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.
Andy Todd, EFSC/UCF Joint Use Library in Cocoa Beach (co-chair)
I have been a librarian with the University of Central Florida for over 8 years. After graduating from USF in 2003, I started out as an adjunct librarian at the Joint-Use Library in Clermont. The next year, I transitioned into a permanent position at the EFSC/UCF Joint-Use library in Cocoa.
Working at a regional campus library affords me the opportunity to share reference responsibilities (including chat hours) with the Eastern Florida State College librarians. This is my 6th year participating in the AAL Service. I enjoy AAL and feel that I learn something new each time I read an exemplary chat transcript or log into the virtual desk.
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro, Pasco-Hernando Community College (co-chair)
Andrew Beman-Cavallaro received his B.S. in Geography from Florida State University in 2005 and his MLS from the University of South Florida in 2008. He worked at the USF Tampa Library in para-professional roles from 2005-2010, as the Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Bartow Public Library from 2010-2012, and is currently the Associate Library Director of Pasco-Hernando Community College’s Spring Hill Campus. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford, has publications in the periodical Library Worklife, and is proud to classify himself as a Radical Militant Librarian.
Pat Barbier, St. Petersburg College Library
Pat is the librarian at St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus. She’s the site coordinator at SPC Library and was a part of the original Virtual Reference Advisory Committee in the state. At SPC, they strongly encourage their students to use AskALibrarian in all of its forms. Nine librarians (all enthusiastic for AAL!) there help staff their hours. The college offers many online classes so AskALibrarian is very popular there.
SPC has recently merged its Learning Support Commons and the Library under one director. Much of our work here has been centered around teaching library skills to students in response to professors’ requests for classes and staffing the reference desk. On a personal note, my husband, a Navy retiree, and I have three children, two of whom live with their spouses in California. We visit our twin grandchildren in Orange County as often as we can! Pat was the founding co-chair of the committee.
Lora Glass, Niceville Library
Lora Glass has been with the Niceville Public Library since 1983. She started out as the Library Assistant and when the new library facility opened in 2000 became Head of Reference and Interlibrary Loan. AskaLibrarian is one of her favorite duties because she is constantly challenged. Her favorite question which she has been asked numerous times is “Are people from Niceville always nice?” Her reply is always, YES.
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.
Elena Soltau, Nova Southeastern University
Elena Soltau has worked at Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Library as a librarian for 6 years and is currently is the Assistant Director of Reference. She received a bachelor’s degree at University of Central Florida, a second bachelor’s degree at Florida Atlantic University, and MLIS from Florida State University. She is currently working on her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University. Her husband jokes that as a student, she is working her way around Florida’s university system.
Alicia Kobak, Palm Beach County Library System
Alicia Kobak is a reference librarian with the Palm Beach County Library System at the Hagen Ranch Road Library.
Katresa Gardner, Sarasota County Library System
Katresa has been with the Sarasota County Library System for two years, first as a Reference Librarian at the Venice and Jacaranda Libraries and now she serves at the Webmaster in Library Administration. Before Sarasota County, she worked as an Electronic Resource Librarian for five years at Georgia Military College where she taught library and research instruction classes and managed the digital library. She loves embedded librarianship and online reference inquiries. During her AAL shifts, she enjoys answering questions of all kinds and providing reliable resources to patrons through AAL.
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?
Member 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. Member of this workgroup are responsible for nominating and voting for the best chat transcripts.