The Quality Assurance (QA) workgroup has two main functions. One, to read and select exemplary chat transcripts that will give recognition to the hard-working librarians who staff the service. The second is to highlight exemplary chats so that other librarians who staff the service have good examples that will guide them in their digital reference work. Each member of the workgroup reads a set of transcripts for one day of each month. The group then nominates a chat transcript winner in two categories: best brief and best detailed chat. To get to know your Quality Assurance Workgroup Members, read their short bios by selecting their name from the list below.
Kelli Herm, Tallahassee Community College (Co-Chair)
Kelli Herm is a Faculty Librarian at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Florida. At TCC she is library liaison to the Student Life Skills (SLS) Department, Transitional Studies Division, and the Career Center. Kelli is also the site coordinator for Ask a Librarian at TCC Library and chairs the Library’s Marketing Committee.
Pam Hoepner, Polk State College (Co-Chair)
Pam has worked in libraries since 1982. She started out in the Hillsborough County Public Library system in high school as a shelver and loved it so much, she just kept going! She helped create the Serials Union List while working as an intern at TBLC, while getting her Masters in Library Science at USF in 1992. She’s worked in circulation, as a Youth Services librarian and served as Department Head and Branch Manager over the years in HCPLC, Seminole, and Tallahassee public libraries as well as Bad Axe, Michigan (yes, that’s a real place!). Currently, and for the past 7 years, she has gone the academic route and been a part-time librarian at Polk State College, serving daily on its local Ask a Librarian desk.
Judy Kuhns, University of Central Florida (Co-Chair)
Judy has been a librarian with the University of Central Florida since 2017, serving as the UCF Connect Librarian at the joint-use Valencia College Osceola campus. Prior to UCF, she was an adjunct reference and instruction librarian at the Valencia College West campus library. Before moving to Florida in 2015, she worked for eight years as a technical services librarian at SUNY Ulster in upstate New York. Chat reference has been an enjoyable part of each of her positions, and she learns something new every day.
Andy Todd, EFSC/UCF Joint Use Library in Cocoa Beach
Andy Todd has been a librarian with the University of Central Florida for over 15 years. After graduating from USF in 2003, he started out as an adjunct librarian at the Joint-Use Library in Clermont and then transitioned into a permanent position at the EFSC/UCF Joint-Use library in Cocoa. Andy enjoys working at a regional campus library as this setting provides him the opportunity to share reference responsibilities (including chat hours) with the Eastern Florida State College librarians. He also serves as the Subject Librarian for the UCF College of Nursing. Andy won an Exemplary Chat Award in 2006 and has participated in the AAL QA Workgroup for over 10 years.
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro, Pasco-Hernando State College
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro is the Associate Director of Libraries for the Spring Hill Campus of Pasco-Hernando State College, a position he has held since 2013. He received his MLS from USF in 2008 and is currently pursuing his second Master’s Degree in History through the University of Nebraska. Andrew worked previously at the USF Tampa Library in various para-professional roles and at the Bartow Public Library as the Reference/Instruction Librarian where he also completed the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute in which he later participated as a Mentor. Andrew has presented multiple times at FLA and has several publications in journals including Library Journal and Progressive Librarian. Before joining the AaL QA Committee Andrew received an Exemplary Chat Award in 2011.
Laurie Bates, Sarasota County Public Library
Laurie works for Sarasota County Library System for a little more than 6 years, first in reference at the Selby Library and now on the library web site in Library Administration. Before Sarasota County, she worked at the Temple Terrace Library near Tampa and the Bruton Memorial Library in Plant City.
She did her first AAL shift about nine years ago. She was the back-up at her library, and her colleague really loved staffing AAL, meaning she didn’t get many shifts! However, for the last six years, she’s staffed AAL regularly.
During her shifts, she’s always found it fun, interesting, and sometimes enlightening to see the questions patrons pose through AAL. She can’t wait to read more of them, to learn from colleagues, and to help recognize good work.
Tom Wilcox, Lake County Library System
Tom was born and grew up in New York City and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the City University of New York (CUNY) from the College of Staten Island and Queens College. He worked in the private sector in various clerical and/or librarian capacities in banks, brokerage houses and, law firms in New York City. In that capacity, Tom ran 2 libraries for a financial services firm and for the corporate department of a law firm. His professional memberships were in The Special Libraries Association (SLA) and The Law Librarians of Greater New York (LLAGNY). Since then, Tom has worked for
The Jersey Shore Medical Center and was a member of the Medical Librarians Association (MLA) and on a labor archive for The International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE) and was a member of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Tom has been employed by the public library systems of the: Brooklyn Public Library, The Broward County Library, and the Sumter County Library. He currently works for the Leesburg Public library and specializes in genealogy assistance for patrons.
What awards are given?
Brief Chat – 15 minutes or under
Detailed Chat – 16-30+ minutes
What do the workgroup members look for in an exemplary chat?
Accuracy – Correct Information
Authority – Valid credible sources
Objectivity – Not biased
Currency – If topic that requires it to be up-to-date
Coverage –Enough information for the topic
What’s the process of awarding winning transcripts?
Members of the workgroup read through a month’s worth of chat transcripts divided amongst themselves, nominate a brief and detailed chat for review, and vote for a winner in both of the categories.
Can I nominate someone for an exemplary chat?
At this time, there is not a nomination process for exemplary reference awards. Members of this workgroup are responsible for nominating and voting for the best chat transcripts.
How do I become a member of the QA workgroup?
Contact Kelly McDonald at Kelly@tblc.org