Hot Topics Webinar: Customer Service Excellence, or How to Win an Exemplary Reference Award


Hot Topics: Customer Service Excellence, or How to Win an Exemplary Reference Award 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
2-3 pm ET

We all know the importance of customer service in reference, but the unique environment of chat reference sometimes presents a few unique challenges, too. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure a helpful and efficient chat reference experience for you and your virtual patrons.
In this webinar, Susan Livingston of South Florida State College, who has won four Exemplary Reference Awards, will provide the tips and tricks she has developed for superior customer service. Pat Barbier of St. Petersburg College, co-chair of the Quality Assurance Workgroup, will provide valuable tips and insights from the QA perspective on how you can ensure excellent customer service for your patrons.
Let Susan and Pat give you all the tools you need to provide customer service excellence in the virtual reference environment. Register today!

Get in the Know! Project Compass Workforce Recovery 2012

Information from Project Compass Florida:

There are more than 2 million small businesses in the state of Florida. They represent 98.9 percent of all employers and employ 42.3 percent of the private sector workforce.

Libraries are playing a leading role in developing the workforce of the 21st century. Project Compass is a nationwide effort to support public libraries as they strive to meet the urgent and growing needs of the unemployed and underemployed. This program will help public library staff increase their knowledge of available resources and handle the service needs of unemployed and job-seeking patrons. In an economy where more must be done with less, this program will also address how libraries can utilize existing resources and partnerships.

The goal of Project Compass is to support the workforce recovery efforts of libraries, particularly in counties with high unemployment. The program will introduce library staff to programs and services which they can deliver to job-seekers in their communities. Project Compass is brought to Florida public libraries by the Division of Library and Information Services, in conjunction with WebJunction/OCLC, as part of a grant funded by the Institute of Museum of Library Services.

Please check out the June 2012 Project Compass newsletter, which highlights some of the resources available to libraries to help develop and sustain small businesses in our communities.

Last Chance Webinars in Ask a Librarian

My Virtual Community: Reaching out to your Local Patrons through the Local Desk
Monday, April 30, 2012 (registration closing soon!)
10-11 am ET

Gale, eBooks, & You: The New Interface of the Gale Virtual Reference Library
Thursday, May 17, 2012
2-3 pm ET

High Anxiety: Increasing your Comfort Level on the Statewide Desk
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
10-11 am ET

E-Gov and the Get Help Florida Website
Monday, June 11, 2012
2-3 pm ET

Time is ticking for these upcoming webinars, so why risk it? Register today!

Email Workshop

Space is still available – register today! 

 Ask a Librarian Email Workshop

Tues., Mar. 13, 2012

2:30-3:30 pm ET

 Space is still available in this webinar. If you need training to help answer emails in the Ask a Librarian software for your library system, or if you currently utilize your own email system but would love a sneak-peek on how email works inside the agent console, this workshop is for you!

Hot Topics webinars: OverDrive E-Books & Audiobooks

Forgot to register before the holidays?  Space is still available in our two Hot Topics webinars on OverDrive… register for both today!


Hot Topics: E-Books! Putting OverDrive E-Books onto eReaders: A Guide For Library Staff

Wed., Jan. 11, 2012, 2-3 pm ET

Hot Topics: Audiobooks! Putting OverDrive Audiobooks onto Portable Players: A Guide For Library Staff

Wed., Jan. 18, 2012, 2-3 pm ET

Audiobooks and E-Books


OverDrive audiobooks & ebooks are popular with library patrons. But many of them have a hard time putting it all together: finding available e-books or audiobooks on the digital download site and then transferring them to their PC, e-reader, or listening devices. With information presented by TBLC’s own resident genius & System Administrator Al Carlson, these two webinars will equip public service staff of all library types with the skills they need to assist patrons at any stage of the process.



Topics include:

  • Finding immediately available audiobooks (Hot Topics: Audiobooks!) or e-books (Hot Topics: E-Books!) on an OverDrive site, installing Adobe Digital Editions and creating an Adobe identity.
  • Downloading audiobooks (Hot Topics: Audiobooks!) or e-books (Hot Topics: E-Books!) to a PC, and transferring (sideloading) them to e-readers/listening devices.
  • Direct downloads to smart phones, iPads, and other web-enabled devices.

Register for both webinars today!

Spanish Email Promotion at JPL

 Here’s a terrific example of how one library is marketing Ask a Librarian’s statewide Spanish email service to their patrons!

Check out the Jacksonville Public Library monthly e-newsletter at, and scroll down on the left to see their promo for the Ask a Librarian Spanish email service.

 Promoting the service in their newsletter not only informs their patrons, but also serves as a reminder to all JPL staff and administrators that Spanish email is available. In addition, they sent an announcement to the email distribution list for all JPL staff, and will link the announcement on the home page of the City employee portal.
Remember that all member libraries – that means yours! – have this service available now for their patrons. Follow JPL’s nifty marketing ideas to make sure your Spanish-speaking patrons know about this valuable service.

Way to go, JPL!

Statewide Spanish Email

We have some exciting news to announce for statewide email. Thanks to a group of volunteers, Ask a Librarian will be able to communicate via email with Spanish speaking users.

Every participating library in Ask a Librarian will have an “Espanol” link on their local/portal pages which will allow them to access a Spanish interface for submitting emails.  Those emails will be answered by the statewide Spanish email team.

We expect this service to go live in October.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us!

Traci Avet – Virtual Reference Coordinator

Jessica Riggins – Member Services Coordinator

Steal this Blog post!

Hi blogmasters:

If you have a blog for your library, copy the below user-oriented text and paste it as an entry into your own library’s blog.  Go ahead – steal it.  We want you to.  You may wish to edit the text or add specific resources to spotlight or customize your own library’s services or user focus.  In this post, pay special attention to reservation and/or item delivery services to match your library’s own special policies.  Just don’t forget to add a hyperlink that takes them directly to your library’s local page!   

Have a great week – Traci


So you’ve just finished watching your favorite TV or news program, or listening to your favorite radio show.  For the last hour, they touted the brilliance of someone’s latest novel or nonfiction read.  The damage is done – your interest is piqued.  All you’re thinking now is, “I’ve got to read this book.” 

 You… and maybe just a few other people.  (Anyone remember Tickle-Me Elmo?)  Well, the first step is to head straight to your library’s catalog – either in-person or online – and see if you’ve beaten the rest of those viewers or listeners to the punch.  Your library may have anticipated the wave of heightened interest and ordered extra copies, so you may be able to stake your claim then and there.  But if not – if your library’s copies are already checked out – make sure you place a hold on that title.  Your library will put you on a waiting list just for that title.  As the items are returned, they are set aside for those next on the waiting list.  Your library will notify you as soon as your book is ready.  And if for some reason your library doesn’t own a copy of the book, don’t despair – your library’s Interlibrary Loan service may be able to borrow the book from another library system.     

Your library’s catalog lets you place holds – and sometimes even Interlibrary Loan requests – online from the convenience of your computer.  If you need help finding a book, placing a hold, or just getting more information on how to place an Interlibrary Loan request through your library, visit Ask a Librarian today and get live help from a real Florida librarian.  No matter what you’re looking for, we’ll help you find it.  

What can we help you with today?

Ask a Librarian provides Florida residents with live chat services with a real Florida librarian from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday (ET), and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday (ET).  You can also send an e-mail your local library’s staff.