarian offers library patrons the best of both worlds, combining the “human touch” of traditional walk-up reference services with the convenience, speed and sophistication of the Web. The result is a unique and effective research experience that patrons can access whenever and wherever they need it-something that traditional walk-up reference services simply can’t offer. It makes those services even better, by drawing upon the knowledge, expertise and years of experience of hundreds of library professionals statewide. This shared strength has quickly positioned Ask a Librarian as a powerful, essential information resource, garnering national recognition as a “model” virtual reference service. Ask a Librarian doesn’t replace in-library reference services; it makes those services even better by drawing upon the knowledge, expertise and years of experience of hundreds of library professionals statewide.
How do libraries benefit from participating in Ask a Librarian?
Libraries have long demonstrated that sharing their collective knowledge, talents, and resources with each other is an unrivaled formula for success. Ask a Librarian is a natural extension of that formula. In exchange for each participating library committing a small number of hours each month to help provide coverage for the service, those libraries are able to immediately offer their patrons state-of-the-art online reference services. Live chat and text messaging reference currently operates 7 days a week - 10 am til midnight Sunday thru Thursday, and 10am til 5pm Friday and Saturday. This is a tremendous return for a small investment of time. All necessary software, training, and marketing for the service is provided free of charge as well, so there are no out-of-pocket costs for libraries to participate.