Tips (General)

How-it-Works for Patrons!

Have you ever wondered exactly what the AskAway session looks like from the patron side? Perhaps wondered what options are available for making the session more user-friendly or accessible? Check out the new How-it-Works tutorial for patrons with step-by-step help, key screenshots & "more" hover tips!

Good Tip

A student wrote "what are your hours?" I immediately gave the AA hours. But, after the call, as always, I thought, "Suppose the student thought I was a Camosun librarian on the line and meant the physical library hours."
I have had students on AA complain about the heat in the library (in Kamploops) and ask if I can turn it down, so this cognitive confusion is probably pretty common.
So, note to self: Ask what is the meaning of "your".
- Richard Baer
Camosun College

Article of Interest

Richard Baer recommended this article:
The Good, the Bad, but Mostly the Ugly: Adherence to RUSA Guidelines during Encounters with Inappropriate Behavior Online.
Maness, Jack M.1
Naper, Sarah2
Chaudhuri, Jayati3
Reference & User Services Quarterly; Winter2009, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p151-162, 12p, 3 charts

Q & As for Handling Multiple Patrons

Some very useful questions from a service provider around handling multiple patrons, with my answers:
How do we know which patron is first in the line-up?

Patrons will be listed in the New tab in the order in which they come in, with newest at the top and oldest at the bottom. The Time column will tell you how many seconds the patron has been waiting.

Rules of Engagement for Busy Times

We've reached the busy peak of this term - on average we're handling 130 - 160 calls per day, 10-20 per hour. Our busiest hour so far was Tuesday Nov 3 from 2-3 PM when 27 calls came in!
As we get busier, things get stressful for our patrons and for us. Here's some coping strategies:
Rules of Engagement for Patrons

Reminder: Help AskAway patrons with THEIR OWN resources

Just a reminder that we can only help AskAway patrons with the resources that THEY have access to at their own library. Even though you may have access to different resources at your library, it is important to direct patrons to resources that they will be able to use after their session with you.
Questions? Let me know!
- Sunni

Public Library AskAway Delicious Links

Public library AskAwayers have created an incredible set of Delicious links on many of the topics that come in to their queue, as well as links to grade-level or reading-level specific resources:**Education_Grade_Readership
There is also a link to these Delicious links on the Staff Tools page of the Portal:


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