Strategies for Busy Times

Here are a few strategies to help ease the burden on you and on AskAway visitors during the busy times of year...

Log in a few minutes early

Login to LibraryH3lp, Campfire, and the AskAway website a few minutes early. Pick-up new questions and offer to take transfers. This will relieve the burden on your colleagues who are coming off-shift. 

Manage your browser windows

When it's busy, having a number of windows open at the same time can get confusing. Try having your LibraryH3lp webclient in a browser window of its own, so that you don't lose track of this tab. Try using two different browsers. Play around with different options and find a set-up that works well for you.

Communicate with patrons

Let patrons know how busy you are and thank them for their patience. They can't see that you're helping several people at once. The Chat - Busy script can be useful in this situation: "We're currently responding to a high volume of questions, and every service provider is helping multiple people. I'll make every effort to answer your questions quickly and thoroughly but my responses may be slower. Thank you for your patience." You can always edit this script using your preferred wording or make your own script!


During busy times, you may not have the time to give every patron the in-depth help you'd like to give them. Note during COVID-19: When providing referrals, be sure to look for the most up to date information on the website. For example, a library that used to offer in-person research consultations may have moved those appointments online.

Send the swamped script

Pick up patrons as quickly as you can, preferably before 60 seconds have passed. But, if you're unable to get to their question right away you can use the Begin - Swamped script to manage patron expectations and queue flow: "Hello and welcome to AskAway. We're extremely busy answering multiple calls, but your question is important to us. Would you like to wait (5-15 minutes) or come back with your question at a later time? You can also email your question to your home library:"

Send a Swamped call

If you and your colleagues are overwhelmed with the number of chat sessions, you can always send out what's called a Swamped call. See this blog post on Sending a Swamped Call

More strategies

See below for additional tips for working with multiple patrons: