As a statewide virtual reference service, the success of Ask a Librarian is built on the collaboration of member libraries. This collaboration allows all Florida residents to have virtual reference assistance through live chat or texting during all business hours, regardless of whether those libraries are currently open or staffing. Library users can also email their local library staff. Ask a Librarian member libraries agree to work with Ask a Librarian staff and other participating libraries to provide service in the statewide collaborative Ask a Librarian service. Each library is asked to staff a minimum of three hours.
The responsibilities of the partner library include participating in such activities as:
- Having all participating staff complete the introductory training for Ask a Librarian.
- Contributing librarians’ time to staff the collaborative service.
- Assigning staff to answer local email through either the AaL software or through a “Contact Us” URL on the library’s website.
- Promoting use of Ask a Librarian to library users, including providing a link to the service or an embedded widget on the library’s website.
Ask a Librarian’s responsibilities include:
- Maintaining the collaborative live reference software for chat and texting and asynchronous software for email.
- Providing access to the software for local use.
- Providing training and ongoing support for library staff.
- Providing all promotional materials like bookmarks and posters free of charge to Florida libraries.
There are many benefits to joining Ask a Librarian! For more information or to become a member of Ask a Librarian, please contact Kelly McDonald at Kelly@tblc.org today.