Quality Assurance Workgroup
The Quality Assurance (QA) workgroup has two main functions. One, to read and select exemplary chat transcripts from the collaborative desks that will give recognition to the hard-working librarians who staff the service. The second is to highlight those 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 each month. The group then nominates a chat transcript winner for each month. To get to know your Quality Assurance Workgroup Members, read their short bios by selecting their name from the list below.
Judy Kuhns, University of Central Florida (Co-Chair)
Judy has been a librarian with the University of Central Florida since 2017, and she is currently serving as the Public Services Librarian at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. From 2017 to 2019 she was the UCF Connect Librarian at the joint-use Valencia College Osceola campus. Before moving to Florida in 2015, Judy was the 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.
Laurie Bates, Sarasota County Public Library (Co-Chair)
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.
Sara Alegría, Miami-Dade College
Sara Alegria has served as associate director of Learning Resources at Miami Dade College (MDC) for nine years and as an adjunct instructor for 12. As a strong advocate of environmental sustainability, she serves as co-chairperson of her campus Green Team. Prior to joining the College, Sara worked as a librarian, department chairperson, and team leader for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, where she organized the procurement and distribution of complimentary computers to students. Sara earned a Doctoral degree with a dual major in Organizational Leadership and Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2009. Dr. Alegria is the youngest of five children of Cuban and Colombian immigrants. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and credits MDC for providing the opportunities she needed to succeed.
Jules Bailey, Tallahassee Community College
Jules has worked for Tallahassee Community College since 2018 as a reference and instruction faculty librarian, and serves as the liaison librarian for the health sciences and science & math departments at TCC. After receiving an MLIS from Florida State University in December 2014, Jules worked at the FSU Strozier Library in 2015 as a reference associate, and began working at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library later that year, and held various positions until at that library before to Tallahassee Community College in September 2018. Jules has answered Ask a Librarian chats at all three libraries, and continues to do so both at TCC, and in a part-time position at LCPL. Ask a Librarian provides the opportunity to answer a diverse array of questions outside of a library’s regular patron base, and is a fun and challenging part of the workday.
Maria Barakovskykh, State College of Florida
Maria has been working in the State College of Florida libraries for almost 9 years, 5 of them as a Reference and Instruction librarian. Currently, she is the nursing liaison librarian on the Lakewood Ranch campus. Maria spends a lot of time staffing the local SCF desk on AAL, as well as Academic and Statewide shifts. She finds a lot of meaning being able to connect to her students and other patrons virtually. Ask A Librarian has been a big help once the Libraries went online in 2020, and she is really looking forward to being more involved with it as part of the Quality Assurance Workgroup.
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro, Pasco-Hernando State College
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro is a faculty research and instruction librarian for the social sciences at the University of South Florida. Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in human geography from Florida State University, his first master’s degree in library and information science from University of South Florida, and his second master’s degree from University of Nebraska in United States history. Andrew was a public librarian before becoming an academic library director for a decade. He teaches periodically in USF’s library and information science graduate program and is an affiliate faculty member at USF‘s school of information. In connection with the iSchool Andrew’s research and publications include efforts regarding community college librarianship and information literacy. Andrew’s further work includes national security data research with the J8 directorate of US Central Command. Andrew regularly acts as a mentor in Florida’s library leadership institute and serves on the Association of College and Research Libraries’ professional development committee.
Kelly Bohannan-Caudel, Seminole County Public Libraries
Kelly has been a librarian with Seminole County Public Libraries since 2019, and she is currently serving as the Assistant Branch Manager/Reference Supervisor of the North Branch Library in Sanford. Before moving to Central Florida in 2019, Kelly was a Branch Manager (4 years) and Children’s Librarian (8 years) in the North Florida area. She is happy to be doing reference work again as she feels this work is vital to helping her new community stay connected and informed.
Sarah Dockray, Valencia College
Sarah Dockray has been a Librarian at Valencia College’s Osceola Campus in Kissimmee since 2011, earning tenure in 2015. She received her MLS from USF in 2010 and has experience working in a variety of libraries, including a state prison. Before joining Valencia College, she was the Area Director of Learning Resources at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, Nebraska. Sarah has been participating in Ask a Librarian since 2011 and received an Exemplary Chat Award in 2019 before joining the work group.
Cathay Keough, Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources
I’ve worked in the virtual reference service since 2003 and started with Maryland’s Ask Us Now service.
In 2007, I took a year-long position with the Internet Public Library to help with the transition of this virtual reference service from the University of Michigan to Drexel University (Philadelphia). This project included the development of various layers of reference services assistance for the IPL’s worldwide question-answering, including a course component for LIS/MLS graduate students enrolled in various universities to recent graduates who volunteered to cover the service. It was strictly an email service and the questions came from many countries. Most of the patrons did not have access to any library databases, so finding freely available, authoritative information was sometimes very challenging.
I came back to Maryland Ask Us as the #2 coordinator and worked for Baltimore County Public Library in the Information Services Department, training public and academic library staff statewide and assisting with running the service. Then, in 2010, the Delaware Division of Libraries hired me to revamp their statewide Ask a Librarian DE service. I became the Reference Services Coordinator and took off from there.
In my view, many roads eventually lead to Florida with its sunshine and beautiful nature. My husband and I enjoy the outdoors (sailing, kayaking, hiking, biking) and purchased a ‘future home’ around 2015. We used this for our vacations away from the northern wintry weather until one day, my husband saw a job posting for Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources. I started on April Fools Day 2019 and took the position as Central Services Coordinator for Info Central in November of the same year, and we’ve been enjoying this life ever since! I’m glad to continue with virtual reference for the Sarasota County Library’s service Ask Us and our statewide program, Ask a Librarian and have seen the deepening of the value of online options with the challenges the pandemic has presented to us. It’s a privilege to be part of something so meaningful!.
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.
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 chat for review, and vote for a winner for each month.
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 Doty at Kelly@tblc.org