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.
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.
Andy Todd, EFSC/UCF Joint Use Library in Cocoa Beach (Co-Chair)
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 (Co-Chair)
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.
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.
Sara Alegría, Miami-Dade College
Sara Alegría 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. Alegría 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.
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.
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.
Rachel Edford, UCF Libraries
Rachel Edford joined UCF Libraries in 2019 as an Instruction and Engagement Librarian. She has an MA in Liberal Studies and a PhD in English and taught college composition and English for several years prior to working at UCF. Before moving to Central Florida, Rachel worked at archives and public libraries as well as academic libraries in Michigan and Washington DC. She enjoys learning from both the patrons using Ask A Librarian and her colleagues and looks forward to learning more as a member of the Quality Assurance Group.
Matt Burrell, FSU Library
Matt Burrell obtained his Master’s degree at Florida State University in 1996, then went on to the University of West Florida and completed an Educational Specialist degree (2004) with an emphasis on synchronous reference transactions for distance education students and faculty. Matt was part of the first Ask-a-Librarian committee at the College Center for Library Automation (CCLA). Matt has always played a part in the development of the statewide program making sure library customers received the correct answers to their questions.
Former president of the Panhandle Library Access Network, (PLAN), Matt completed the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute program, and has co-created and taught “Technology for Teachers EME2040” both through Distance and Face-to Face classes.
Matt has been at FSU since 2009 having previously worked at the Northwest Regional Library System (a public library system) and Gulf Coast State College (academic). Currently he is a Senior Applications Analyst.
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