Benefits and Responsibilities for Participating Libraries
AskAway benefits its participating libraries on many levels.
Benefits For Learners, Researchers, and Educators
- 175+ staff hours weekly of real-time chat-based reference services
- Visibility of other library services through referrals
- Reaching new users and bringing them into the library
- Supporting learner preferences for online learning
- Expanded service delivery options for distance students
Financial Benefits for Participating Libraries
BC ELN coordination of the AskAway service saves BC post-secondary libraries both time and money allowing participating libraries to deliver superior library services in the most efficient way possible. Financial benefits include:
- Cost-savings in staff time; shared staffing means each library staffs from 3-34 hours per week, in return for 175+ staff hours of reference service per week
- Cost-savings through group purchase of software and marketing materials
- Thousands of hours of staff time saved by obviating the need for each library to schedule, train, market and coordinate their own virtual reference service
Administrative Benefits For Participating Libraries
Libraries receive additional benefits associated with BC ELN coordination of the AskAway service.
- Access to the BC ELN communications infrastructure for planning purposes, budgeting, and managing change
- Ongoing training and technical support for AskAway virtual reference software
- Participation in advocacy, lobbying, leadership, and collaborative efforts as taken on by BC ELN
- Risk avoidance in the event of a disaster by maintaining access to reference service if on-campus service is compromised
AskAway depends on partner library participation in the governance of the service.
- All participating libraries participate directly or indirectly on the Advisory Committee as outlined at <http://www.eln.bc.ca/view.php?id=1746>;
- Members are asked to participate in occasional surveys, feedback instruments, task groups, and consultation which help to shape policy and service development.
NOTE: The Advisory Committee is taking a staged approach to policy development. The Participating Library Requirements and Responsibilities policy as it stands here applies to September to April participation. Because of the unique requirements of the May to August term, summer participation will be addressed at a later stage.
AskAway participating libraries must:
- Be a BC ELN Partner Library, meeting membership requirements for BC ELN Partner Libraries as set out at <http://www.eln.bc.ca/view.php?id=1816>.
- Provide appropriate staffing to the AskAway service as set out at <staff/library-commitment-model-2013-14> OR provide appropriate compensation. Additional staff hours may be requested by the AskAway Advisory Committee.
- Provide a yearly AskAway Service Support fee as determined by the Advisory Committee and set out in the AskAway cost-sharing model found at </staff/askaway-service-support-fee-20122013>.
- Have adequate electronic resources available for learners and AskAway service providers to facilitate the online reference experience.
- Ensure the library's website is readily accessible for the institution's own learners and for AskAway service providers.
- Have an online library catalogue accessible to off-site users and AskAway service providers.
- Have on-site reference available so that AskAway supplements existing services.
By participating in AskAway (i.e. placing links to AskAway on library website and staffing AskAway), libraries are understood to have read and agreed to these responsibilities.