Ask a Librarian March Madness Month

Where each day brings a surprising fact, a fun activity, or an Ask a Librarian award … and a chance to brag about our incredible services!

And the Ask a Librarian Award goes to…

When staff discuss Ask a Librarian, they often focus on the chat reference part of it.  However, for your users, the other virtual reference option – emailing the staff of their local libraries – is just as crucial because it is 24/7.  Even those who usually communicate through chat still come away with the knowledge that if & when the need or convenience does arise, they can send an email when – and where – it’s convenient to them, and knowing that they’ll hear back from their local library staff within 24 business hours.  Just that knowledge alone helps to instill the idea that Ask a Librarian is accessible… that you are accessible.

How staff get those emails varies from system to system.  Some libraries choose to receive Ask a Librarian email through their own Web forms, while others receive email in the Agent Console.  More and more libraries are turning to the Agent Console to receive email for many reasons: it works quite similarly to chat, including the use of scripts and bookmarks; emails are answered in the same screen as chat (and can thus be worked on between chat patrons if desired); staff can get email statistics in the same place they pull chat statistics, etc.  For us, whether your library receives email in the Console or through your own Web form, it’s all good.  You are there for your users 24/7… can’t get much better than that.


Question:  In February 2010, which 2 staff answered the highest number of Agent Console-received emails statewide?


Kathy Site of Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library

Sharon Robinson of Sarasota County Public Library

Kathy answered 86 emails in February, and Sharon answered 73.  The next highest was 43!  We are super-proud of our e-goddesses and hope you pass on your own congratulations.  Say hi in the Console; leave nice notes; embarrass them in front of their peers.  Kathy and Sharon, look out for a secret prize to arrive on your doorstep in the next few weeks!

DON’T FORGET YOUR AaL ACTIVITES!  The AaL Quick Quiz drawing will be held on March 31.

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – Spread the Word!
Inform your patrons with these talking points:
· For live help when you’re not in our library, visit (or find the link on our library’s website).
· You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
· Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
· Ask a Librarian is open until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
· If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat, you can always email your question to us, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.