Reports & Stats

499,182 Chat Sessions

139,528 Chat Sessions Followed-Up by Email

638,710 Chat & Follow-Up by Email Combined

 

14 Academic, 17 Public, and 7 Special Partner Libraries

190 Chat Hours Provided by Maryland Libraries/Week


 

Question data covers March 17, 2003 through June 30, 2018.

Partner Libraries as of June 30, 2018.

Hours per week as of June 30, 2018.

Monthly Reports

2011 01 - January 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2753 questions via chat in January. This is 667 less than December 2010 and 1140 less than January 2010. 
  • Maryland librarians handled 1859 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1270 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.
  • Customers submitted 108 surveys this month.
  • In Facebook, the number of users who "like" us is up 89% this month ending at 256 "lifetime likes."
     
  • We are up to 967 followers in Twitter and in our last 200 updates (we average a few a day), we've had no changes in our follower numbers (loyal followers).

 

 

customer comments

  • This is a great website for anyone who wants to learn period. I have recommended this website before and will do so.
  • I simply stumbled upon this service on my search for a particular novel. I expected some automated reply which told me exactly what I already knew.  On the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually got a response. I was even more surprised at the helpfulness of the response. Thanks for the help!
  • Very good. The reference lady was very helpful and I liked how she could display links to me.
  • I would like to compliment reference librarian Sandy (MD Stevenson Library) on her knowledge, courtesy, and willingness--one might even say eagerness--to be of service. I was somewhat out of my element, but she pointed me precisely in the direction in which I needed to go, and I was able to accomplish the task at hand in short order. Brava to her, and happy Friday to all of you!
  • Great service for late night questions tht cannot be answered by phone call!
  • Nice service.  Good recommendations.  Bravo to Kristina. Thanks very much.
  • This service is Fantastic. Finally something for my tax dollars I can use, and it Works !! Thanks
  • An amazing service!!!!! Thank You so much!
  • once more thanks to Mr. Jim Miller. His help was realky very suggestive and detailed. Have a nice rest of a week Lenka Murckova University of Pardubice, technical and natural science librarian Czech republic
  • Library Service is Very, Very Excellent.
  • THey did an excellent job. I had Brian from anne arundel and he was just perfect(: I found great information and he really worked with me to perform my task. I am telling all my friends about this!
  • The person gave me exactly what I needed and asked what difficultly I needed so they did not give me something too hard or too easy. This helped me out alot. Thanks Ask Us Now!
  • The librarian I was paired with was swift and understood what I needed; she was great!
  • The help was expediant and congenial.
  • Q deferred to someone else more qualified. I have used a couple of times before and generally satisfied.  I figure why not and little to lose.  Have recommened to others.
  • Mandy was very very helpful and has a sense of humor too!
  • Librarian Lark is awesome.  She tried and tried and tried to find the answer to my question, but she and I believe it will need to be answered by the MD Law Library. I'm very grateful for the service and that she took so much time and  used so  many sources ( and strategies to mail them) to try to find the answer.
  • Thank you, this service worked great because the library was closed and I was stressing about a lost book. The "chatline" gave me an answer withing 1 hour.  Again, thank you. The service was extremely helpful.
  • I was thrilled to be able to receive a PDF copy of the newspaper article I was searching for without having to send an ILL request from my home library in Asheville, NC and wait for it to arrive! It certainly saves the librarian's time and resources to email rather than process, print and mail an article. I will definitely use this service again should the need arise. And thank you to Rebecca Hass!
  • Because I couldn't reach the Maryland Room by phone (due to snow as I found out later), I tried the "ask us now" feature. I am very pleased to be able to give my library patron an update on his request. Thank you very much! Fran was very helpful and quick. - Susan Angelow
  • I really wanted to know whether all the employees had been told to stay home, because of concern about my two next-door neighbors, because I had been stranded away from home and could not get them by telephone.  I got the helpful answer that the library was closed for the day.
  • The reply was fast and very professional.  I will use this service in the future.
  • The librarian who helped me was very nice and was as curious about my question as I was. She made the experience enjoyable, and though she wasn't able to find much on my question, she promised to be on the lookout for more information. She was very helpful. I had Cathay.
  • Haven't received answer yet, was referred to local librarian, but that's fine, and staff was friendly and polite.  Thanks!
  • Thank you for all you do A+++++++++++
  • Joe from Indiana was very nice and very helpful, and I was very pleased by the way he helped me. He was very polite. Thank you
  • He answer all my question properly and explain them to me very easily. :)
  • This was great.  Saved me the time of figuring out where i could get the book i need and it saved me $40 from amazon.  Very courteous.
  • Even though the book was not available in ebook format, I have a title and will look for it on amazon.com.  Meg was very helpful and apologized for not be able to assist me more.  She even wished my son good luck on his project.  I will definitely use this service again.
  • Michael Stevens went out of his way to provide me with the information I needed. Thank you, Michael and BCPL for providing this service.
     

 

month in review

January went by quickly but here's what we were able to accomplish:

  • two interns started with us this month. Paul, our chatting intern will be doing 5 hours weekly on chat and working on a subject review of our transcripts for his project. Lindsay, whom many of you met at the December liaison meeting, is our admin intern who will be doing 2 hours a week on chat and working on a no-cost marketing campaign for us.
  • Cathay and Julie continued work on the revised training curriculum and hopes it will be ready for live training in February.
  • Work continues with the Rockstar Team to get them up and running and the UX team to put into place the recommendations they made about improving the Inner Harbor.
  • Julie continued her work with the MLLI and VisionQuest groups, spending 5 hours this morth on them in total. Julie is also part of a group putting together a three part reference training series for public librarians on law/legal information and e-government resources. Part one had a session via wimba on the 26th. A second session is coming up in February. Archives and slides will be up on Merlin for the state to utilize.
  • This month, our grant supervisor, Daria took a job as Associate Director of Harford County. Daria has contributed much to the success of AskUsNow! and we'll miss her very much but hope she finds much joy in her new position. DLDS Marketing Specialist Paula Isett is AUN's new grant supervisor.

 

 

on our radar

  • we're looking at ways we can raise our answering percentage (the number of sessions we answer divided by the number of sessions our customers have)
  • we had such huge interest for our internship positions, that we're looking to start a volunteer base. the hope is that they'd help pick up some of the global shifts we need to keep our contract level.
  • our mid-year grant report is due in March and we're gearing up for that.

 

Top 10: words used in customer surveys

After removing all the standard words (me, i, as, in the) and "librarian," "library," and "service" here are the top ten words used in customer surveys this month:

  1. thank you / thanks
  2. great/good
  3. helpful/help
  4. nice
  5. like/love
  6. excellent
  7. recommend
  8. amazing
  9. fast
  10. fantastic

2011 02 - February 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3614 questions via chat in February. This is only one question less than February 2010 and a 31% increase over January 2011. 
  • Maryland librarians handled 2211 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, that's over 400 questions up from February 2010.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1298 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.
  • In Facebook, the number of users who "like" us is up 53% this month ending at 286 "lifetime likes."

 

 

customer comments

  • Michael Stevens went out of his way to provide me with the information I needed. Thank you, Michael and BCPL for providing this service.
  • What a fantastically helpful tool!! Thank you so much for providing this :o)
  • i really love it! it was so helpful! i'm positive that i'll do this many, many more times!
  • You all do a GREAT job...
  • The answer was thorough and timely. Very impressive. Many thanks!
  • This is a great service! I love using it and it helps so much! Thanks!
  • I don't yet have an answer to my question, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy to find. The librarian who helped me was extremely creative in trying to find sources for the answer, and I really appreciate her patience and persistence.
  • It is a great tool, and I can see in long run would save money for state.
  • Jim Miller was an extremely helpful person! He was very polite and responsive to my needs. He truly made it known that he was giving his all and putting immense effort into his search for me. This man deserves recognition!
  • The Library Associate who responded to my query was prompt, informative, and absolutely thorough.  I am very pleased with the new knowledge I gained as a result of her response, and I am grateful that the opportunity for posing questions via email exists.  A wonderful service!
  • Fastest on-line service I've ever received.  Wonderful.
  • Amazing. This website takes my breath away. I'm counting on you AskUsNow!
  • After spending about an hour searching for the answer to my question, I decided to come on to AskUsNow to have a librarian do the search for me. Although Somer (a Texas librarian) encountered the same difficulties I had, she was very persistent, had good suggestions, and was very kind and personable. I would say that this was an excellent experience.
  • The answer to my question didn't even take a few hours.  It was very much appreciated.
  • Keep giving excellent service. Thank you for all your help. Sharon Akins
  • Thank you for sending Bonnie to me I didn't know where Iwas going I was going to take a bad grade because I couldn't find any information and she came along and helped me out.
  • I was very happy with the information I was given, thank you very much :)
  • They followed up on my question of trying to find the name of a book.  We still have not found the title, but the fact that they continue to help me is wonderful!
  • The libraryin was very helpful and gave me all informationi needed thanks a million
  • So excited now I have another resource.
  • This is an awesome site, I encourage my students to use it all the time.
  • I really appreciated Brian he gave me so much information at first I couldn't find anything but he made sure that I had enough information
  • it was very helpful
  • I'm actually a library science student using this service for an assignment on reference interviews and not using it to legitimately gather information on what I asked about. From everything I know and am learning in class, Jen did a great job, and I felt like I had a great experience and would definitely come back! Not only was the service great, but the site was also easy to navigate and figure out. The feature with the website showing up on the side is also very nice!
  • this is a great website
  • this service is wonderful.  I was able to get an answer to my question quickly.  thank you so much for this service.  just wish my kindle was included in the download devices.  Perhaps one day it will.  thanks again
  • Thanks for your guidance.
  • The person I communicated with was very helpful.  The library was closed today.
  • John Krivak is wonderful.
  • for the first time in over 20 years i found someone who was helpful in obtaining answers to my question of this set of william shakespeare books ..
  • Terrific, efficient, friendly, helpful creative solution to a tough challenge! escellent job!
  • The information was very helpful for my essay and has allowed me to gather pages and pages of information.
  • I have used this service twice to find a book that the local library didn't have. Both times, the  library has come through and found the book elsewhere in the state. The librarians are very professional and very quick. I LOVE my West County library.
  • i got a lot of info. and it was very helpful with my project!
  • Thank you so much in getting me started on researching these topics. ANy suggestions on journels, I need them as well for references.
  • Very prompt and efficient and friendly - Tammy was great and helped me without any trouble at all. thanks
  • i love it
  • It took me three attempts to find a librarian who could actually help me out.  Patrick at the Enoch Pratt was quick, friendly and the only librarian who could answer my query.  Kudos to him!!!
  • The service is a great way to get answers without having to go to or call the local library. I appreciate the service and will use it again.
  • This is my 2 time.Thanks fot the help.The Librarian are very very very helpful.
  • I really needed the help that the librarian gave me. Instead of just giving me information, which she did, she also gave me some search tips. Please let her know how much I appriciated the help.
  • I love using this because there's always someone to ask, whenever the question pops in your head! I've come here for just random questions, information, and research. It never disappoints!
  • I was very pleased with the prompt & helpful answer that I got. Jim Huheey, Professor Emeritus
  • Excellent resource.  The information provide was excellent!
  • I love this service! All the librarians are so helpful and nice! Thank you!!
  • a new resource i hadnt seen before - it looks promising and will definitely give it a shot. thanks
  • The person who I chatted with did a wonderful job at helping me, the question I had didnt get answered because there wasnt an answer. My question was wrong on my paper.

 

month in review

After January's disturbing dip in usage, February has rebounded nicely! We're not quite sure why the rise (or dip in January), but we're continuing to focus on our social media marketing and our quality to keep customers happy and coming back.

This month we:

  • participated in the QuestionPoint Virtual Users Group meeting
  • assisted Catherine McGuire in the second session of the first ready reference law training modules.
  • made a presentation to Howard County on the benefits and how-tos of email in QuestionPoint
  • successfully fielded questions from 14 fifth graders in a scheduled class visit on Valentines Day
  • participated in the QP Advisory Board

 

 

on our radar

  • we're looking at ways we can raise our answering percentage (the number of sessions we answer divided by the number of sessions our customers have) and increase our global hours coverage for the cooperative without our maryland customers suffering.
  • we had such huge interest for our internship positions, that we're looking to start a volunteer base. the hope is that they'd help pick up some of the global shifts we need to keep our contract level.
  • our mid-year grant report is due in this month and we're gearing up for that.

2011 03 - March 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3137 questions via chat in March. (Check out "Month in Review" for trend details.)
  • Maryland librarians handled 2204 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1354 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • Terrific to have 24hr service in this day and age of budget cuts!!
  • i have used this service a number of times before and always get good information, if not wonderful.
  • This is a great resource that is not well known to the public.  It needs to be 'advertised'.  Thank you so very much for providing it 24/7!
  • Cameron gave me some good resources to find car values. Thanks!
  • I like ask us now!!!!! The librarians are REALLY nice!!!!!!!
  • Sarah  was terrific. The service GREAT! I don't type fast & she was patient. The information popped up on the screen which was a surprise. This service is wonderful. Keep up the GREAT work!!!
  • keenly appreciate the availability of this service 24/7.  This evening I was assisted by an out of state staff member who mentioned that all librarians in my local library were busy -- and this is an added dimention of this service which is particularly welcome and very much appreciated since it means I could proceed without an undue wait. -- Thank you to all concenred for this fabulous service.
  • WOW!  I am SO impressed.  I emailed a request about accessing your archives for an old family obituary and within less than 24 hours your staff emailed me back with exactly what I wanted.  THANK YOU!
  • I loved my librarian. she was Librarian 'MD Pratt/SLRC Librarian Shaileen. I hope she is always on this. she understood me so well!
  • The librarian provided excellent customer service and went above and beyond in providing as many helpful resources as possible!
  • Lauren was very helpful & fixed my problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I ve always found the service and staff very reliable and resourceful.
  • Very professional and very helpful. I would absolutely use this again!
  • This is a wonderful professional service for people like me who might have exhausted a search and need another set of eyes. Being able to bounce ideas makes my search a whole lot easier. Thanks Tim [last name withheld]
  • Paul from Baltimore County Library help me in finding my research to a huge project. He was the most helpful "ask us now" Librarian that i have ever had and he focused on making sure i had the correct information and guided me in the right path.
  • Michael put a lot of thought into his answer. Very detailed and fleshed-out. Felt like I was talking to a person. Looking forward to future communication.
  • In today's society where there is little 'spare' time I do not always stop to compliment the good service I receive.  So here is my compliment......Using this online contact, was easy, 'time' efficient, and the response was very quick and helpful!  I also like that your online survey only has 7 questions....those go on for pages are annoying
    Now if you only had spell check...  ;)
  • i love how the people are always like so polite and how they really try hard to find stuff for you so that you dont have to;) askusnow rox
  • Thank you for providing this free service.  I wasted aabout an hour trying to find this info on line.  Then i remembered i could ask a librarian.  Then I got answered quickly and was provided with the info I requested.
  • I really liked that Sharyl was very friendly and attentive.I Would recommend her to any of my friends for service.Thank you have A blessed Day.
  • This is a wonderful service.  I never knew it existed and I'm blown over.  Thank you all for your wonderful work.
  • As usual - got the best service in record time - keep up the good work!!
  • Thank  you  most  kindly. The  service  was  a  time-saver    indeed !
  • Librarian was very helpful & best of all, very patient! This question probably inappropriate but I thank you.  I am a senior citizen and have enjoyed library services (beginning with Enoch Pratt in the city) for about 65 yrs.  I think I would rather lose my credit card before my library card (well, almost anyway) thank you--Mary [last name withheld]
  • thanks a bunch i luv this website <3
  • I would like to Thank Kendra for her services and thank the other librarian who took over when Kendra's shift was over. God's Blessings to you all !
  • The staff were very pleasing to work with.  Even though we did have a few problems, they were quickly solved.  I would definitely use again should I ever have the need.  Thanks so much staff. Miriam [last name withheld]
  • CYNTHIA IS AWESOME!!! AND VERY HELPFUL!!!
  • Cynthia was very helpful and I was able to finally contact my library.  It was interesting to find out that the phone number in the book was misprinted and I wasn't finding it on their website and my log in wouldn't work! Crazy! So Cynthia solved the problem. Thank you very much! Warm regards, Mary
  • LIbrarians are wonderful and beautiful! Paul [last name withheld]
  • 'MD Librarian Paul' was so helpful in assisting my search for a critical analysis. I am very satisfied with his answer, and I greatly appreciate his help!
  • The Librarian was very professional, experienced, and thorough. She was very attentive to my problem and really helped me out.

 

month in review

In January we had a dip in usage which rebounded in February. Due to the number of class visits in February we wanted to wait and see what March told us about our 2011 trends. Well folks, we're down. 13% decrease from March 2010 and a 15% decrease from last month (which was up 23% from January 2011). The graph below shows our customer activity (Chat Sessions Requested) since our launch: For the data itself, check out the All Years report.

The decline we see is directly related to our decline in marketing initiatives and marketing budget. Our increase in February that we saw was related to marketing gone haywire (class "bombs" and visits). We're hopeful that the comprehensive no-cost marketing plan that Intern Lindsay is working with us to create will make an impact for both our statistics and yours. Stay tuned or contact Julie if you'd like to contribute ideas.

Additionally, this month we:

  • finished the four training modules, curriculum, and checklist for new staff training. We will roll these out starting April 13th with a training at FCPL.
  • completed and submitted the mid-year grant report for DLDS
  • continued work with what's now called the "Stellar Transcript Review Team" (STRT) and asked for nomination submissions
  • planned and announced the joint MLA/DLA virtual librarians meetup at the conference in Ocean City
  • Cathay was trained on the semi-complicated process that is monthly reports
  • Julie attended Computers in Libraries in DC. Her notes will be blogged soon.

 

 

What's next

  • We have completed the revamp of new staff trainings and have 3 classes offered in the coming weeks. More will be scheduled after the first round of training and feedback so that we can make any necessary tweaks or changes. Completion Deadline: TBD (based on feedback)
  • After that we will be turning our attention to implementing the recommendations for the Inner Harbor that the UX team put together based on the usability interviews and surveys we completed. Completion Deadline: June
  • Once that's completed, we'll be focusing on getting our volunteer program up and running. Completion Deadline: September
  • We are still looking at/working on:
    • ways we can raise our answering percentage (the number of sessions we answer divided by the number of sessions our customers have)
    • covering more global hours
    • potential use of the qwidget when it's not 24/7
    • and the plan for descriptive code use - codes, training, and implimentation

2011 04 - April 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2665 questions via chat in April. (Check out "Month in Review" for trend details.)
  • Maryland librarians handled 1772 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1024 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • I am a resident of Virginia, but I am trying to help a Md senior find information. Thank you for providing the service. It was quick & the results are quite helpful.
  • Libarian Carol Helped Me I Loved her Thank You Carol Your The Best And Hope To See One Day So I Can Tell My Teacher This Is the libarian that helped me get an A :)
    C-Caring
    A-Awesome
    R-Respectful
    O-On The Point
    L-Like Veyyy Nice
  • i thank all the libranams for this site man yall the best or da best yeha i like to sing a song
    Wouldn't wanna be anybody else, hey.
  • I am so glad you have this service. The librarian who helped was very helpful.
  • Matt was awesome!
  • Excellent service.
  • This is my second request to your librarians asking for help with looking for a family obituary.  Unfortunately this request came back empty, but certainly not for lack of effort. I really appreciate the timeliness of their response too. Less than 24 hours! Amazing service. Thank you for providing this service to me even though I live out of state! When I hear/read the name Anne Arundel it makes me automatically think of your great library service.
  • i love this site i use it everyday 24/7
  • Prompt, professional, valuable service :)
  • library staff was quick in responce and very helpful
  • The librarian was very helpful. I am highly satisfied by the service.
    Thanks..
  • This has been very helpful
  • This is a great resource and I hope to use it often in future, although I promise not to "overuse" it. Thank you very much.
  • The librarian was very nice and helpful! Thank you!
  • I like how they really help you with your specific question. They are all really nice. I also like how you can e-mail the Chat Transcript. It really helped me with a last-minute research project.
  • Both gals did the best they could to answer my question. I really am kind of excited that my question was unanswerable and one of the librarians had to refer me to the big house. I will look forward to receiving a reply.
    I would like to comment, however, on the waiting time. I waited ten minutes for one librarian to finish with another patron and get to me. Although I know how to keep myself busy, someone else might get angry at the wait.
    Everyone was very nice and polite, and helpful.
    Thank you for this wonderful free service. I will use it again.
  • Please continue this service.
  • this is a wonderful invention...really helps when my kids have projects to research...thanks again
  • The online chat respondent was helpful but did not solve my problem at the time. We contacted our local ranch the following day and were able to obtain the requested item. I appreciated the ability to communicate with someone directly even though the iocal library facliitywas closed.
  • The response by Mr. Michael Stevens was very professional and helpful. I was amazed with the speed of the response, too. Thank you.
  • I rarely expand on an employee's performance but as a former HR Executive, I would like to comment on Eleanor. She was very professional and thorough. I did not expect this high a level of expertise and speed. She deserves high praise for her service. 5 stars!!!! Terry [last name removed], Illinois resident
  • I appreciate the help I get from Ask Us Now. It has saved me a lot of time researching all by myself.
  • I think this website is wonderful, very helpful and the best part it's 24/7. Because I would have been all night trying to figure out the correct data base to go to.
  • Mimi was amazing! She was tremendously patient and helpful with someone who is not very computer literate. Mimi answered all of my questions and stayed with me until I was fairly certain that I had found what I was looking for.
    Amazing service all around:) Bravo!
  • As a parent volunteer in an understaffed, inner-city public school, I REALLY appreciate this resource. I'm "teaching" an after-school creative writing course and I really valued having another adult with whom I could "discuss" possible authors who could bring an audio-visual element to the students. The fact that we're having difficulty finding anything speaks to the limited funding our system faces, rather than the effort of the librarian at the other end of the chat line.
  • I'm always amazed at how the person I never met, somewhere in cyber space, can pull information out of the internet like magic. I love it.
  • A very pleasant, fast, friendly, and informative service. Thanks so much!
  • Thank you for providing this service!
  • Librarian Cynthia Dennis provided a first-class piece of research on the subject of my inquiry. She gave details of what she found, suggestions for additional sources, and attachments of relevant articles. An invaluable assistance in my research.
     
  • y
    o
    u

    g
    u
    y
    s

    a
    r
    e

    a
    w
    s
    o
    m
    e

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

month in review

This month, we:

  • completed new staff training on April 13th at FCPL and on April 26th at AACPL using the new training modules and redesign.
  • chose the first Rock Star finalist and honorable mentions and the Stellar Transcript Review Team developed its organization plan.
  • started consulting with the National Archives and Records Administration
  • planned and announced the joint MLA/DLA virtual librarians meetup at the conference in Ocean City
  • Cathay attended a marketing meeting sponsored by Southern Maryland Regional Library on April 25th.
  • Julie had concentrated calls with IMAlive.
  • Julie prepped for upcoming Legislative Days.
  • prepared and promotied MLA/DLA joint conference virtual reference meet-up.

 

 

What's next

  • We have 1 new staff training class coming right up.
     
  • MLA/DLA Joint Conference Meet-Up in early May (May 4-6, 2011)
  • Now turning our attention to implementing the recommendations for the Inner Harbor that the UX team put together based on the usability interviews and surveys we completed. Completion Deadline: June
  • Once that's completed, we'll be focusing on getting our volunteer program up and running. Completion Deadline: September
  • We are still looking at/working on:
    • ways we can raise our answering percentage (the number of sessions we answer divided by the number of sessions our customers have)
    • covering more global hours
    • potential use of the qwidget when it's not 24/7
    • and the plan for descriptive code use - codes, training, and implimentation

2011 05 - May 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2596 questions via chat in May.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1674 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 931 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups. This is the first time since July 2007 that we've done under 1000.

 

 

customer comments

  • You guys are great -- and always satisfy the needs that I have.  Thanks for being there and taking your job seriously.
  • I especially appreciated the willingness of several librarians of different backgrounds contributing to my questions. i hope to compliment this 'chat' with email exchanges later.
  • I frequently used "Ask a Librarian" type services in communities for which I am doing genealogical research.  All have either known the material to be in their library or have sent me to other excellent sources.  I do not hear well on the phone so am extremely pleased with your service and that of others responding to similar requests.  Alaskans usually cannot make road trips to communities of interest so especially value your services. Grace in AK
  • The 24/7 librarians are very friendly. You can tell by their responses that they love their job and are happy to help with your question.
  • In the many years I have regularly used the library I have never used the chat sessions. Today I dealt with Mimi who answered all my questions, directed me to various sites and completely solved my problem. Wonderful service (as are all library services). Great leap forward from the day I first became enchanted by a library (age:4, 1929)
  • I work at the University of Bath in the UK, and used this service to help us track down an article by a member of the academic staff at Salisbury University. The service was fast and efficient, and I very much appreciate the help. Thank you, Bruce!
  • Very fast service.  Thank you!  I really feel we get our taxpayer dollars are well spent at the library.
  • The Librarians are very helpful, i once had a librarian who gave me over 16 links! This is a keeper.
  • Great service!! Please continue funding!!
  • COMPUTERS ARE GREAT, BUT SOMETIMES THE INFORMATION IS CONFUSING BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT INFORMATION INSTEAD OF IT BEING THE ONE YOU WANT.  I HAVE NOTICED THAT WHEN YOU ASK A QUESTION, YOU HAVE TO ASK NUMEROUS WAYS IN ORDER TO FIND OUT THE CORRECT ANSWER. IS THERE ANYWAY THAT A PERSON CAN ASK A CERTAIN QUESTION AND GET THE PROPER ANSWER WITHOUT ANY NONSENSE? I LOVE THE LIBRARY.  I STARTED GOING TO THE LIBRARY WHEN I WAS 6 YEARS OLD AND HAVE CONTINUED, I AM 64 AND STILL GO TO THE LIBRARY  FOR INFORMATION.  WHEN I LIVED IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, A PERSON HAD THE ABILITY TO CALL THE LIBRARY FOR INFORMATION AND THEY WOULD GIVE YOU THE ANSWER UNDER 5 MINUTES...THAT'S HOW GREAT THOSE LIBRARIANS WERE.  PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE OUR LIBRARIES, THEY ARE BENEFICIAL TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES.  THANK YOU.
  • The librarian didn't make me feel stupit asking her questions.  She was very nice.  I like it a lot that we can communicate with library personnel when the library is closed.  I hope everyone at the library and online keeps doing the wonderful work they do.  The new Cockeysville, MD library is fantastic.  I love going there to get books.
  • great service! this is just terrific to have online access of borrowing books for my new e-reader. I am disabled and especially appreciate the ease of use for my specific difficulty in getting to the library. Thank you,
  • I've used other chat features and this is by far the best.  Meaning the wait time wasn't very short and the person providing help was excellent!!  The actual chat program look and feel was ok, but not as clean as the other commercial versions.  But its about service not bells and whistles!
  • This is the first time I used this site.  I was contacting my local library, and sort of fell into it.  I'm glad I found it. I am mostly into genealogy and use the Western Maryland Room frequently. John Fry is great!  Can't wait 'till the Wash. Co. Library is put back together.

 

 

month in review

This month we:

  • wrapped up with our two interns, Paul and Lindsay and will be working to impliment their suggestions in the coming months.
  • announced our first ever Rockstar Librarian awards during the first ever MLA/DLA VR meetup.
  • held a New Staff Training on May 17th at Pratt

Additionally, Julie participated in National Library Legislative Day in DC, May 8-10th and was invited to speak to the National Archives staff on virtual reference best practices as they launch their pilot program.

2011 06 - June 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1779 questions via chat in June.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1403 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 2792 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • Great Help or directions. Appears to have saved a trip to the library or perhaps elsewhere.
     
  • I find this service extremely helpful, especially doing genealogy.  Thank you so much for your information.
     
  • Cathy was very knowledgeable and very quick to respond. I also liked that I could receive the transcript of our chat so I could go back for reference links, etc. Thank you for this great service.
     
  • answers were received quickly and efficiently. this is a great service that i had not previous known about. will use again and again.
     
  • It's so helpful if your not the best at surfing the web for information. I have used it on past research project and it gives you the easy way to get your basic information.
     
  • Librarian Lauren (PG county) was wonderful and professional for all 3 of my questions.  She made me feel very much at ease about using my library card online at AA county libraries!  Thank you very much!
     
  • Very convenient. I was skeptical that anyone would respond, but you did and very quickly.
     
  • The response time was superb.  The librarian understood my question and gave a detailed explanation of how he/she handled it.
     
  • This was my frist time using "Ask Us Now" in the past, and while I have used other forms like "AskALibrarian Chat" and often I am quickly answered and then set a side for the next person.   I must say I was fully amazed of how thorough my session was, Kelsey who was the librarian who conducted my session was very helpful.  The librarian not only helped me with my first question, but also helped me with my secondary question dealing with my paper.  Also present me with materials in the form of articles and e-books, which should be useful for my research.  This was my first online session which resembled a face to face session with a librarian as if I was in a physical library.  Thanks for all your help.
     
  • I was so impressed with the site and with the library staff that answered my question.  She asked several questions before giving me the information needed.  I will certainly use this site again, and advise my colleagues to use.
     
  • The response by your staff was timely and concise. I appreciated it very much.  Thank you for being the best library system in the world.
     
  • It makes life easy. It is very helpful.
     
  • I really appreciate the 24/7 service.  I love my library, and this is a great way to enhance their ability to serve the community.  This service was extremely helpful and gave me the answer that I was looking for in a timely and easy to understand manner.  I will be recommending this service to anyone who has questions about the library services.
     
  • Further proof that the library system is one of the things that makes this country great.  I am always discovering new services that I can't believe I get for free -- and it is WELL worth paying taxes for.  I just told my entire condominium association (102 buildings) about how great the Montgomery County library system is, although I believe the person who responded to my query was responding from another state.
     
  • The online staff was thoughtful in their conveyance and precise in helping me.

 

month in review

This month:

  • we started the weekly "Quality Tip Tuesdays" as a regular feature on the Inner Harbor
  • Julie attended the first (Maryland statewide initiative) 5 Quarters meeting on June 7th
  • Julie and Cathay participated in the QuestionPoint 247 Advisory Board meeting on June 8th.  As part of the Advisory Board, Julie and Cathay assisted in the change to policies regarding "class bombs" and "crisis calls".
  • we held our quarterly liaison meeting and training, at Carroll Community College on June 14th
  • Julie and Catherine McGuire produced a eGovernment Training Module on June 16th
  • we now have more than 1,000 followers on Twitter
  • Julie went to ALA Annual in New Orleans on June 23 through 28

2011 07 - July 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1574 questions via chat in July.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1273 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 950 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • Great service.  My contact was friendly, helpful and very quick.  Thanks!!
     
  • Terrific assistance!!!.
     
  • Jim Miller was great and very helpful.  My original quesiton was about wifi access for non-students at UMD and Jim was able to find out what transportations options I had, instructions on how to get connected on the Shady Grove campus, library hours, location, and all other additional information.  Very helpful and really nice.  I appreciated the extra help!
     
  • Librarians are cool. And thanks, guys. There is a lot to say and write, but...you know, laziness.
     
  • .What a wonderful resource! It's really great to have someone to give research direction when needed. Thanks!
     
  • any time i have a problem/question, i always go to ask us now.... and i always get a good answer. it's very easy and simple. i recommend it to a lot of my friends....
     
  • Thank you, for the experience. The Nashville librarian was a lot of help. Hats off the the library system for making getting help this easy. Have a great day!
     
  • It is a great expericence for me.
     
  • the helpdesk librarians were very helpful as I am unfamiliar with who to contact and how to obtain assistance regarding obtaining a copy of a UMD thesis- (University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music Library)
     
  • The librarian, Pam was very helpful and she went above and beyond my request and successfully ordered an audio version of the book for our library system.  I appreciated her efforts.
     
  • Zara was very helpful and answered my questions quickly and completely.
     
  • Needed an out-of-state ILL request and staff member was very helpful. He located the item and forwarded the information to my local library to follow-up with me.
     
  • I love this service it is very helpful !
     
  • Please congratulate "MD Montgomery Librarian Melinda." She was just a good help. I'm very satisfied of your staff that gets right to help you. Thank you. :)
     
  • Staff was very devoted to finding the information we needed.  We are very grateful for their service.
     
  • Thanks so very much I knew my son was not wrong you were very helpful.
     
  • This is a great feature. I'm am bummed I didn't know about it before but now that I do, I will use it often.
     
  • It is wonderful to not have to rack my brain (I'm 62 and trying to preserve it} and be able to get the information from what I imagine to be a kind as well as knowledgeable person. It was a pleasure chatting.

 

month in review

This month:

  • Our fourth intern, Lisa, finished up in July and submitted a paper on partnerships with libraries and schools.
  • Julie conducted a liaison training for UMCP's librarians Nevenka Zdravkovska and Judy Markowitz, replacing Cynthia M. Todd, who has now retired.
  • We attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting on the 21st.
  • We started our Maryland AskUsNow! Volunteer Program and our first volunteer, Lisa, is now actively providing chat service.

2011 08 - August 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1656 questions via chat in August - a jump of almost 100 questions over July's summer lull.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1369 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world- almost 100 more than July again!
  • Maryland librarians sent 891 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • "Wow--what a great service.  I got a reply to my ILL request within 1 day, and Jim D. (Annapolis, MD branch of Anne Arundel Co PL) had already ordered the book and told me how the ILL process would progress. Very impressive!"
  • "I recieved great assistance quickly!! Awesome job"
  • "I am extremely satisfied with this site. Not only am I now informed of the requirements but, I had continued to research this question myself! 
    Librairian #3:I contacted the State Police barracs yesterday before opening this e-mail and found these answers to be 100% accurate and correct...
    Thank you for replying back with me.
    This is a service that will be bookmarked, 
    Thank you again, 
    [patron signed name]"
     
  • "I am a first time user of "ask now" and am very impressed with the quickness of response time.  Theresa was the librarian who assisted me.  I teach High School History in Baltimore and needed a back issue of US News and World Reports.  Theresa was able to track down the article and email it to me.  What a great service.  Thank you."
     
  • "This made it very easy. I'm glad there is this online. The person who I spoke with was very nice and very helpful."
     
  • "Never noticed this was available. Great tool."
     
  • "I would like to recognize Cindy Hackett and the help she provided to me in researching the history of Wells Fargo & Co. in the Annapolis region. Cindy really went above and beyond in finding information for me.  I really appreciate her assistance."
     
  • "What a wonderful service...I've used it twice and received excellent direction both times...keep it up!"
     
  • "I was very happy with the result of my question! i highly reccomend Mimi from Mongomery County to be your librarian. i would also reccomend a Box for when you sign in for a librarian request name and from what area."
     
  • "I like this program, it helps me a lot with school reports. I had Sally from Charles MD, and she helped me find out what the most expensive coin is. Thanks so much Sally! :D"
     
  • "Blown away by the extraordinary good service.  Wrote late this afternoon did not expect an answer any sooner than tomorrow. Was thinking that I would not be able to borrow this book   But the response came within an hour or two, from Mrs. Jasper, with the good news that the book I wanted has already been ordered for me from marina.

    Thank you for the wonderful service"
     
  • "Wren was my librarian and was so very helpful.  Wren was prompt to reply and the information offered was accurate and very, very helpful.  Wren was courteous, in greeing, during our chat, and in closing our chat session.  Wren should be commended for proffesionalism and for knowledge of the material."
     
  • "Good day, The professional Person who assisted me today was a delight, even-though It was not directly face to face I felt so well assisted, and she had all the patience in the world. That was well appreciated."
     
  • "Chris of Allegheny County system was very helpful and courteous.  The librarian continued to pursue my question until it was satisfactorily answered.  It was a pleasure to use this service.  Thank you so much!"
     
  • "Very pleased with the service."
     
  • "It was not an easy to find answer. I had surfed the web and had been unable to find an answer. Spectacular job! Thanks!"
     
  • "The librarian, Sarah, was knowledgeable and efficient.  She quickly helped me with my problem.  I greatly appreciate her assistance."
     
  • "the lady that helped me (sally) was very nice and helped alot and gave me alot of options; she was such a huge help; ill recmend this chat to every person i know since this was a wonderful experince"
     
  • "i love librarians!!!"
     
  • "This is a wonderful service you provide!!"
     
  • "I believe this is a wonderful service offered by the Library. Thank you very much for your assistance in my research project."
     
  • "This website will help all students of all ages and that great so I support this website alot."
     
  • "The librarian was extremely courteous and helped me to find two court cases that I'd spent hours searching for, within minutes. I will absolutely use this service again and recommend it to others immediately."
     
  • "The gentleman with whom I had the session (John, from Charles County) was very helpful, and even sent me some additional information after the session had ended.
    I would definitely use this service again.
    Thanks for providing it!"
     
  • "The librarian was very polite, and was very helpful. I now understand the concept that I was having trouble with. I will use this service again."

 

month in review

  • Started our volunteer program with four volunteers who are in various stages of being trained, practiced and scheduled! They're doing very well!
  • Got approval for our FY2012 budget!! With marketing money!! WHOO! (also, wrapping up our FY11 year).
  • Continued work on the IH for hover menus and easier navigation. Julie continues to run up against ridiculous coding issues, but progress is being made. She's hopeful for a September functional date.
  • The Star Transcript Review Team (STRT) has reviewed transcripts for the second found of Rockstar Awards and should be able to make an announcement in early September.
  • Cathay participated in the QuestionPoint Virtual Users Group meeting (meeting notes are posted here).
  • August challenged libraries and staff in Maryland with an earthquake, tornado warnings, record rainfall and Hurricane Irene, causing minimal disruption to services.

2011 09 - September 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2750 questions via chat in September.  This is over 1,000 more requests than in August.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1721 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world - up from 1369 in August.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 984 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.  This is an increase of almost 100 emails from August's totals. 

 

 

customer comments

  • "This service to your patrons is OUTSTANDING!!!  How great it is to know that anytime, day or night, I can get on line and ask a question and somewhere, someone will be there to assist me and answer my questions. Tremendous!!
    Keep up this service.  IT IS WONDERFUL !!
               [Customer name removed for privacy], belonging to Carroll Co Library since 1993...."
     
  • "Very useful and easy to use."
     
  • "I was on deadline for a column that referenced the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Amy of St. Marys (County? College?) Library jumped on the 'net and wrestled the Senate vote I needed to the ground in just minutes.
    I'm tickled. I can proceed with my column confident in my data, thanks to you folks and Amy.
    I am more than satisfied, I'm thrilled. This, and getting my power back, have made my week.
    All the best to you,
    [Customer name removed for privacy]"
     
  • "What a great resource!!  Thanks."
     
  • "Excellent service! I was looking for suggestions for books and the person that I chatted with was excellent."
     
  • "I was very please with the helps i got from the librarian. They were very nice and were able to help me get the things i needed. I was worried because i couldn't find the book i want anywhere in the bookstore, but thanks to their helps i was relieved now."
     
  • "I love how good they are with answering your question as quickly as possible, and to tye best of their ability!!!"
     
  • "I am very happy to use this service and the library staff Patricia was very helpful. Infact I wish she was the one to always respond to my call. I really appreciate her services."
     
  • "John was very knowledgeable and helpful and I have great confidence that my concern will be taken care of in a timely matter.  Thank you!"
     
  • "Pat from Washington State was very helpful.  Went beyond "Yes/No" answer to give suggested alternatives to inquiry.  Thank you."
     
  • "The response was very prompt as well as satisfactory."
     
  • "Staff exceptionally helpful and remarkably thorough.     This approach is very much appreciated.   Thank you !"
     
  • "The walk through by the Librarian(Kelly) was excellent and very easy to follow. I wish i had known or saw this online chat link long time ago. It took me just 2mins to figure it out and to fine the NCLEX PN sample questions i have to struggling to locate.
    THANK YOU KELLY, u made my day."
     
  • "Considering my description of the book was very vague, she managed to find something close to my description. I was very happy that I ended up finding the correct thing."
     
  • "please continue this service :)"
     
  • "I like how connected the chatter feels with tye librarian!"
     
  • "The librarian was most helpful in assisting me; he sent me the web link to assure that I was selecting from the right internet link."
     
  • "My question to Ask-a-Librarian was answered completely and promptly  I am very satisfied with the excellent service of the library staff."
     
  • "i been searching for hours .iasked the librarain once before and got an answer right away. iwill keep asking thank you johathan b24/7"
     
  • "answered question promptly and informed"
  • "I am very appreciative to have this service available.  Hope you will be able to continue!
    [Customer name removed for privacy]
    Annapolis"
     
  • "The Librarian from Tennesse Nashville was very friendly & informative at the same time. I had a great experience!!!!!! Thank you for the info & all your help."
     
  • "Debbie assisted me with my question. She provide two potential paths to find answers to my family history question. Very helpful."
     
  • "The librarian I had was such a big help! I will surely come back as I did today!"
     
  • "I had trouble with ideas for my paper and my sister told me to come here. The library staff on this chat are very good. most likely i willl come here for more help. Thank you library!"
     
  • "This is my second time using this service after hearing about it on the radio maybe 2 years ago. My first resquest for some information was very successful even after a couple of days that I had to wait. I realize that after searching for the information that I requested had taken me a long time but EPFL found it. I'm confident that you can find my answers this time.
    This is the best resource for information in the state of Maryland!"
     
  • "i think it's a nice thing you have there"
     
  • "As a faculty member in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland I have known about this service for quite a while, but this was my first experience using it.  It was extremely helpful, in spite of the librarian having some difficulties logging off accidentally twice, which slowed down the interaction.  Overall though it was fine."
     
  • "The librarian was amazing! She was very kind, helpful and polite. She asked if i needed info that like library hours just as I was thinking to ask that. I had a really great experience and it would be great if all customer service experiences were like this. thank you!"
     
  • "Dear AACPL Friends,
    I am a writer and editor. I do most of my own research but occasionally, when stumped, I call upon the wonderful resources
    of AACPL's "Ask a Librarian." You have never failed to provide
    timely, thorough, and greatly needed assistance.
    In this case, I had written that bullets fired into the air were hazardous to human life. I was immediately rebuked for spreading
    old wives' tales. I'm convinced from your researchers' leads that
    a bullet fired straight up into the air may not return to earth at muzzle velocity, given the factors of wind and friction, but it is still
    a very bad idea. (I'm not willing totally to capitulate on my statement about "muzzle velocity" and plan to ask the next set of astronauts who go to the Moon to back me up.)
    Thanks so much for this outstanding service. You folks are legend!
    Cordially,
    [Customer name removed for privacy]"
     
  • "my librarian was FANTASTIC i relly liked her help and kindness. she is excellent at her job"
     
  • "This time around I was trying to get answers for my 8 year old. He wants quick, short answers, with pictures. Well, we sure got what we needed quickly and with pictures.
    When I have used this service, I hang in longer, and the librarians always seem happy to help me out too.
    Thank you."
     
  • "I will recommend this site to everyone i know  Len was very helpful i didn't know this site was available and he directed me to other web sites. Thank you for having  aweb site like this it was helpful to know i can get more information about books and movies from local libraries."
     
  • "I generally use the library for different projects in relation to volunteer work. Use of this service permitted me to continue working on the computer and schedule task for available time. In this context, am pleased with the service and will see you later. Thanks a million & Bye!"
     
  • "this web site was awesome. I plan on using this again! Good work"

     

 

month in review

This month:

  • AskUsNow! Liaison Meeting was held on 9/13 at Baltimore County Pubic Library, Towson Branch location. Our virtual participation option came in handy as Julie was sick and helped run the meeting from home. Cathay held down the fort in the physical meeting room. At the meeting, we set a projected timeline for Descriptive Codes to begin for Maryland's service.
  • As a trainer for LATI, Julie spoke about AUN during one of the first f2f LATI trainings for this cohort.
  • Julie attended the regular online meeting of the VR coordinators from around the country on 9/26.
  • 4 new staff were trained on 9/27 at the Perryville Branch of the Cecil County Public Library.
  • Rockstar Librarians were announced on 9/27.  Julie was able to award Nancy Smith from Harford County Public Library in person.  Mimi Bolotin from Montgomery County Public Library was a strong Honorable Mention.

2011 10 - October 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3879 questions via chat in October, an increase of 1,100 over September!
  • Maryland librarians handled 2173 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, which is about 450 more than in September.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1130  emails to customers as answers or follow-ups, up from 984 in September.

 

 

customer comments

  • "Lauren of Prince George Library was amazing! Thanks so much!"
     
  • "It is a good service. I wish I came across it sooner."
     
  • "The librarian was very responsive and supportive and went out of the way to obtain necessary articles I required for a major paper requirement.  Those of us in the University of Maryland Overseas program have limited access and the online service with one on one librarian is a God send when there are problems accessing articles.   Often we can obtain the exact reference citation or URL but for some reason can not download the article. Mr Stephen Henry was exceptional in assisting me assisted in obtaining several articles which had been requested via regular request channels but for some reason could not be obtained. I have recommend using the Inter library loan service and the librarian chat to other colleagues in the University of Maryland overseas program.  They too have found it very helpful and essential given our limited access and the nature of our assignments. Please give best regards to Mr Henry and praise for his professionalism and job well done. Sincerely, [name removed for privacy], University of Maryland Masters of  Special Education Candidate -overseas program"
  • "Love this service. So quick and convenient. Thanks for your help."
     
  • "Great service!  I appreciate the prompt response."
     
  • "The librarian answered my question great. She gave me all the lead ways to make my paper be a good paper for my Professor. I am glad that this sight exsist."
     
  • "My niece and I were very excited when we were communicating in real time to a librarian in Brooklyn, NY and awaiting assistance. My niece is a senior in high school and I'm assisting her with her research paper. Thank you."
     
  • "I think MD Caroline Librarian Ann was the best and would love to have her more often"
     
  • "I enjoyed the quick service that you provided. Thanks, [name removed for privacy]"
     
  • "I was so excited to find out what the librarian found out for me."
     
  • "thank you very much for this service, it has helped me so much!  :)"
     
  • "Please keep this service available.  It is great."
     
  • "I continue to receive prompt and effective help from the "Ask a Librarian" staff. They have never failed to find excellent material for me when I have asked. I cannot thank them enough or praise their professionalism too highly. Gratefully, [name removed for privacy]"
     
  • "The librarian on call did a great job.  Very quick and communicative."
     
  • "I am a resident student writing about Public libraries so this was a very helpful application."
     
  • "It workeed great! The Librarian who helped me was fantastic."
     
  • "The Liberian that helped me did a phenomenal job in assisting me with my needs she guided me in the right direction and I really really appreciate the help that she gave."
     
  • "The librarian that i had, was Heather from NJ, username NJ RU-SCI Heather. Now this might have been the first time i have used this service, but my past experience with live chat help was not that good until tonight. She was most pleasant, and answered my question very quickly. I had actually been on the page she had brought me to prior to me logging onto the chat and had apparently missed the information i was looking for. Upon telling her that quote on quote " i must be blind.. haha. i was on that page too" was very respectful in saying "sometimes you just need another set of eyes" instead of making a joke in return. Because of NJ RU-SCI Heather, I personally will use this service again and have changed my outlook on live chat help, in that some of the live chat help staff out there, are actually helpful and not rude nor act like that a live chat help session is a chore rather than a help session."
     
  • "Identified AskUsNow through call to Md. Library Assn in Baltimore actually.  I really appreciate the assistance and info.  Best wishes and thanks again!"
  • "sbeyer was incredibly patient and helpful.  I truly admire librarians, their resources and knowledge etc."
     
  • "joanne was very helpful i will definitly use this site again!  -[name removed for privacy] 6th grade :)"
     
  • "Mary Ann Keicher was VERY helpful.  The reason that I state that I was not satisified by the answer had nothing to do with her.  She researched and got back to me very quickly.  She contacted Heritage Quest for me and I was not satisfied with THEIR answer.  So I do not want my answer to Question #1 to reflect on her at all.  She did an excellent job!"
     
  • "Great service, very nice people, and overall extremely helpful!  I would definitely use it again."
     
  • "The librian vicki I had was very kind and nice. She helped me fast and did GREAT!!!! I hope my friends will recieve her one time also!!!"
     
  • "I learned about this service on your telephone answering service message.  I am very likely to use this a lot."
     
  • "Kai (from Pratt) went waaaay above and beyond tracking down an obscure article for me. Thanks a million!"
     
  • "I love this website. The librarian was kind and caring and I am sure I will be coming back!!!"
     
  • "This is a great way to use the library when one is at home. Very exciting. What would we do without Libraries. I hope we have them forever with very helpful people Librarians. [name removed for privacy]"
     
  • "My librarian was absolutely wonderful. She answered my question and provided other pertinent and useful info that will greatly support my daughters with their algebra homework. She was quick, efficient, personable and very professional. Thank you, thank you!! I cannot wait to delve into the websites that she provided."
     
  • "This helped A LOT!!!!  me and my friend (we are in the 6th grade) are doing research on theAztecs and this gives MORE than enough information for the subject needed, but we can use it for different subjects on the research besides the one i asked for. I will be using this website more often."
     
  • "Very happy with your service and in particular the follow up was very informative. "Thank You!"
     
  • "I am overjoyed that this service is available on a 24/7 basis, as I'm often in need of library resources very late at night."
     
  • "I ask very arcane questions, usually about oddball/obscure works of fiction and non-fiction (my area of inquiry is 17th century literature and history). The librarians who man this helpdesk are wonderful--not the least bit abashed by my anything-but-run-of-the-mill queries, and always willing to help. Kudos to them, each and every one!"

     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Cathay presented "Exemplary Chat Reference" - a workshop at SLRC's statewide staff training day on October 19, 2011.
  • Cathay went to COSLINE's conference on eServices in Vermont, October 16-18, 2011.
  • Julie met with Cathy Ashby in Garrett County to speak about them joining AUN (10/11)
  • Julie had a wimba follow-up to September's LATI session on customer service and reference (10/5)
  • Julie attended the LATI LOC meeting at the SLRC Conference (10/19)
  • 10 more AUN providers were trained at the University of Maryland, College Park (10/25)
     

2011 11 - November 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3441 questions via chat in November, just 311 less than this time last year.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1920 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world. Up 200 from September 2011.
  • Maryland librarians submitted 1030 emails to customers as answers or follow-ups.

 

 

customer comments

  • "You Nailed it!"
     
  • "I used this service after hours and was routed to a librarian external to my home campus. She did her best to help, and provided me with the best contact info at my institution's library to solve the problem. In addition, my local, on-campus librarian monitored the chat and e-mailed me proactively with the answer this morning. This is a very helpful service in and of itself, and the active monitoring of the chats by the home-institution librarians is extraordinarily helpful."
     
  • "SLRC Librarian Lisa was very helpful, direct, to the point, professional, competent, helpful, and as friendly as a chat box allows.  After clicking on CHAT, I didn't know what to do next, so I perused the page and then filled in the information that I thought would be needed for the chat.  I was greeted relatively quickly and began the transaction.  I knew what I was looking, so when I was asked title and year of the article, I was able to respond.  Librarian Lisa also responded quickly.  THIS SERVICE IS GREAT!!!  Now, I don't have to pay $30 to an online site of documents.  I will pick up the article on my way home from work.  Thank you."
  • "What an amazing resource for someone who doesn't have the know all to find the resources to questions asked. This is a great system and thank-you."
     
  • "This is a great idea! It really helped me and if I ever need help agian I know where to come."
     
  • "The librarian did an excellent job locating the resources that would help me with a high school needlecraft assignment."
     
  • "Thank you for helping me that's all I can say!"
     
  • "the man i worked with gave me all the answers i needed for my wolf project for school"
     
  • "this was a great expirince for me. it helped alot with my ss status report 2."
     
  • "It was very fast easy and quick i loved it"
     
  • "This is a wonderful service!"
     
  • "Annette was great she felt like she was my favorite teacher always explaining the best in my grade level."
     
  • "this is always my first choice if i need help"
     
  • "My librarian was Saima from Houston, and she provided fast and great answers that allowed me to find more information by showing me a list of Online databases for my use."
     
  • "I will recommend this site to others."
     
  • "my helper found me everything i needed and she found them very fast with great service.i will always use this site to find all my answers for things like this!!!"
     
  • "Brooke was very receptive to my needs and I thank her."
     
  • "thanks sara help me find more book information and support questions solution. good service good librarian. I really appreciate."
     
  • "I will definetly reccomend it to  my friends! SOOOOOOO easy! I like how you can type your question and-POW you have help!"
  • "The librarian I spoke with was very helpful. If I have a question, I'll be sure to use this again."
     
  • "Thank you again, for your professional expertise. It was a great help, after many frustrating attempts with local librarians."
     
  • "He was very nice and gave me the information I wanted"
     
  • "Make "Ask Us" now logo prominent of home page. Took me some time to find the chat. If my friend did not mention that HCPL had chat services I would never have known. Overall, I had an excellent experience."
     
  • "Very nice. Very appreciated for this sort of service. Thank You."
     
  • "thank you for trying  i did learn  how to used the system you was a big help"
     
  • "While I do not have my answer yet, the librarian was very eager to help and willing to continue reasearching to provide me the answer. Great service!"
     
  • "She gave me exactly what I needed to top off my science project! I asked and received very quick! Thanks Ms. Hannah!"
     
  • "Many thanks for 'expert' help. It was a godsend to find you. Your leads are informative and precise. Many Thanks."
     
  • "This service is great and the librarian who helped me was veyr helpful!"
     
  • "I WILL BE USING THIS SERVICE AGAIN"
     
  • "I have used this many times and always find out just exactly what I need.  Thank you so much for continuing this service to the community.  It is wonderful.  I love librarian "Mimi"!"
     
  • "I appreciate having this service and the fast and friendly replies to my questions. It saves so much time!"
     
  • "This service is outstanding. A little more than 24 hours after I first contacted AskUsNow (on a Sunday) I have my answer from the Enoch Pratt library in Baltimore, to whom my original contact in New Jersey forwarded the problem. If there was a rating higher than "Excellent" I would employ it. My sincere thanks to both the librarians who worked on my question."
     
  • "My librarian was pretty helpful giving the specificity of my question. I was also impressed that they offered to email my branch for me with my question. Very good interaction!"

     

 

month in review

This month:

  • We brought on two new partners this month! Frostburg State University and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration!
  • On Sunday, November 6th, Julie celebrated five years with AskUsNow!.
  • Julie attended the Tri-County summit (Western Maryland) on 11/11 and met with Allegany College liaison Bob Baldwin while in the area.
  • 8 new providers were trained at a New Staff Training in West County (AACPL) on 11/15.
  • Suzie Kuch started as the Charles County liaison in place of Cindy Thornley
  • The Inner Harbor got an upgrade with new hover menus and some lightly redesigned pages.
  • Cathay attended the monthly virtual meeting of the VR coordinators on November 29.
     

2011 12 - December 2011 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3150 questions via chat in December, just 270 less than this time last year.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1765 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world. Up 45 from September 2011.
  • Maryland librarians sent 834 emails to customers

 

 

customer comments

  • "Great! Amazing!"
     
  • "This libarian was very helpful and she was one of the best i have ever has on this website i htank you very much for your service"
     
  • "Thanks to Katie my libraian I feel confident in writting and presenting a well researched paper on Nicaraguan folklore. I couldnt be more appreciative of the services provided. :)"
  • "Shannon was a great help.  She answered my questions thoroughly and gave me the answers I needed.  I will definitely come back and use this service again."
     
  • "my librarian was so nice, and very helpful."
     
  • "Love it, I know where to go when I need help. Thanks for who ever created Ask Now."
     
  • "Librarian Sharyl was very helpful in helping me find the information I needed, plus she gave me extra help with questions not related to the search, such as helping me how to use the databases and how to look for reliable sources."
     
  • "A great service and amazing to get help from the library even though I was thousands of miles away from my home library!"
     
  • "You were the most helpful online library I have ever had in my 6 years of using this service. In the past I came across alot of librarians that did not put any effort or willingness in helping."
     
  • "this is a good site and i will recomend it"
     
  • "I love this service. Thank you so much! The librarians are so helpful!"
     
  • "Great service.  Thank you so much."
     
  • "it was nice to receive a timely answer !"
     
  • "This is a great service.  Way to go!"
     
  • "This service and the staff of library is very very Excellent, and I am very satisfied for your services. Regards for all, Abdullah Al Asmari, Imam University Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia"
     
  • "The liberian was timely answering, and very effective with the information that I needed."
     
  • "This is a great tool! My question was answered in less than a minute and I am very happy with this service and the librarians kindness!"
     
  • "Professiona, polite, and extremely helpful."
     
  • "it was pretty well done. i don't think he really understood what i was saying. the last website ind of helped but i will just keep looking. you guys have very well searching and i thank you for your time. goodbye"
  • "Reply was very quick and informative.  Nice feature to have."
     
  • "The librarians are very helpful and nice!"
     
  • "Great service and quick responses with someone who actually knew what they were talking about!"
     
  • "Quick response and answered my question. Great service and the rep was very helpful."
     
  • "Fast, thorough response.  Thanks!"
     
  • "The service was quick and very helpful for me and the Librarian Patricia M was excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • eight staff members at new partner NOAA were given a brief overview of AUN in Silver Spring on Dec 8th
  • eight new providers were trained at new partner Frostburg University in Frostburg on Dec9th
  • three new providers were trained at the Abingdon Branch, Harford County PL on the 12th
  • Anne Arundel County hosted the December liaison meeting at their Crofton Branch on the13th where new projects for FY12 were discussed
  • Julie attended the Statewide Marketing meeting in Columbia on Dec 14th where she alerted the team to some new marketing initiatives coming down the pike and solicited feedback
  • we removed the "law button" from asksunow.info on dec 19th to help decrease the # of non-law related questions the Maryland State Law Library was receiving. as a nod to some of our upcoming marketing initiatives, an "add this" block was added for easier sharing of askusnow.info
  • We launched our holiday resource list on the 22nd
  • December 24th and 25th were AskUsNow! holidays where if libraries were closed, they didn't have to monitor the service

2012 01 - January 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3383 questions via chat in January, up from 2753 a year ago!
  • Maryland librarians handled 1976 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, almost 200 more than in December 2011!
  • Maryland librarians sent 1181 emails to customers, increased from 834 in December, 2011.
     
  • We received over 300 surveys in January!

 

 

customer comments

  • "Really nice and very helpful!"
     
  • "The Librarian I had was very very nice. She helped me greatly without attitude, and had a positive attitude the entire time!"
     
  • "I have to go thru the sites that were located, and from there I can move forward. I would not hesitate to use this service if I hit an impasse. Thank you very much."
  • "very quick and thoughtful to my issue"
     
  • "Thank you for the online service. I enjoy this service."
     
  • "this is a great way to have questions answered! Thanks for providing this option. :)"
     
  • "Librarian Patty was very helpful and I got the info that I needed.  This is a great service!"
     
  • "librarian was very respect to me and very kind"
     
  • "It was a great help.  She gave me several suggestions to help me find what I'm looking for, both locally and nationaly"
     
  • "Thanks so much for the very quick response.  It really helped and saved me money!"
     
  • "works every time!"
     
  • "Melinda, the librarian I worked with, was kind and personable over the Internet. She helped me get closer to finding the book I'm looking for. I was VERY glad to use this service."
     
  • "I am recently unemployed using the great AA Co classes and while completeling an Excel Course with Margaret Radford, was introduced to aacpl web.  It is terrific.  Also, since I couldn't find my library card, I figured it was a great time to use all of the resources available.  Thank you for making that possible!"
     
  • "I just love this service.To me it is amazing!It is so helpful and I love the chat line even more than emailing my  local branch where I  have to wait for an answer. This is a wonderful service.Thank you"
     
  • "I HAVE BEEN VERY HAPPY WITH THE ASSISTANCE FROM YOUR LIBRARY TEAM, THEY ARE VERY CAPABLE, INTELLIGENT, AND HELPFUL IN EVERY WAY."
     
  • "Rally an excellent service.  Good investment of tax $$$.  Although Librarian did not solve my problem/question, it was not for lack of trying.   Excellent experience."
     
  • "I was very happy with the results that Mrs. Lisa gave me."
     
  • "Jen was very helpful! she gave me a website with alot of info and i thank her! I will most likely use this again. Thank you for your servaces!"
     
  • "Susie was great and I really appreciate this service.  Thank you!!!!!!"
  • "Very helpful Trish even gave me websites to look for as well as search words to help me find more information and scholarly sources."
     
  • "My AACPL librarian, Jaime, was fantastic!  Found just what I was looking for.  This is a great service!"
     
  • "The "Ask Us Now" feature is a great idea, though the randomness of the assignment can be a bit tricky.  For instance, the librarian I was first connected with was from a NY library, and did not have access to the same databases I did, so it was tough to show her precisely what I was investigating.  All in all, though, quite helpful."
     
  • "I've used "Ask a Librarian" quite a few times and have always received a prompt and thorough response."
     
  • "Thanks.  I just wish I knew about this service earlier.  But very thankful for using this service."
     
  • "This was a difficult question about accessing Overdrive and we worked out getting to the info I needed.  Thank you."
     
  • "Great help.  I wouldn't have needed the chat if I had been able to find what I wanted (donations) on the website.  Librarian sent a link to the donations (getting involve) page."
     
  • "Amy was super helpful. She gave me the links I needed and saved me a trip to the library. This is really a great service and I will definately use it again."
     
  • "Thank you for this excellent service, and thank you to Sophia in Harford for her quick correspondence. I'll be sure to let my family know about this great resource!"
     
  • "Nikki was the librarian that I chatted with.  This was my first experience using this feature and I must say, I was very pleased with the knowledge and reults!  Thank You!"
     
  • "I love having this service available.  Thanks!"
     
  • "They did a very good job to answer my question quickly."
     
  • "Librarians rock!"
     
  • "This should be a greatly appreciated service for many people.  I love being able to look up books through the online service, and obviously my misspelling of Ford Madox Ford made me think the AAPL didn't have any of his works (I was looking for Parade's End).  Now I know 1. Pay attention to how I type to spell correctly; and 2. I can go online to hold another book!"
     
  • "I am glad my librarian brought this to my attention.  I was unaware of this site and will most surely be back.  I have a kindergartener with questions galore, and parenting challenges that I am always looking for information on.  It was a big help.  Thank you for creating askusnow!"
     
  • "It was pretty frustrating trying to get through the initial phase of searching for a DVD series and only stumbled on the Interactive Librarian by accident.  Sometimes you just dumb luck into something good."
     
  • "I had seen the web site listed on the county library site but had never tried it.  Now, because of the Nook contest, I have visited and will come back should the internet fail me in satisfying my curiosity.  It's a great service."
     
  • "Pat C was prompt and courteous in responding to my question.  I appreciated her referring me to the needed web site information source and her  explanation as regards why the exact information being requested would be unavailable there.  But I could proceed  therefrom.  Thanks for the wonderful services."
     
  • "fantastic service, thanks"
     
  • "thanks for putting this link together it will help everyone who's looking for information and more important a reach out for those smaller towns"
     
  • "this is a very usefull tool because i have two children under that age 10 and have to time to read and have them. is there an app for this also"
     
  • "I love the online 24/7 availability of the library service.  I use this service at least once every two weeks.  My library experiences have been very rewarding.  Thank you for a wonderful service to Maryland residents."
     
  • "This was a big help! Thank you!"
     
  • "Chat is a very good medium to use for libraries. The librarian who answered my request was very quick. I'm glad you have this service and will be thinking about using it more."
     
  • "Your response was prompt and informative.  Many thanks."
     
  • "The staff is awesome and very nive and they helped me figure out a problem!"
     
  • "I had Les' and she was astonishingly helpful in helping me find a resource, even though it took a long time, and was very friendly!"
     
  • "John was very quick to answer my questions and also polite.  Thank you for providing this service."

     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Cathay attended the Collaborative Virtual Reference meeting on January 10 and learned more about what other states are using for their VR services.
  • AACPL held a NOOK contest to promote AskUsNow! and was wildly successful
  • We got started sorting out our project teams which will meet and plan in Feb and March. We have good groups for our seven projects and should have more to report next month.

2012 02 - February 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3164 questions via chat in February.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1909 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 891 emails to customers

 

 

customer comments

  • "Beth from Washinton County was very helpful and I think she has a sunny personality."
     
  • "I was able to receive answers to my questions in less than 5 minutes. I was provided with GREAT ASSISTANCE...this is an wonderful resource for an educator like myself!!! :)"
     
  • "This is a very convenient website. nuff sed."
  • "Person I chatted with was very friendly and nice in addition to being informative."
     
  • "You were quick and found the document I was looking for.  THANK YOU : )"
     
  • "ccccccccooooooooooollllllllll"
     
  • "she was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     
  • "This is an awesome service."
     
  • "Good images. I like them. Have a good day!!!!"
     
  • "I was unable to find the answer to my question and would not have done so without the help of this service and a very resourceful person on the other end. The county library is a great and welcomed resource. Keep up the excellent work."
     
  • "This was a wonderful experience.  The librarian that helped me was very helpful.  She even went as far as to send a message to my local library request in gore help for me via email."
     
  • "Pat C, the person who came online to help me, seemed to know immediately what database to access for what I need. Very helpful. Thanks!"
     
  • "I love that there is this chat feature.  I was expecting to chat with a librarian at my university library, though; I didn't realize that librarians from all over the State would be available.  Regardless, Sandy answered my question and got me the info I need.  Thank you!"
     
  • "Hi Library Friends,  that's how I think of you.  You help me visit far away places and help me participate in adventures, mysteries, history and scifi.  I'm retired and in addition to my travels, some mild intertest in genealogy and music of the last century's first 50 or 60 years I spend most of my time reading.  I thank the Heavens Above for the libraries in AA County.  Your staff is wonderful.  So courteous and ready to assist.  Thank you for all you add to the lives of folks in our county and community"
     
  • "I can't succeed without this service(:"
     
  • "Jim Miller was EXTREMELY helpful. Went way above and beyond!"
     
  • "Exactly the information I was looking for and it was provided in a very timely manner as requested.  It saved me a trip to the library and since there isn't a library in my town (Olney)  this was extremely helpful.  Thank you very much!!"
     
  • "I'm so happy to be able to use this resource!"
     
  • "Mandy was extremely helpful and had many resources for me right off the bat. She suggested I contact a librarian specializing in History for my topic and provided me with her e-mail address and office hours. I look forward to using this service again and am grateful that Salisbury offers this to their students."
  • "Excellent, quick resolution to problem. Thank you,"
     
  • "John was awesome he was very helpful and guideed me towards the right answers, in m y opinion he needs a raise. Thanks for the help!!"
     
  • "I was really satisfied with my answers! I was having a hard time finding information, and then my teacher told me about this, and then I got all the information I needed in less than 20 minutes! I am definentely using this service again! Thank you for the help!"
     
  • "I was just assisted by a librarian named Les, who was so helpful and provided exactly what I needed.  He also took the time to recommend search terms so that I can find additional information for further reading. I have never used chat reference before, and this was a great experience!"
     
  • "The librarian, Judy, drilled down to find my answer and spent time to explain how."
     
  • "The person who answered me did a fantastic job!"
     
  • "Wonderfully helpful librarian, even sent me active links that I had not been able to library resources I had not been able access myself, in addition to continuing to research in order to get me more sources later today. COuld not be better!!!!!"
     
  • "My frineds and I have only used this service twice but are extremley satisfied and pleased with the results. The librarians were easily understandable, gave great resource link and were very kind/patient."
     
  • "The speed at which the answers came and the chat began amazed me.  And the professionalism and the quality of information was terrific.  I will use it again and will recommend it to my friends."
     
  • "i like how the libraians are nice and friendly
    Also they are fast at finding reasearch"
     
  • "My question involved the surname "Thrope". The librarian gave me info which is correct, but the name she used was "Thorpe". I requested a double-check of the source document to check the spelling. The librarian verified "Thorpe" in the document, even though the true spelling, in this particular instance, should have been "Thrope". It turns out that the name was misspelled in the source. The librarian showed a scan of the relevant two pages so that I could see the spelling error in the source document. The librarian's extra effort is greatly appreciated, and is truly excellent service."
     
  • "Great service!  And very fast answer to my question."
     
  • "The help that I got was very valuable. This is not my first time, but ever since the beginning, I found the librarians very helpful and every chat session so useful to what I needed at the time. I will definitely use this site again. Thank you so much for the wonderful work."
     
  • "this is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     
  • "the librarian found an article that was EXACTLY what i needed. i don't know how she did it, but it was awesome!"
     
  • "Thanks for this wonderful means of assistance.."
     
  • "The staff is very nice and answers all my questions. Thank you!"
     
  • "Sandy, the librarian was very helpful.  I know that finding out about Haitian culture in the DC area is scarce, but I wanted to know what info she could give.  I was satisfied with the info she gave me and will follow up on it.  Thanks."
     
  • "I really like this service. I will definitely use it again. Thank you."
     
  • "What a WONDERFUL service....our taxes at work!!!  :-)"

2012 03 - March 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2552 questions via chat in March.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1640 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 941 emails to customers, up from 891 in February.

 

 

customer comments

  • " I like how the librains really try hard to find the the answer to the question given to them!"
     
  • "David was extremely detailed and made sure I found everything I was looking for with a positive and polite attitude."
     
  • "The librarian was very helpful. I appreciate all of her assistance."
  • "Tara found me some great info!"
     
  • "Sarah (from California) was great! I really enjoyed the experience! Very informative and helpful."
     
  • "Thank you. It was quick and on target."
     
  • "They gave me plenty of information for my project."
     
  • "When I posted my question, I got a librarian from Prince George's County who was not familiar with AA County's website - but did check for me.  Then got my e-mail address and got someone from AA County to send me an answer.  Super service.  Thanks"
     
  • "Thank you!  This was particularly helpful because I needed assistance outside the library's hours of operation."
     
  • "The librarian was very helpful."
     
  • "Very helpful....solved my problem."
     
  • "Thank you for a great service to help locate information.  Altho I didn't receive an answer yet, I got more info of where to further my search."
     
  • "I like how the librarian  let me work on the website at my own before going on"
     
  • "As a student in a highly advanced high school program, I found this helpful in conducting efficient, yet still reliable, background research for a major chemistry project.  I am so glad that this is available 24/7."
     
  • "Thank you to all who helped in our quest  for an answer.  I appreciate this service!"
     
  • "Very polite and knowledgeable staff! Thank you!"
     
  • "she was very quick and gave me a lot of websites for the information i needed. she gave me a lot more then i asked and i was pleased :)"
     
  • "I have ms and eye problems and do not drive.  Diego was WONDERFUL!! I would use this service again!!"
     
  • "Prompt and helpful; I love love love our library system and this service is just one more reason why. Thank you!"
  • "Great service for a Sunday morning. Thank you."
     
  • "The servcie was very easy to use.  Jim from Baltimore County was  responsive and knew exactly what I was looking for.  He was very friendly and knowledgeable.  I was impressed with the service and would definitely use again."
     
  • "The librarian was very helpful. I am down to the wire and websites that she provided helped a great deal..Thanks so much for this service"
     
  • "I was impressed by how fast I got the info.  Minutes!  Great job."
     
  • "thank you thank you thank you"
     
  • "She found exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!"
     
  • "I had MD Caroline Librarian Ann for a reference librarian, and she was wonderful! My search was very unique and she gave me several resources that I think are perfect for what I am looking for.  She was a pleasure to work with!"
     
  • "The librarian was very knowledgeable and sharp. The first source that he provided led me to the exact info that I was looking for and he provided additional leads equally useful for my research.
    I will definitely use this service again."
     
  • "Wonderful! I got everything that I needed and more!"
     
  • "This is great, I really enjoyed using this system.
    Thanks."
     
  • "Nikki from Michgian went above and beyond to help me find information on my schools library website. I am so gratful for her help. At this hour no one is online from my school to help me get the information. This service is greatly appreciated, I dont think I would have made it through these last two years with out this service thank you"
     
  • "I have always been hesitant to use this, but now that I have, and seen how easy it is to use, I will likely use it again in the future.
    Thank you."
     
  • "One of the wonders of state government, the public library system. May we the people always have access to a public library system!"
     
  • "My librarian was excellent... She went above and beyond the duty and she found what i was looking for."
     
  • "I have chatted with my local library. Having a network of libraries available at all times is a wonderful convenience. Having a knowledgeable person available makes life so much easier."
     
  • "Really appreciated the clarifying follow-up: although I felt pretty solid on the answers to my questions, my librarian sent me two separate emails just to be sure that I felt confident about the information. As a patron I felt highly valued and well-informed by my librarian!"
     
  • "The library staff was extremely helpful in helping me find what i needed, I'm definitley using it again :) !!!"
     
  • "The libirian quickly found me information pertaining to my subject and it was great reliable information."
     
  • "I love askusnow and will always use it when I need some help!"
     
  • "it was very quick i didnt have to wait at all and they explained it really well"
     
  • "This is a great service, very helpful with such a quick response time. Will use it again. Pam was very informative. Thanks for the help.:-)"
     
  • "I had Librarian 20:04:07]: Librarian 'Mary at Central Rappahannock Reg Lib in Virginia'  as the person who helped me.  She was superb!  Nice job all around! Thank you, thank you, thank you."
     
  • "Quick and easy way to get questions answered!!"
     
  • "Love this service--the quality and timeliness of the answers are superb.  Keep up the good work!  Thanks."
     
  • "Jeremy was very helpful with a very broad question and not only gave me some of the statistics I asked for but helped guide me toward where I can go next on my own."
     
  • "Delighted to have this service; many thanks."
     
  • "I love the services rendered here. I love that a libarian is here 24/7 to help address our needs."
     
  • "This is a really good website to find facts feast. there staff is great  and i dont have to wait very long. the staff is nice and i will always use this site to find out questions i have"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Cathay attended a QuestionPoint webinar on March 6, first in the "Best Practices in Virtual Reference" series, called "Keeping the Lights On."
  • Julie and Cathay attended PLA in Philadelphia, March 15-17, 2012.
  • We got started sorting out our seven committee projects and almost every committee met in March.

2012 04 - April 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2437 questions via chat in April.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1430 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 913 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments

  • "First time I ever used the service and what a pleasant experience. I saw the link on the hcplonline web page and decided to try it since I had a simple question. Naomi' from Pratt joined the chat and had an answer for me in less than one minute. A GREAT SERVICE! Thank you Naomi' and all library personnel for making the system so easy to use.
    Best regards, [signed name]"
     
  • "Wonderful service; many thanks"
     
  • "Everyone is AWESOME!!!!!!"
  • "Since I never used this service before, it was great getting my question answered in such a short time and in such an efficient manner.  Thank you."
     
  • "Thank you so much for providing this as a source to help people research and learn about new things"
     
  • "I also wanted to know how much the out of state fee for the library card is, but I think it might be in the Email followup Abby said she's send me.  She is Great!  Thank you so much for this reference service.  It is a rare and wonderful thing you are doing."
     
  • "The librarian was extremely expedient in answering and very resourceful!!"
     
  • "I was pleasantly surprised to read about the service on the PG County Library Website. Additionally, I was impressed that it worked as stated and that I received the help I was looking for.  Excellent!!!"
     
  • "Fast and friendly service! A+++!"
     
  • "his is a wonderful service. Very efficient and pleasant.  Thank you."
     
  • "I am greatful for the staff member that helped me today."
     
  • "i love this website the best ever plz do [not] end this"
     
  • "Although I did not get an answer, I was referred to dictionary helps and the MD legal hotline.  I had a legal question and the librarian was honest about not being allowed to give a legal opinion. Excellent service and response, nonetheless
    Thank-you"
     
  • "Amy was great. She gave many links for my essay. I know i will need this service later tonight I sure hope I get her. She was great"
     
  • "Very useful and helpful !
    I guess the librarian is a nice person with kindness."
     
  • "I AM PLEASED TO NOW KNOW SUCH A SITE EXISTS."
     
  • "Trish was extremely prompt in her response and went out of her way to help. I appreciated it greatly!"
     
  • "Quick and easy way to get the info I needed."
     
  • "The library staff was so helpful! They helped me find out so much stuff! It was great! i also think you should give sharyl should get a raise for all of the helpful info!"
  • "24/7 is very practical and appreciated. thx"
     
  • "It is always quick and helpful....
    Yea Libraries and technology.... oh and librarians!"
     
  • "Great, quick service. Thank you."
     
  • "I found the librarian to be very knowable, professional and very helpful and yes I would recommend this service to all of my coluges."
     
  • "Keep this site up! Thank you"
     
  • "My Librian Jenifer was the best Librian I have ever had and ive been using this site for 4 years Ive never filled out a survey before But i just had to because she was the best"
     
  • "I was looking for access to a certain database or one similar to it --I'm a student at a rather large university-- so I thought MCPL might have similar resources.  Overall she did the best to help provide a soultion.  The chat function is very efficient and easy to use. Good Job MCPL."
     
  • "Your help will really make it easier for me to do my project.  Thank you very much!"
     
  • "ery quick and helpful response, i was able to figure out my issue and get to my book!  thanks!"
     
  • "Sara was awesome! This is a great tool that I will use again"
     
  • "Wonderful resource, and I would absolutely use it again.
    Pat and Trish were both attentive and efficient."
     
  • "Michael Stevens took the extra effort to find the answer to my question even though initially he could not help me.  I was happily surprised to see another email this morning from him giving me the answer I needed.  Thank you very much, Michael.  Your efforts are appreciated.  To management- he is an asset to the wonderful county library system."
     
  • "a great help and a boost on getting started with my paper"
     
  • "I accidentally threw away my school report and had to rewrite it in one night. The librarian that helped me gave me reliable websites and information making it easy to do this. THANKS SO MUCH! :D"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Julie and Cathay attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting on April 5th.
  • Cathay organized a class visit with the help of the school librarian and local library, with a Maryland high school in Cecil County on April 17.
  • AskUsNow! was represented at Maryland Day on Saturday, April 28th.  Volunteers from around Maryland participated in getting the word out about our VR service.

2012 05 - May 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2515 questions via chat in May, up from April.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1547 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, which is over 100 more than in April.
  • Maryland librarians sent 802 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments

  • "As soon as the librarian pointed out my  search error, I went back into ebooks and found the book I wanted...placed it on hold without a problem."
     
  • "Easy to access and extremely helpful!"
     
  • "I believe this is a very helpful tool.  I found it very easy to use as I am not a computer expert.  It will keep calls to a minimum to the librarian knowing how busy they are helping people on site."
  • "Brilliance, just as always!"
     
  • "This is actually my second time using this service. I was quite satified with the service Susann provided for me, she was very knowledgeable courteous and attentive. Overall her customer service organizational skills are excellent. Thank you for providing great service."
     
  • "Just outstanding.  Corrected the erroeoue cite that was given by 3d party.  One of the best answers so far,  Quick right to the point."
     
  • "Terrific diligence in trying to help me find the specific item I sought.  I am very satisfied plus I will be able to get my item."
     
  • "very useful-ish"
     
  • "i think that this program is very helpful"
     
  • "This is such a nice service.  So happy to have it when I need it."
     
  • "As always, the results of my inquiry came fast & were of much help. Keep up the good work@--- Proffessor Emeritus, UMCP"
     
  • "This is an excellent tool for someone, such as myself, that's physically impaired and talking at great lenghts becomes challenging & laborous. I often find myself getting frustrated & cranky while talking because of the difficulty it poses on my airway. Typing is the opposite, it gives me freedom where I would otherwise be challenged. Thank you for offering a chat line. The bank I use also has this feature for their customer service. I can't tell you how appreciative it is for anyone that has breathing issues. Many thanks again!"
     
  • "it's a great help for when your busy and can't find something to know that there is someone who will help and is just a few clicks away  ;)"
     
  • "i like this program very much and i don't know if you people read this but i would like to give a special shout out to _____EVA_____ from St.Mary's she helped me alot today and i have taken alot of her time sigining off. Sincerely, [name removed] from old mill middle school south 7th grade"
     
  • "A Fabulous service!"
     
  • "When my son needs help with research, I always come to the website to ask for help.."
     
  • "They are very helpful for student"
     
  • "Very, very helpful and appreciated!   Thanks!"
     
  • "Karen was very friendly and polite. She was also very speedy with finding my answer"
  • "this is awesome i will do it again when ever i have a question :)"
     
  • "Quick response and everything was taken care of for me.  Also was happy to see that the periodical shelves have filled up again.  The quiet room with the periodicals looks like a great place to get out of the house once in a while for a change of scenery and do some light reading and relaxing.
    Heritage Harbour Resident"
     
  • "I don't use this service very often, generally when I am completely stumped, but your team always comes through for me.  I am always amazed at what you find and the depth of the resources.  I've recommended this service to many people."
     
  • "Was pleasantly surprised to get a local librarian.  This is a great service and I appreciated his help.  Thank you!"
     
  • "Patrick was a very nice librarian who gave me much more than enough information on my topic/subject. I LOVE ASKUSNOW.COM!!!!!!!"
     
  • "I was pleasantly surprised about how quickly the librarian responded to my initial query!"
     
  • "Outstanding work and very timely. Thank you very much."
     
  • "exceptionally quick and answered me with precise information that went above and beyond what i expected!"
     
  • "YOU GUY HELPED ME A LOT THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!!!<3 :)"
     
  • "i Realy apreciate this the only thing i would say to make better is for all the libaries in maryland to no wht types of things are going on so i can get things quicker but uther wise i am amazingly satisfied.  Thank you soooo much"
     
  • "A wonderful service!"
     
  • "The librarian found the answer to my question very quickly even though she was in a  totally different area from where I live.  Very convient!"
     
  • "y'all did a good job !"
     
  • "Wonderful service.  And very prompt and helpful reply from the staff.  Very impressed and satisfied."
     
  • "I am thinking of starting a non profit Ms. Cindy is very encouraging!! Thank you."
     
  • "Helper (jim) was very nice :D and friendly"
     
  • "The librarian was very patient in answering my portable computer questions."
     
  • "FAST, FRIENDLY, EFFICIENT!  THANK YOU!"
     
  • "Awesome service. Saves a TON of time!! Thank you!"
     
  • "I learned about this services from the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber.  My library was Erin, who was extremely helpful."
     
  • "Nashville Pl Dl encouraged me to think about the homework that I had already done. I think that I am a little bit more prepared to find a good estate/trust lawyer. Thank you."
     
  • "I love this service. There is so much info provided in the response to my questions and I appreciate the fast response. Thank you."
     
  • "Sara did a wonderful job. She was efficient and gave me very relevant information. Thanks again!"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • MLA/DLA Joint Conference was on May 9-11, in Ocean City.
    • AskUsNow!'s volunteer program was represented through the Library Volunteer Workshop. Cathay both coordinated and presented in this workshop.
    • Julie presented "Yar! Thar be Sharks About" (on rude customers and online civility), "Google + or Google Minus" (on the features, ways to use it and issues around Google+), "Steal these Ideas: 11 Free marketing strategies to try today" (on marketing), and "The Ties that Bind" (on social media). She also coordinated Catherine McGuire's presentation of "Ready Reference Law" - a repeat of the program we've done online a few times) and participated in and co-coordinated Battledecks.
  • New Staff Training was held at BCPL (North Point Branch) on May 22. 8 new librarians were trained.
  • Cathay took over the coordination of two project teams: Social Media Marketing & Sustainable School Partnerships

2012 06 - June 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1451 questions via chat in June, our summer lull has begun!
  • Maryland librarians handled 1125 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 721 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments

  • "This is the first time I have used this services, so I really wonder at first.(Furthermore, I'm korean, I couldn't use english not well.)
    However, the answer's speed, quantity, quality are all good!! very easy and helpful to me. Thank you!"
     
  • "My Librarian was courteous, very very helpful, and patient.  I felt comfortable asking questions and look forward to having a need and a reason to chat again"
     
  • "Awesome, loved this!  So helpful!"
  • "I like that this service is 24/7.....for when I have research papers....i can always check in to find references....as well as locate government data."
     
  • "Andrea was really nice to "chat" with and answered all my questions fully. She directed me to websites which look very helpful to me and was very quick with her responses."
     
  • "I am so delighted that I found "Ask us Now....it is easy to use and very helpful.  Thank you, [patron signed name]"
     
  • "I got a Great answer and help doc from Carolyn thanks!"
     
  • "Thank you for this great service!"
     
  • "Mr Dale was very patient in helping me learn about special needs pooled trusts."
     
  • "i love this site"
     
  • "so quick and precise."
     
  • "Laura Lieberman answered my question very quickly, found the missing materials I asked about, and was very kind and professional.  I can't say 'Thank you!' enough."
     
  • "The librarian I chated with was very helpful and made sure I got the information I needed"
     
  • "Matt was great! He was quick and made very helpful suggestions! I will be using this service again! Thank you again!!!"
     
  • "led me to resources that i didn't know were available on my library's website"
     
  • "I use this all the time, and I absolutely love it!"
     
  • "This was great.  Really helped me figure something out while I was on the road."
     
  • "Being a Sr Citizen I am grateful"
     
  • "much more effective than trying to resolve questions via email"
  • "I really liked the ease of use of this chat session and I thought the librarian, Gillian, was very helpful!"
     
  • "Great and Excellent service was provided by the Librarian Jennifer"
     
  • "This is the first time that I have used the library system online (ebooks) and it has been a very good experience."
     
  • "I really appreciated the time Cathay spent with me and the level of detail she shared with me. This is a great service."
     
  • "Zara was very helpful in suggesting datebases for me to use!"
     
  • "I hope I don't become a big pest. This service is amazing. Wow."
     
  • "The online librarians were very attentive, prompt, courteous and helpful and I appreciate it.  Thank you."
     
  • "The librarian referred me to the Towson Branch because she was from New York and I was seeking census data.  Mr.Michael Stevens tracked down most of the information that I had requested....for the Census didn't track some of the information.......I am very pleased with your help and assistance."
     
  • "Outstanding service !"
     
  • "I enjoyed this thank you I didn't think that there were any sites without popups."
     
  • "I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of service and the promptness of the reply.  This is a great service.  I will certainly bookmark and recommend this site."
     
  • "This is an efficient, useful service!"
     
  • "i just love to come to your libary i9t makes me feel at home"
     
  • "We have a wonderful library system!!!!"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Sustainable School Partnerships Committee has met to collaborate on the development of a toolkit for outreach to schools, to be completed by mid-August.
  • Social Media Committee is scheduling a time to meet.  Prior information compiled by interns is being reviewed.
  • Julie presented "Civility and Anonymity Online and the Role of the Library" as part of a panel for an OCLC Best Practices in Virtual Reference webinar on June 14th. About 200 people were in attendance.
  • Julie attended the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim California at the end of the month. She presented "Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort" as part of a panel sponsored by the Reference User Services Association (RUSA), Virtual Reference Committee. About 150 people were in attendance for the presentation. 
  • We held a liaison meeting on June 12th at Howard County's lovely new Miller Branch.

2012 07 - July 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1276 questions via chat in July.
  • Maryland librarians handled 998 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 641 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments

  • "I've used the online chat library research service a couple of times, and have always found the researchers to be extremely helpful."
     
  • "so helpful, and sooo... fast!  Thanks!"
     
  • "WOW! What a great resource--can't believe I never used it before. Will definitely use it again and recommend to friends and family. Thanks!"
  • "I have always received prompt and helpful answers to my questions.  My response this time from Jaime at North County Library was excellent.  Thanks so much for this service.  It is much appreciated by this County resident.  I think we must have the best library system ever!"
     
  • "Keep up the great work!  Thanks"
     
  • "Taylor from Cornell was very helpful. (S)he helped me find out exactly what I needed and did it quickly. Would definitely use this service for other library needs in the future..."
     
  • "They were quick to answer!"
     
  • "The service I have received from Ask Librarian has been excellent  Thank you"
     
  • "This is a lovely service!"
     
  • "Terri Boddorff did an excellent job assisting me.  The representative was prompt, attentive and serviced my needs.  I was very impressed."
     
  • "Very helpful service very satisfied and pleased."
     
  • "I appreciate the fact the MD Harford County Librarian Sophia was willing to continue looking up information for me and ask questions to determine exactly what I was inquiring about.  I have 2 websites that directly answer my questions."
     
  • "it was great!!!!!!!"
     
  • "This is a very god service and it helps me a lot."
     
  • "Lovely having a Brit help me with a late-night search!"
     
  • "very good web will use it aging [sic] thanks"
     
  • "If this survey pertains to the live chat line, the answers above are appropriate.  It also applies to all library services that I have experienced.  Very welcoming and helpful!"
     
  • "Very Helpful and Quick Response to my problem!!"
     
  • "Wow!  Can't believe how helpful and fast this was.  The librarian was able to send me the exact obituary I needed in less than 24 hours.  Such a helpful, wonderful service.  Thank you so much."
  • "very good web site"
     
  • "Pam was very nice and cooprative!"
     
  • "Librarian Hilary helped me. I need potty training books and dvds.  She showed me by sending me links what is available in silver Spring and Wheaton. She showed me how to use MILO to request a specific book ' potty train your child in just 1 day' by Terri Crane."
     
  • "emily was great,,,helped me with everything i needed and even displayed pages to get me threw it faster"
     
  • "I was satisfied with the answer b/c it answered my question.  I guess I would have like a different answer though.  Those are the breaks."
     
  • "Thank you for being so thorough in researching an answer for me!"
     
  • "Very satisfied. Will use again if necessary."
     
  • "The reference librarian on staff was quick, helpful, and accurate. It was a great service! K"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • New staff training was held at Salisbury University's Blackwell Library for 11 staff (academic and public), on July 17.
  • Cathay enrolled in an online 6-week course, "Turning the Page 2.0" given through ALA/PLA, to learn library advocacy skills.
  • The Sustainable School Partnerships Committee is finalizing the toolkit and it will be ready for distribution by August 6.
  • The Social Media Committee met on July 23.

2012 08 - August 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1403 questions via chat in August.  This is 127 more than in July.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1175 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, up 177 from July.
  • Maryland librarians sent 639 emails to customers, very close to July's figure of 641.

 

 

customer comments"

  • "I was honestly surprised that I had the ear of a live person with whom I could have an electronic conversation, on a Sunday, from 215 miles away.  Jeri is the librarian who answered me, and she was extraordinarily helpful and responsive.  In fact, I was able to accomplish what I wanted to with her help and no further assistance was necessary.
    This is a terrific service, and I will most definitely recommend it to others in the area.
    Thank you for being there!"
     
  • "My questions were answered by Tanya.  She was extremely helpful and provided more that I had hoped for; not knowing what to expect.
    This is a great community service, but more importantly, a service to those of us who live so far away and can't get to the library.  Thank you for providing this to me."
     
  • "The response was extremely thorough and helpful.  I appreciate not only the response but also the effort put into fulfilling my requests and advice for future requests.  I really love the Marina system and I look forward to the upcoming changes.  Thank you for taking the time to address my question so completely.
    A grateful patron, [patron signed name]"
     
  • "This was a great immediate resource for me. My problem was a simple confusion on my part and it was quickly resolved!"
     
  • "This is a great service.  I thank you for it.  The librarians are always very friendly and knowledgable.  Thank you!"
     
  • "SUPERB Libarian!"
  • "THIS IS A GREAT SITE, VERY EASY TO USE, IT'S NICE TO KNOW THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE TO HELP.  THANK SO VERY MUCH."
     
  • "Thank you.  It saved me a trip to the library."
     
  • "I thought the librarians were very helpful this is great it is now 10:30pm and there is a live person I was speaking to Yeah!!! I hope this continue Iam going to tell everyone about it."
     
  • "Amazing website!"
     
  • "VERY NICE, QUICK AND HELPFUL....THANK YOU PATRICK"
     
  • "Mary was patient and helpful."
     
  • "Very nice service and the librarian was exceptionally helpful."
     
  • "I am VERY impressed with the system.  I received a prompt and clear answer."
     
  • "nice libarians"
     
  • "This solved my problem and got me reading!  Thanks!"
     
  • "The librarian found soem articles that I had not been able to find.  Some of them look helpful for my topic."
     
  • "Wonderfully convenient service - quick & easy to get answers when needed where I need them. Thanks!"
     
  • "This service is very effective"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • We're wrapping up another exceptional grant year for Maryland AskUsNow!, made even more special since this begins our tenth anniversary year!
  • Cathay attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting on Monday, August 6.
  • Julie and Cathay met with UMD intern Kt for her final presentation of AskUsNow! refresher training tutorials.
  • The Sustainable School Partnerships Committee began distributing the "How to have a class visit tookit" on August 6.

2012 09 - September 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2061 questions via chat in September.  This is a leap from August's total of 1403.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1365 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, up from 1175 in August.
  • Maryland librarians sent 650 emails to customers, holding steady from August and July.

 

 

customer comments"

  • "Keep this great service a SECRET or you'll be overwhelmed with satisfied customers!
    Good work.  (Suggestion: Move the "Submit" button to an easy-to-spot spot?)"
     
  • "I am so grateful that I have a way to get books from other sources since my local library's budget is such that they cannot purchase as many books as they used to (and vampires are in and murder mysteries are not!).
    Separate from this wonderful service, I do wish there were some changes in the buying process.   I wish less copies of the most popular books would be purchased so that smaller authors could still be purchased.  I do not mind waiting months "on hold" as long as I know I will get it eventually.  I also wish more thought would be given to keeping up with a series (even if it is just one copy) when you already have some of the books in that series."
     
  • "Although the books weren't at my library, I was directed to the library that does.  The service personnel is always very timely and very helpful and always polite.  This is one of the better services available for anyone trying to find the right resources for any project they are working on.  Thank you!"
     
  • "very helpful and so nice that it is available on the weekends when the library is closed.
    Thank You"
     
  • "i will be using this site more often. It was very user friendly."
     
  • "Using the online reference was easy once i figured things out, but i still had a hard time figuring out how to do what needed to be done, which is why i ended up having an online chat with the libarian.  Her suggestion on what to do paid off, but that was a guess on her part.  She did forward my concern to my neighborhood library, but in the meantime, i used her suggestion and got done what i needed to do.  Thank you."
     
  • "Great service.  I hope this is kept for library patrons."
  • "This was so helpful. It took just a few minutes to find information that I expected would take at least 30 minutes to find. Librarians are amazing!! Thank you."
     
  • "Pat M was professional and upfront about her lack of experience with the novels I asked about, but she provided relevant resources and even answered some in-depth questions about the content and comparisons to other existing works of fiction. She also made sure I had no more questions before ening the session."
     
  • "I recieved helpful information. Thank you, Kelly! I liked the information I got. I will use AskUsNow very soon. I liked chatting with Kelly. Thank you again, Kelly!"
     
  • "the people that ive talked to in the past are very nice. this is an awesome site"
     
  • "Although the answer was indeed difficult to find out. I was given excellent leads to get the information rquested"
     
  • "Thank you for your help!  It was appreciated!"
     
  • "very useful, answered my ? right away"
     
  • "The library staff who chatted with me was excellent, gave me the best direction and advise."
     
  • "Lisa found a lot of interesting information for me, and it sparked my interest to research the author of the poem I was looking for - thanks again!"
     
  • "Who knew there were little tiny librarians toiling into the night to answer questions of oddball citizens?
    Good job! Thanks so much."
     
  • "Exemplary service from a professional, knowledgeable, involved professonal. Keep up the good work!"
     
  • "I'm in grad school for school library media.  This feature has truly helped me out as I had to type a paper on a public library.  Answered any questions I had. Thank you for providing it!"
     
  • "Service was prompt and right to the point.  Thanks!"
     
  • "I really appreciated being able to communicate with someone who can help with my query - at such a distance from where I live (Co Meath, Ireland). Also the willingness to help was impressive. I look forward to more fruitful collaboration."
     
  • "Good service, Fast"
     
  • "Mrs.Pat is real nice and thank you for your servies"
     
  • "she was on point helpful, honest of her view of the topic i thank her for the information aswel thanks for your service Sharyl."
     
  • "I have been amazed at the service from the Library.  I mention it often to friends and family."
     
  • "The librarian was very friendly and seemed to go the "extra mile" to find the information I was looking for."
     
  • "Absolutely will be a repeat customer!!!!"
  • "I was extremely satisfied - both the information provided and the service were excellent."
     
  • "Thank you. Great assistance."
     
  • "This is a great service. I really appreciate the 'chat' mode, which I find to be better than either direct phone or email."
     
  • "First time user, but initially very skeptical based on previous on-line chat services with other sites -- was very pleasantly surprised at the prompt and informative response!"

 

month in review

This month:

  • We had a quarterly liaison meeting on September 11, in which Betty Morganstern from Anne Arundel County Public Library announced her retirement.
  • New Staff Training was provided twice:  On September 14 at UMD (Julie) and on September 26 at North Point Branch, BCPL (Cathay).

2012 10 - October 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

(Note:  QuestionPoint statistics for October reports are repaired as of November 29, 2012.  Figures below and in our reports are updated. - CC)

  • Maryland customers asked 2774 questions via chat in October.  This is close to 700 more than in September!
  • Maryland librarians handled 1465 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, an increase from the previous month.
  • Maryland librarians sent 669 emails to customers, up somewhat from September.

 

 

customer comments"

  • "I am all smiles about this. The help this can provide for disabled people is amazing. I don't get around as well as I did, and now I can ask questions without coming in and searching around the shelves. Plus when I get a brain wave, usually late at night over some book I need to read, I can instantly find the information I need. Thanks so much and I hope this service continues being offered."
     
  • "I am always quite satisfied with the "ask a librarian" service-- The persons servicing the queries have never been shut out !
    The reponse to this  most recent query amazed me with the prompt reponse time."
     
  • "I stumbled across this service while looking for information from my public library online.  The help was great.  Thank you for providing this service, especially later in the evening, as I have a hard time getting to my public library during its hours."
     
  • "It was quick and easy to use. This website is really guided to the used of different people (students, caregivers, etc.). They responded very quickly with relevant information. I highly recommend this method.
     
  • "I was very pleased with the professionalism and dedication of the librarian who assisted me to help me find information i was seeking for."
     
  • "It is a good service to be able to let the library know, immediately, if something shown in my profile is incorrect - I've returned an item which shows as still being checked out by me...  Thanks!"
     
  • "Mimi Bolotin was extremely prompt and friendly answering my question about Freegal. I really like the Freegal service! Thanks again"
     
  • "I have in the past dealt with any number of web sites and I can tell you none were this efficient or quick with a response.  Excellent service and very thorough."
     
  • "Thank you for the useful information."
     
  • "It was a great start to my research."
     
  • "What a great service! Thanks."
     
  • "Patricia Buck went above and beyond to help me locate a periodical article from several years ago. I am so grateful. Thanks!"
     
  • "I would like to thanks for the help of librarian LaVonne from minnesota and for the site . Was very helpfull to find the solution to my question."
  • "I had the librarian named Beth and she helped me figure out my problem within 3 minutes! Great Service!"
     
  • "Liz was very helpful and made a great suggestion that allowed me to confirm the information that she had found (on this somewhat unusual research question)."
     
  • "Very helpful - I appreciate the service."
     
  • "It is good. Thanks"
     
  • "I was totally satisfied. Thank you"
     
  • "thank you so much, you guys are the best"
     
  • "Received wonderful assistance.  Problem solved!"
     
  • "A great resource for someone who might know know all the places to look on the internet -- great job and very responsive. Thanks for all the help both locally and across the net!"
     
  • "answer was found very fast :)"
     
  • "I am new to using the resources of Mo Co libraries. I was very appreciative of the help received through this service."
     
  • "staff was very helpful and patient and thorough, thanks"
     
  • "Very pleased to have this service available.  Thank you"
     
  • "Thank you for this website"
     
  • "Thank you for responding so promptly to my request.  I will definitely use the service again.
    Best Regards, [patron signed name]"
     
  • "Id just like to say I think having something like this online is very beneficial, rather than calling the courts which can often times be very brief. Thank you again"
     
  • "Catherine was great. She pointed me toward sources I didn't know existed (MedlinePlus, Washington Checkbook) but I'm sure I will be using again!"
     
  • "Patrick, a librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, State Library Resource Center, helped me extremely well and even checked with a colleague to get a more thorough answer. He was exceedingly helpful!"
     
  • "was very quick to guide to other sites that maybe helpful for my needs."
     
  • "Kristina (Olympia, Washington) helped me today. I asked if my library in Anne Arundel Co, Maryland still offered Rosetta Stone. She explained that they did not, and explained why. Then she went above and beyond: she offered to check if there were any other services being offered that would suit my need. She promptly discovered a similar resource, and sent me the link.
    I was very impressed and pleased with her abilities to discover my needs, and overcome multiple obstacles, and deliver excellent service!"
     
  • "I found this website very useful. I will definitely come back again! Thank you."
     
  • "The librarian was very polite and helpful.  Possible that local assistance would have had better info, but possibly impacted by bad weather closings."
     
  • "I found this website very useful. I will definitely come back again! Thank you."
     
  • "I thought the information was great and helped me alot."
     
  • "The librarian that assisted me was 'MD Cecil Librarian Suzy'.  I needed help finding out how to download ebooks to my Kindle.  She was most helpful. She even asked about how the storm affected me and family.  How nice of her."
     
  • "Very fast - I am impressed."

 

month in review

This month:

  • Cathay attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting on October 5 which focused upon the implementation of upcoming software changes. The initial phase includes changes to the Qwidget to align it more closely with chat's interface as well as to help move the overall software closer toward total accessibility.
     
  • Julie provided training in person at the Charles County Public Library for 13 new providers on Friday, October 19th.
     
  • On the same day (19th), Cathay provided training via Skype to help with Carroll County's immediate need.
     
  • Julie presented on social media and marketing at Internet Librarian on the 24th.
     
  • Hurricane Sandy closed libraries for two days, October 29 and 30, but AskUsNow! was still open and helping customers with weather-related questions as well as homework, research, and account help.
     
  • This month AskUsNow! received word that the new grant will be awarded as expected.  This funds the statewide project for the current federal fiscal year, through September 2014.

2012 11 - November 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2362 questions via chat in November.
     
  • Maryland librarians handled 1394 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 577 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments"

  • "I'm always very satisfied with the excellent help I get from the Librarian online as well as the Staff when I'm in the Crofton Library!"
     
  • "Excellent service. I wish more people knew about it. I hope you have the funding to continue with it. I'll spread the word as much as I can."
     
  • "The librarian that helped me was incredibly helpful! I'm so glad that this service is available. I had all these questions that she answered without a problem. She informed me of where to get the information online at the library site and provided other resources available online. Great service! I'm going to convince my friends to open an account here just to get access to all the great stuff at the library!  Thank you!"
     
  • "Librarian was prompt in coming online and offering the assistance we needed, making it very clear where we could do research to find the information for which we were searching. Great job."
     
  • "I was surprised that the 24/7 Ask a Librarian service was not necessarily connected to an AAC library. But, the out-of-state
    librarian quickly responded and told me she had forwarded it to AAC for answering on Monday. And sure enough, I received 2 timely and informative responses to my query today which was fine since it was not a time-sensitive question.    Thank you Deborah and Heather.
    By the way, the SUBMIT button for this form is not intuitive. I've never seen one on the left before. Am I the only one that had difficulty finding it?" (Note that suggestion was referred to QuestionPoint. - CC)
     
  • "This is such an awesome site. I will totally recommend this site to all my friends if they need help with thinks i can't anwser.
    Thank you so much."
     
  • "I love librarians
    What wonderful committment
    I think we need to elect a librarian president"
     
  • "Fun to use. Very helpful."
     
  • "very willing to help me.  Thank you!"
     
  • "The person was very efficient and gave me relevant, accurate information."
  • "for number one, i also found out about this from a flyer\bookmark. i was very satisfied with this program and will use it again."
     
  • "Suzy from cecil county was extremely helpful!!!!!"
     
  • "Sarah from California was very helpful. I wish she were here in person so she could help me a little more, but I really love this service. Thank you very much."
     
  • "I liked the quick response to my inquiry."
     
  • "Michael Stevens was VERY helpful with my question presented.  Michael was also very knowledgable on the information systems. THANK YOU"
     
  • "Thanks for the help."
     
  • "Thank you so much for your prompt response.  [She] is a sweet 98 year old who thought she could not get books having to do with the bible.  She will be so happy and I can't wait for her response.  Again, you have made a little, sweet lady very happy."
     
  • "soo helpful to get reliable sources"
     
  • "Librarian 'MD AArundelCC Librarian Marisin was really helpful."
     
  • "I was most pleased with the service."

 

month in review

This month:

  • Cathay went to Chicago (11/6-9) to learn more about library advocacy.  She was one of the 36 attendees chosen for Train-the-Trainer, Turning the Page 2.0, sponsored by PLA and the Gates Foundation.
  • The Social Media Committee conducted their second test.  This was focused on Thanksgiving Resources.

2012 12 - December 2012 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1791 questions via chat in December.
     
  • Maryland librarians handled 1181 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 418 emails to customers.

 

 

customer comments"

  • "I am a voracious reader. I couldn't afford to get through all the books I want to read without the library.  Plus, having a site to download books from any time of the day or night and then a resource if there is a problem, INVALUABLE.
    I wish there was the same sort of download site for magazines.  I freqently incur fines because I can't get over to the library at the right time.  for me, having something expire, instead of having to drop it off, works better.
    thank you for all your service.  the library is a true jewel"
     
  • "I am always grateful that in this cold hard world there is a service that hears, responds and executes a request with such courtesy, efficiency, and true good will.Thank you"
     
  • "I had no idea this was available.  What a wonderful resource.  I commend the dedication of the men and women who stand ready to help readers to a more satisfying library experience.  Three cheers for them all."
     
  • "Ask us now is AWESOME!!  Now I know that whenever I can't find info I can just go to your site!!  Thank you so much for such great and polite service!!"
  • "This was a great convenience for me, as I am overseas and needed a grace period for a book that I have with me. The librarian was understanding and efficient, a great service, feeling that my tax dollars are well spent! Many thanks"
     
  • "Very please with the answers and research that Karen did.  She anticipated that I would want to order the book too.  Excellent customer service!"
     
  • "This was an online chat with a Librarian.  I am not sure if I ever used the chat service before.  The librarian was very helpful and did a good job meeting my needs and was very professional as well."
     
  • "I like the idea for this service. Thanks."
     
  • "The only thing i have to say is that it takes a while for a librarian to start helping you. But otherwise it is amazing and i always get the information i needed. I love this service."
     
  • "give my regards to Deborah. bcpl.thank you!"
     
  • "Great Resource!  I wish I had used this sooner!"
     
  • "This website helped me find information for a research paper that is due tomorrow."
  • "everybody is very nice"
     
  • "I couldn't find an answer on-line using Adobe Digital Reader so I reached out for help.  The Liberian understood my problem and quickly came up with a solution that fixed the problem."
     
  • "this go out to all the Librarians thank you so much for having this job"
     
  • "I get so confused with the interface of my county's library for whatever reason, and this servce is always helpful...ALWAYS"
     
  • "very friendly and helped me navigate a system/service i've never used before.
    Sure made it easy!"
     
  • "have a magnet with the information about this program.
    Great program.  Thanks for offering it."
     
  • "goes to the point and is understandable with the information delivered"
     

 

month in review

This month:

  • The Quarterly Liaison Meeting was held on Tuesday, December 11 at the Smithsburg Branch Library in Washington County (with an online option for virtual attendance).
  • New Staff Training was given at Montgomery College Library to a large group that consisted of academic and public librarians.

2013 01 - January 2013 Monthly Report

 

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1981 questions via  chat in January, a bit busier than in December.
     
  • Maryland librarians handled 1352 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, up from December.
  • Maryland librarians sent 663 emails to customers which was a little more than in December.

 

 

customer comments

  • "  I did not know a service like this even existed.  I am excited to know it exists.  Your librarians were very good at quickly finding information about the Barnhart genealogy.  Do you keep complete family histories for your area there at your library?  I have a Reynolds History i have done.  They were from Hagerstown.  I did it all on a 2005 Family Tree maker family group sheets, etc.  It is not nearly as complete as I would like, but maybe someday I will be able to make it so.  It is not bound and only in a 3 ring binder.  If I ever get it the way I want I will let you know if you would like a copy. thank you again for all your help!!"
     
  • "the liberian i had was flawless, and didnt give up and tried to have me understand when i didnt wanted to, she was well informed and can gather information quickly and was also patient at the same time 5+/5 stars"
     
  • "A great service! I don't like talking on the phone so this was a good service for me to ask a library policy related question without calling anybody."
     
  • "I like this service. As someone who likes to do research, I find that I get so much more than what I initially thought I would find on a subject."
     
  • "This is a very helpful tool.  I have no knowledge of how to use history reference guides.  This interactive tool helped steer me in the right direction."
  • "It was really great and I will use it again any time I need help. It's really fun and better than using a boring website."
     
  • "I was impressed with easy availability-----I am accessing this service at 8 a.m. before normal business hours."
     
  • "It is such a blessing to have this online it helps me so much"
     
  • "I was pleased to find an online chat service to support customer inquiries. It was very efficient!"
     
  • "I am impressed, and will most likely use this service again in the future!Thank you!"
     
  • "No comments are necessary but I just wanted to say that the whole process, from start to finish, was very easy, very fast, and professional. I found it to be a very useful tool and may use it again if I don't see what I'm looking for in the boards. Thank you."
     
  • "Excellent, time-saving service!  I'll definitely use it again if the need arises."
     
  • "I love to live in Howard County,but from Today I'd started to love it more....The onlt thing that was missing that Urdu is not available for lanuage option,thoug it is available on hcpss web site, otherwise service is more than good."
     
  • "I am always delighted by the prompt, intelligent service I receive from the AACPL online librarians! Especially considering that my requests are usually quite exotic (today's was for an article in an obscure journal on 17th century witchcraft trial procedure), it's amazing how responsive the librarians are. I have yet to be disappointed--they almost literally go "to the ends of the earth" to get me whatever I request!"
     
  • "they were very fun to ask questions to"
     
  • "The librarian was very nice, and helpful after I clarified what I was looking for. I'd rather that they look for the best match in the system rather than what's on the shelf at my closest library though - or to ask which I'd prefer. The text in the chat session and the help page and this page are so tiny! I hope you can make it more easily readable."
  • "thank you for helping all who need help ,you did help me !!!!!! i'm glad you are not the goverment i would have to wait a year or so. thanks again. sorry about the goverment comment it's only as good as the people running it"
  • "I love the way the librarian's helps others  with homework or questions they have."
     
  • "Deborah was very knowledgable and answered my questions very quickly."
     
  • "This was a lifesaver on my research project.  Many thanks for the service."
     
  • "Excellent service!!!! Thank you."
     
  • "I hope this service will continue and hopefully improve over then years"
     
  • "brian from minnisota rocks he is the best librarian i have used you should pay him"
     
  • "My only problem with the site was that when I was typing it would cut me off (the keyboard would disappear) and I'd have to go back, put my cursor at the place where I'd left off and then continue. It happened several time in the space of a sentence or two.  That was frustrating. Otherwise, the service is wonderful and the librarian who assisted me was efficient, kind, and helpful.  Problem solved! Thanks very much."
  • "This is a GREAT site."
     
  • "Why did I have to take this? My dad does Ask Us Now on thrusdays."

     

 

month in review

This month:

  • Maryland AskUsNow!'s staff support site, the Inner Harbor, was spammed by China.  Luckily it was caught early on and diffused right away.
     
  • ALA Midwinter was in Seattle from January 24 through 29, 2013.  Julie and Cathay attended and shared enthusiasm for new ideas regarding reference services, virtual reference, and the promotion of these important library elements.
     
  • Three interns from UMD started their field studies with AskUsNow!
  • Julie presented the new qwidget interface to MAPLA on Jan 23rd.
  • We continue to work on a mobile site for AUN to promote local qwidgets and have an "end of Q1" deadline set
  • We started with three interns for the Spring 2013 semester - Graham, Walter and Kaitlin. Graham will be helping us redesign and launch our askusnow.info customer portal on drupal (finally), Walter will be doing research on and creating deliverables around the identifying and engagement of our non-users, Kaitlin will be working with the Refresher Training Team to help create modules, practice chat scenarios scripts, and reorganizing our Help & Support areas of the IH. Welcome interns!!

2013 02 - February 2013 Monthly Report

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 3091 questions via  chat in February - almost the same as last year.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1632 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world, up from January.
  • Maryland librarians sent 616 emails to customers.

customer comments

  • "She was polite and identified herself and her affiliated library. She was able to find the information I requested within a couple of minutes and gave me the source. She followed up to see if I had any other requests."
     
  • "My question had some complexities to it. The librarian was able to give me enough to get me started but was at the end of her shift, which I understand. We did not quite get to some important details, but like i said, I can get started with this, and I'll try again after that. This is a great service!"
     
  • "i love this system because it supplies me with information to further personal studies along with student studies that i need and desire!!!
       thank you so much for such a wonderful service,
    im quite sure i can speak for some of thee other patrons
    PLEASE keep up this Phenominal site!:-)"
     
  • "THIS IS GREAT I LOVE HAVING HELP WITH SCHOOL WHEN MY FRIENDS CAN'T HELP ME. ALSO, JUST SO YOU KNOW IM IN 6TH GRADE, IF THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR SURVEY. SOME OF THE LIBRARIANS, THOUGH REALLY DON'T GIVE YOU GOOD INFO. SOME DON'T EVEN TALK TO YOU VERY MUCH, BUT THE LIBRARIAN I HAD (ABBY) WAS VERY HELPFUL. SHE HELPED ME A LOT. I HAVE HAD ABBY 2 TIMES NOW THOUGH SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT 'CAUSE I'M ALWAYS ANAYMOUS(I DON'T THINK I SPELLED THAT RIGHT). BUT I REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE HAVING THIS SERVICE"
     
  • "Outstanding response!  Hopefully, good results.  Thanks so much for the quick response and knowledgeable person on the chat line!"
     
  • "The person who helped me, Wren from Prince Georges County (I'm not sure; I think so), was very patient and he gave me a lot of information. He didn't quickly tell me that he couldn't help me anymore like the first person I asked the question to. Wren still kept trying and gave me information even when I told him that the previous information he sent he wasn't what I needed. Thank you a whole lot Wren."
     
  • "thank you a lot now i am going to get an A on my pre-experiment research paper :) :D"
     
  • "Very helpful and she explained everything to me."
  • "Edie did a great job of finding articles for me from the Baltimore Sun in 1897.  Thanks for offering this service."
     
  • "Shaileen from Enoch Pratt was WONDERFUL!!  She went above and beyond the call of duty for help!!"
     
  • "This program saved my butt more than once in a tight situation, and I'm grateful to those who answer my every question."
     
  • "Daniella was AMAZING in tracking down something in a few minutes that I spent a few hours in yahoo trying to find. Librarians are the best!"
     
  • "Johnathan was very helpful even though there wasn't anything in the data base that I was hoping to find, he pollitely offered to forward my questions to see if there is further information in which I am researching for a book I am writting.  Thank you so much."
     
  • "THIS IS GREAT KEEP UP THE GOOD UP
    GOD BLESS YOU"
     
  • "The librarian was very helpful, and fulfilled my request completely."
     
  • "Amazing.  I have spent the morning searching the internet for good books for a teenage girls on black history.  The librarian (within 5 - 10 minutes) provided be a number of links that had the exact information I was looking for."
     
  • "The staff that work with me was wonderful. I think this is a very handy service and would use it again. Thanks for the service."
     
  • "It was very easy and helpful"
     
  • "Very quick response and very cordial librarian who really wanted to help me find my answer!  Great service!  Thank you."
  • "They are very nice if they don't understand what you are trying to say."
  • "It was a great conversation and I got a lot of very useful information out of it.  The librarian was friendly and helpful and seemed to enjoy the process of reading about the topic as much as I did.  Thank you very much!"
     
  • "The library staff served me well.  I appreciate using the online service.  Thanks so much!"
     
  • "Your follow up action to my question and the answer provided by local library is amazingly satisfied.  Thanks."
     
  • "The person that helped me with my question gave me many articles so i could pick the one that most suited me which was very nice. He also gave me the definitions to words I did not know."
     
  • "Thank you for this helpful service.  It was easy to use, and the librarian answered my question perfectly."
     
  • "As a returning college student with a hectic schedule and teen aged children, this service makes a world of difference to me. THANK YOU!!!!!!!"
     
  • "The librarian was wonderful! The ebook website is not! Very confusing and I am not a novice computer user.
    Thank you for having the wisdom of having your chat service. My taxes are well paid to support such a useful service."
  • "I think the service was marvelous! The only suggestion I would make would be to increase the size of the icon on the webpage that alerts you to the service.  I know real estate is precious on a web page, but I am 64 years old and it would help a great deal to either make it larger or create some animation around it to draw attention!
    Thanks for your help."
     
  • "Yes.  She/he did her/his best to try to help me with Marina.  She/he even went through the process to look for a book.  While she/he couldn't resolve it the question has been forwarded on to someone else, which is fine.  Thank you for this great service."
     
  • "This librarian, Fran from Carrol Community College was AMAZING!! She stayed online until she answered my question completely. She sent me quite a few articles regarding my topic and kept making sure that this is what i was looking for.  Thanks for an awesome service! Definitely going to use it again!"

month in review

  • 4 libraries went live with the Qwidget this month! Check out the list and implementation guide to get started at your library!
  • The decision was made at DLDS to postpone any official 10 year celebratory/media events for AUN until the summer. AUN is continuing plans for celebrating and promoting their anniversary with "AskUsNow! month" which started March 1st and includes things we want local institutions to do as well as we'll be doing on the state level.
  • The first Maryland AskUsNow! Ask campaign photo shoot took place on February 27, at the Towson branch of BCPL.
  • We trained our three interns from UMD on chat. They will be put on the official schedule as of March. Their projects are continuing to gear up.
  • The Refresher Training Team has outlined items to create or to borrow from existing trainings and will be meeting in early March to discuss the revamp of the training and support pages of the Inner Harbor.
  • Feb 14 - Maryland AskUsNow!'s marketing committee met online using Blackboard.  The lively meeting discussed the 10th Anniversary celebration and marketing ideas, to come up with a proposed "Ask Campaign" pilot to tie into the newly-forming national campaign and committee work.
  • Feb 21- Julie attended an MLA LMD workshop in Annapolis on "Talking to the Media." The workshop was lead by Elizabeth Cromwell of Frederick County Libraries.
  • Feb 4th - Julie and Cathay attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting (virtual). Notes were posted.
  • Feb 5th - Julie attended the LATI Oversight Committee meeting at the Provinces Library of AACPL. The next meeting of this group is in April to discuss curriculum.
  • Feb 13th was the face to face session Julie teaches with Helen & Bob of Pratt/SLRC to the current LATI class on Model Reference Behaviors & Customer Service. The face to face session was held all day at the Provinces Library of AACPL. The hour virtual follow-up to that class was held on 2/27.
  • Laptop docks were ordered for the AUN laptops. Docks were added to the budget for FY13 because it's cheaper and easier than replacing our desktop machines when that needs to occurr (probably soon).
  • Joe Ruff of Calvert county was named as the Winter 2013 Maryland AskUsNow! Rockstar for his work with a UK customer asking for information on embryonic screening for autism! Joe's award and letter were sent and a letter was also sent to his director, Pat Hofmann.
  • QuestionPoint had a reporting glitch in the offline reports so Julie worked with Carol at QP to secure the data she needs for Descriptive Code use so that an update on usage can be made at the March Liaison meeting.
  • Julie continues work on the mobile askusnow.info page and is on track to launch before the end of Q1.

2013 03 - March 2013 Monthly Report

The  monthly report for March is here! We had our 10th year anniversary and have some wonderful customer comments that you'll want to read!

by the numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2170 questions via  chat in March.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1314 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the world.
  • Maryland librarians sent 625 emails to customers, which is about the same as in February.

customer comments

  • "The librarian found several possible links that might be able to answer my question and then offered to ask someone else to get in touch with me about my question."
     
  • "During the course of several hours I was trying to learn about ebook borrowing I had several questions at different times throughout the night and had Jonathan 2 times and Kurt once and everytime I received very high quality help.  My last question came at 5am and to find such quality at that hours of the morning after asking questions since 1am (approx) I find exceptional."
     
  • "I cannot believe that you actually have somebody waiting to answer my library-related questions at 12:30 in the morning, but that you do is immensely endearing to me. Thank you so much for always having someone on hand to answer even my most trivial questions for instant gratification."
     
  • "The person who answered my question ( Jim from BCPS thanks so much!!!:)) was very nice and answered my question completely and thoroughly. This service answered tough questions that we can't answer. I love ask us now and will defiantly be using it again sometime soon! Again if anyone knows a Jim that works at a Baltimore library, tell him Allison from ask us now says thanks a million."
     
  • "All librarians I have met on this service have been a delight to work with. It is a great service and I appreciate it.
    Keep up the good work!"
     
  • "My Librarian was from Charles County (I take it). His name is John - very professional, very knowledgeable, and to-the-point. He was extremely helpful to me today."
     
  • "Thank you very much for the excellent service.  As a researcher across the country at UC Berkeley, gaining access to this particular local newspaper article through the help of the librarian was invaluable.  Thank you!"
     
  • "Found a problem on the website, used the service to get the library's attention about it, they got back to me within an hour saying it's fixed and so it is!  How excellent!  Why can't things always work so well?"
     
  • "The librarian promptly responded to my question and informed me that it would be forwarded to the local area. I appreciate the great service."
     
  • "I LOVE the Maryland Library System.  This is an awesome service!  The librarians and other staff are wonderrful!  As a former city "girl,"  I am always amazed at the quality of the St. Mary's County Libraries and the Maryland library system.  I feel so fortunate to live here.  Have a wonderful week!"
     
  • "thank you, Cameron- You must have been answering my email as i called the Broadneck branch - they were just opening at 1; You have saved me a trip to the library & gas & time !!!
    Have a super day !"
     
  • "This is a great idea.  All who were responsible for providing this service and who maintain it deserve many thanks."
     
  • "WHAT A GREAT SERVICE YOU OFFER."
     
  • "The staff/librarians are GREAT!  Keep up the good work."
     
  • "I am most impressed by the speed, courtesy and competence of your staff, especially Jonathan B."
     
  • "Francie was excellent, very knowledgeable, patient, and helpful."
     
  • "David was prompt and gave me a very good resource! Kudos."
     
  • "The staff member answering my question was very helpful and knowledgeable."
     
  • :Very EASY!  Thanks for this service, it is very helpful and convenient!"
     
  • "Incredibly fast turnaround.  Thank you!"

month in review

  • Julie continues work on the mobile askusnow.info page and is on track to launch shortly after the end of Q1.
  • The interns continue with their work. 
  • The AskUsNow! liaison meeting was held on March 12 at the lovely Urbana Library in Frederick County. 
  • We turned TEN YEARS OLD on Sunday, March 17th. An extensive marketing campaign went live this month in celebration. See for details.
  • The Refresher Training Team met at the West County Branch of AACPL to discuss their work on March 5th.
  • Most libraries across the state were closed on March 6th for the snowpocalypse that never happened. 
  • Cathay announced her decision to leave AUN at the end of April. 
  • Cathay attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board meeting on March 15th.
  • 3/20 Julie met with a potential new partner institution

2013 04 - April 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers

In April we:

  • had 1884 Maryland customers ask us questions;
  • answered 1324 from customers around the globe;
  • sent 576 email & follow-up responses

Customer Love!

  • Fantastic! Helpful to the disabled who can't physically visit the library
  • This was the first time I used the service and I am very pleased and excited to have someone at my finger tips offerring assistance! Thank you and I was able to find what I was searching for with the help of the library staff via the chat session. This is wonderful!
  • Thank you for this wonderful service.
  • The librarian was extremely helpful and very thorough. It was great!
  • Dear Sir: I am always VERY satisfied with the service I get from the Librarians online OR in the Library.  They research my request and promptly respond --- it doesn't get any better than this! I know there is a lot of electronic equipment out in the world but as far as I'm concerned, it never matches the joy of HOLDING a REAL book in your hands to read! Thank you!  [name redacted]
  • The program works fine! Was quick and responsive. Took a bit of time for me to orient to the left "panel" to start the chat. Great service and happy to use--if necessary--in future!! Terrific (in a word!)
  • Jamie was a very nice person to work with. She was very curtious and friendly the entire time. She helped answer my question and then gave advice on where I could find additional information. Thank you again!
  • this was the best system eever thanx
  • very helpful and very understanding.
  • Quick, courteous, professional, and a REAL HUMAN!  Great job.
  • This is a great resource!
  • I appreciate the promptness with which the Library answers my inquiries.  The service has always been excellent! Thank you! 
  • SHE SEEMED NICE AND STAYED IN THE CHAT AFTER THE FIRST QUESTION
  • this makes my projects so much easier
  • I just wish that locating a library card number was more easily accessible, I have a library card for Prince George's County Library but can't find it to access the online books to read on my Tablet.. but other than that the service today was excellent.
  • What a blessing to have found the Librarian Chat service.  Sam librarian was so kind to this 85 year old genealogist, a slow typist.  Thank You.

This Month...

  • we continued working with our interns this month. they have one more month to go.
  • we participated in the first annual UMD iSchool internship fair and spoke with potential future interns - April 4th
  • Julie attended the Computers in Libraries conference in DC April 8-10th and the MILEX conference (Maryland Information Literacy Exchange) on the 19th.
  • the monthly vr coordinators meeting was held on April 15th and was hosted this month by Maryland.
  • Julie attended the LATI LOC meeting 4/16.
  • April 24th was Cathay's last day with AskUsNow!.
  • Julie was on vacation from April 29 - May 6th.

2013 05 - May 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers asked 2052 questions this month
  • Maryland librarians answered 1188 questions from across the globe
  • Maryland librarians sent 511 email / follow-ups to their customers. 

Customer Love

  • This is a very useful service and should be promoted to ensure more people know about it.
  • lifesaver!
  • She was amazing and responded immediately with 4 sources in which all helped!!
  • It is wonderful to find a library that has this service.
  • I thank so much to the librarian of Montgomery county Francie. I am very satsified with the well information provided and full service!
  • I thank ms.Veronica for the great search she did for me, and the kind service. I am very satsified. My name is Lacie, please thank Ms.Veronica for these searches!
  • I do a lot of genealogy and this was the fastest response I have ever received from any Library I have ever contacted.  Thank you Cameron!
  • The librarian needed to do additional research and will follow-up in 24 hours.  This service is a great benefit to Maryland Residents!  Great to see our taxes supporting great initiatives.
  • this place is so magnificent i love it so magnanimous you guys do a wonderful job by the way im in 4th grade !!!
  • Very efficient process and user friendly.  Students will enjoy the engagement process.
  • this was fantastic it helped me alot. toataly  using it again
  • The Librarian was very professional and kept me abreast of what she was doing while I waited for her to find the answer to my question.

This month...

  • Promotional highlighters were a big feature with AskUsNow! this month. Julie Strange received two large shipments intended to supply all participating partner libraries.  Most of these have been distributed to those systems now. We were all surprised to learn how much a box of highlighters can weigh.

  • Julie spent some time in May working with new interns.  In the past, AUN interns have been very useful in helping with projects that could not be supported with the current staff.  Now that the half time AUN Operations Assistant position has been eliminated, interns proving to be even more helpful.  Julie has worked to create a win-win situation where the interns have a good learning experience and AskUsNow! gets help with important projects.

  • Julie was on vacation from April 29th - May 6th, going straight to the Maryland Library Association Conference in Ocean City May 8-10. 

  • Our Spring interns wrapped up their projects this month:

    • Kaitlin had created scripts to be used for our refresher training practice sessions. By the end of her work, we saw a new path that could be taken and Kaitlin agreed to continue on as a volunteer to complete that work and continue chatting, which she fell in love with.

    • Walter wrote a white paper on how AskUsNow! can serve the homeless and other underserved populations.

    • Graham worked on a dev site so that we can launch askusnow.info (our customer portal) on the Drupal platform. It's not yet launched, but Graham continues to work with us to get it ready. Included in the launch will be the mobile version with the qwidgets as originally planned for Q1. 

  • Julie spoke with and brought on three new interns for the Summer: KJ, Fiona, and Spring who will all be chatting and working on various projects to help AUN meet their goals before the end of the grant year (August 31). 

2013 06 - June 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 1247 times, often asking multiple questions per chat.
  • Maryland librarians handled 917 chats from customers all over the world.
  • We did 519 email/follow-ups in June, too!

Customer Love

  • "I love the library and its resources!"
  • "Liz helped me today. She was wonderful. I almost waited to find out about E-books being available for me to read on my laptop until I could go to my local library. I am glad that I didn't wait. I have tried to check out a Kindle, but just cannot get excited about one more device for me to worry about. UGH. I mainly read cookbooks and gardening books. I have read enough negative remarks about some of these books not being complete in the Kindle editions. Thanks."
  • "She was an awesome helper!"
  • "Shannon was fantastic helping me find resources for "read-alikes" of a book i'm reading right now. It hasn't been published yet and that makes it hard to find things but I've got tons of resources to get me started in the meantime! THANKS SHANNON! :-)"
  • "The Librarian was very quick and knowledgeable! I really appreciated her help and glad I found your site!"
  • "I've never seen a similar service before. It's a great idea. Thank you for providing it."
  • "24/7! that's awesome!"
  • "I was very happy to receive an answer to my question and a cited reference. Thank you."
  • "Bruce was very positive and enlightening!"
  • "This is a fantastic service and I'm sure I'll be using it more, now that I know about it, thanks to a little magnet card, which I think I picked up earlier this year when CCPL had a booth at one of the expos at CCC."
  • "I loved the librarian I got from Pratt! She was super nice and gave me GREAT links for books that look enjoyable! She gave me exactly what I came for!!"

This month...

  • in June, Julie attended the American Library Association Annual meeting in Chicago towards the end of the month.
  • Our interns Fiona, Spring, and KJ were trained on chat and started providing service. They're doing fantastically!
  • Julie met with Towson University and gave their new liaisons an intro training and scheduled their new staff training.
  • The Refresher Training team met on June 25th to further discuss the Inner Harbor audit and Learning Center changes.
  • Julie participated in the InfoEyes Advisory Board meeting on June 13th. 
  • Caroline County hosted our quarterly liaison meeting
  • Julie attended the second half of the BCPL AUN providers meeting on the 24th. After 10 years, BCPL revamped their staffing models to give staff members who wanted to do AUN the chance to do so (versus the previous branch-specific model). 
  • Julie participated in the 24/7 Advisory Board Council meeting virtually on the 7th. 

2013 07 - July 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 1122 times this month (often asking more than one question per session).
  • Maryland librarians helped 891 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 591 email/follow-ups, too!

Customer Love

  • "Much easier than email...I really appreciate having someone handle my issues real-time"
  • "Mary Ann Keicher is SUPER AWESOME!"
  • "I was very satified with the overall system and Librarian Michael's interaction.  The only thing is that I was not able to chat with someone from my library system so I could not get the answer I needed right away.  The chat librarian, however, took my e-mail and said that he would pass my question to my library system."
  • "This is a great service overall.  Thank you!!"
  • "The submit button is to small and should be a brighter color or something.  I had to really look for it.  I even went back to the top then came bact down.  Even putting it in the middle would be better."
  • "Nikki was very helpful in trying to identify the name and author of a poem that my Mother would like read at her memorial service. I explained to Nikki that my Mother is currently in Hospice Care and has been getting things in order.  She wanted a particular poem read that so far we have been unable to identify the title or author of the poem or quote. We have seen it several times as a tribute in memory of loved ones in newspapers. Nikki, Thank you so much for all your help. Beth​"
  • "I like having access to librarians from all over the country. Sometimes they have different insights into a problem. Also, it's nice to be able to ask a quick question."
  • "Love having a live chat option!!"
  • "This reference website was more than enough help to answer all of my questions. I will definitely use this resource again!"
  • "The person that assisted me was very helpful.  They diligently looked for books that I was in search of.  I will use it again and recommend the service to others.  I am very pleased with my 1st experience using this service."
  • "quick and very helpful, couldn't ask for anything more!"
  • "The ask-the-librarian staff is extremely professional.  They almost read my mind and figure exactly what I need. I first ran into the info nature of the library when I was at the card catalogue and someone came in and asked the librarin for a list of all the businesses in AA CO.  The librarian immediately was able to help him.  That was years ago, and transformed the aaco into a place of knowledge above a place to get books. Congratulations and well done guys.  You did it again when I needed a specific issue of teh WSJ and you got it to me w/in 2 1/2 hours."
  • "The librarian was very gracious in sending me a site as I explored this service."
  • "The librarian gave me additional information and an article to review online about the question I asked!  Going above and beyond."
  • "This service is so very useful when trying to do college papers and other assignments. Thank you so much"
  • "I was one of the early Maryland AskUsNow librarians.  I haven't used the service since I retired, but I am so glad that it is still here."

And our favorite of the month:

  • "you don't have enough multiple choices that contain enough hyperbolic words to describe how extraordinarily great patient & compassionate linda the librarian is [from LA. CA?]  ...AND WHO EVEN THOUGHT OF AN EMERGENCY LIBRARIAN ON DUTY 24H/D...7D/W...52W/Y????!!!! THANK YOU!"

This month...

  • July has been an interesting month - full into the swing of our normally low summer numbers and provided hours.
  • Interns Fiona, KJ, and Spring continue to do fantastic jobs with their chat hours and other projects. 
  • The Refresher Training team wrapped up the Inner Harbor audit, looking at all the information in the IH, what needs updating, what needs deleting, and what can be co-opted for inclusion in the new learning center. They're on track for an end of August deadline.
  • Former Calvert county liaison Margie retired, previously replaced by Sarah Avant.
  • our statewide scripts were weeded
  • We held 4 New Staff Trainings - 
    • July 10th - 14 trained at AACPL West County
    • July 12th - 8 trained at Towson University (and a BIG thanks to Sue Tinanoff and Jim DeArmey of BCPL for taking over that training for Julie at the last minute)
    • July 18th - 13 trained during two back-to-back trainings at MCPL Rockville
  • We held a refresher training for Salisbury University on July 26th
  • ​Julie participated on the VR Coordinators call on July 25th. This is a monthly virtual meeting with other coordinators from similar consortial-based services in the US and Canada. 

2013 08 - August 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 1243 times this month.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1012 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 562 email/follow-ups.

Customer Love

  • With the newest members of my family requiring so much of my time. This was a great time saver. Thanks
  • I go on this website when I can't find what i'm searching for. I love it.
  • That was VERY informative and saved me time...didn't have to go to the library for just this question:)
  • Laura checked to make sure she understood my question before answering it - I guess in case I meant something else. That was good.  thanks for your help@!
  • I would like to thank "my librarian" Tanya for her patience and help.   I am not very good researching information on the computer and with Tanya's patience and knowledge will now be able to get more information regarding my book. Thank you so much for doing what you do!
  • Shaileen was very helpful and professional. A friend has been looking for a less painful and radio-active alternative to mammography. Several people have heard that thermography is not as effective and outweighs the fear of radiation side effects in traditional mammography. Shaileen has helped us make more informed decisions about our health. I hope that she happens to be the librarian on duty when I use AskUsNow in the future.
  • I was grateful that you were able to process my request so promptly. Top notch customer service! I look forward to visiting the library soon. I am anticipating a class or two perhaps in the spring semester. I am 60 yrs. young and know there is a lot more to learn. Knowledge is power. Creativity and zest for life and exploring so many resources available. I am impressed by the significant upgrades that are being made to the colleges. I will highly recommend Montgomery County Maryland College to others. Thank you so very much again. Fall season is upon us. The best is yet to come.
  • The library always offers best customer service. I always meet friendly people at customer service. Thanks.
  • Overall this was a great service.  I was able to obtain an answer to my question and i am now waiting for a response regarding the Overdrive special services program
  • helpful.  gave good advice.  was very nice and chat was easy and quick.
  • thanks so much . It will add a lot to my report.
  • Thank you so very much for helping me. I love my new Kindle Fire HD and I am looking forward to many wonderful hours of reading and learning all about it.. Thanks and have a great day...
  • FCPL is a great library. Staff at all branches and on line could not be more helpful, thank you
  • I used this site with my kids over the last 26 years and was always satisfied.  This is the first time I used it for myself and still greatly satifsied.  Still a fantastic service to offer.  great for upcoming readers students parents, etc.  Good JOB BCPL  keep up the good work and great service.  Thanks you
  • I loved the librarian I got from Pratt! She was super nice and gave me GREAT links for books that look enjoyable! She gave me exactly what I came for!!
  • This is a fantastic  service and I'm sure I'll be using it more, now that I know about it, thanks to a little magnet card, which I think I picked up earlier this year when CCPL had a booth at one of the expos at CCC.
  • Bruce was very positive and enlightening!

This month...

  • Julie configured the public www.askusnow.info site so that it now senses the browsers of mobile devices and presents a mobile friendly user interface to users of smartphones, tablets and other devices. 
  • Julie spent significant time this month documenting procedures, accounts, and login procedures in order to make that information available in a one-stop AskUsNow! administrator manual.  That document has already proven itself to be useful. 
  • A team (Julie, Catherine (MDSLL), Debbie (Howard), Susan (Pratt/SLRC), Erika (CCBC), Spring (Intern) and Sue (BCPL) performed a content audit on the Inner Harbor site. Some content was reorganized and out of date information was removed.
  • Julie reorganized the support and training information on the Inner Harbor website to make that wealth of information easier to find for providers and liaisons.
  • Planning is in process for the next liaison meeting which will be held on September 10 in the Crofton Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library.
  • Jim is gathering information in order to prepare the final grant report for the current fiscal year.

2013 09 - September 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 2223 times this month.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1304 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 648 email/follow-ups.

Customer Love

  • The person that helped was wonderful, knowledgeable, and very helpful.  Great service that I will use again.  So refreshing to have a help service that really works..
  • Pat C was very helpful.
  • This is very useful and Joe was amazing. Ill be using this again
  • Thanks very much to Karen, MD Harford Librarian for all her assistance.  Her insite and recommendations were extremely helpful.  I'm sorry that I never knew this service existed.
  • Thank you so much, I appreciate all the librarians who take their time out to help us
  • John was very helpful and he was very kind to look up sites for me and take his time out of his day to help me i am very greatful to have someone help me online that i know i can trust.
  • The accuracy and promptness is appreciated.  Thanks also for using language to understable.
  • The librarians usually find me what I need, and are always nice.
  • I appreciated the Librarian's willingness to find the exact answer.  She did not give up.
  • i thank the help of Quinn gave it was simple, direct and appear to be a likable individual thanks again for your help
  • Marjorie, is very helpful, informative and quick with the information gather and delivered willing to help and question to further help the quest of  the topic, thank u alot and i personally recommended with your help again but also recommendeded for others aswel thank u.
  • I began my research and ended in a database that required a library card. I tried to use my Boston card and it didn't work. Nice try... I then went to your website thinking I might be able to get a temporary card and there was your ask a librarian service. I am so pleased that you offer this service. The librarian was wonderful.
  • This is an amazing service, I wish I had remembered about it earlier, like before the weekend. I needed a lot of statistics and other information that google was just not leading to, so the sites that the librarian suggested were all sites that I will most likely use in the future. Thanks for providing such an efficient, effective service that is accessible even to people with little funding.
  • Friendly, knowledgeable, efficient! Wonderful and thank you!
  • Amazingly efficient! Thanks again.
  • Keep up the good work!!

This month...

  • The quarterly liaison meeting was held at the Crofton Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library on September 10.  Notes from that meeting are available in the Liaisons section of the AskUsNow! Inner Harbor site. 
  • Work is under way to review the AskUsNow! service in order to develop recommendations for an ongoing service model.  Data collection and has been the focus of that effort during the month of September.
  • The transition to an interim project coordinator has gone relatively smoothly  No new projects have been initiated during the period of transition. 
  • As we moved from summer into a new school year the service saw the usual increase in activity. 
  • The final grant report is in progress and should be completed shortly. 

2013 10 - October 2013 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 3371 times this month - a 51.6% increase from 2223 in September.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1857 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 646 email/follow-ups.

Customer Love

  • Amazing service!! Every question I had was answered quickly and accurately. Very helpful staff member. Thank you, thank you. Much better than calling a branch!
  • service was quick
  • I was having problems getting a response from the Marriages database. When I used the chat feature, I was very pleased with the response since the librarian was clearly interested in resolving the problem. She said there was a technical problem, and I said I'd try the next day. What really pleasantly surprised me was the follow-up e-mail this morning letting me know the system as working again. That is great customer support!
  • I had The opportunity to have Mr. JR from MD Calvert Library, very nice person and helped with with everything that i needed to find. Even though things got confusing he stuck with me the whole time, where in the past librarians have given up on helping me. Thank you Mr. JR!
  • I am super happy with the services i received tonight
  • I thought it was great, i thought i was going to have to make a special trip to the library to come up with an answer regarding whether we needed to absentee ballots for some election in early November. I was fairly sure there was no election coming up and she had a vague thought that there was going to be an election. Neither of us wanted to miss out. She tried a number we had on file that used to work to contact a reference librarian. The number no longer worked. The replacement service of a chat line seemed to work just fine.
  • I spoke to Sharon and found her to be great. Thanks Sharon!!!
  • Librarian was very friendly and professional. I was given more information than I expected. The librarian also taught me where and how the information was found.
  • The online support from the librarian (in another county) was outstanding! Many thanks. Great service. Maybe you can take over the health care exchanges? ;-)
  • I received a very prompt and perfect response to my question! I've already used the information I requested (which database to use for a particular type of search) and found what I needed. Thank you so much.
  • The interlibrary loan service Maria seems really great. I am glad it is free for folks to use to request books.
  • Librarian Cindy was awesome! Provided great websites and made sure my question was fully answered!
  • The website recommended is excellent. I appreciate it, and will probably get a wonderful grade due to it. Thank you very much.
  • Thanks a lot, the services are perfect and the staff are so kind and friendly.The answering techniques also is fine.
  • Kind and quick response - Thank You.
  • Quite easy to find the answer to my question. Librarian was quick to respond, knowledgeable and polite, and answered my question fully. Thanks!
  • ALL WAS GREAT
  • Librarian 'MD Pratt/SLRC Librarian Shaileen' was excellent. She went above and beyond to answer my question. Sadly I was called away from the computer during her search and was unable to thank her before she was called away. I hope that, if I ever have another question for this system, I can get help from someone at least a quarter as awesome as Shaileen was today. Thank you for your help, Shaileen!
  • The librarian was very helpful, and stuck with me till my question was fully answered.
  • Asked a pretty hard question but my librarian answered my question in a short amount of time.
  • I have used this chat with a librarian multiple times before and I like it a lot. the staff is very friendly. the staff is very helpful with finding information that is useful. I have even recommended this to some of my friends because this is so very helpful. I use this a lot for projects in every subject. im so glad that my librarian has told me about this or I would've failed many assignments...thank you to all of the librarians for helping me and anyone else that has used this... I hope were as satisfied as me. happy Halloween and be safe...

This month...

  • All of the survey comments above were encouraging to read.  This one, coming just after the close of AskUsNow's 10th year, was especially so: "love you go the extra mile. thank you from elementary to college...you have gone with me. thank you again."
  • Various edits were made to the the public website and the Inner Harbor site to add content and to fix some broken links that were the result of site reconfiguration at the end of August.
  • A project to extract and tabulate survey response data from all surveys submitted in 2012 and 2013 was completed.  AskUsNow! customers submitted 3,319 surveys from January 1, 2012 through the last day of the sample period, October 28, 2013. 
  • Work continues to review the AskUsNow! service in order to develop recommendations for an ongoing service model.
  • The final grant report was completed and submitted. 

2013 11 - November 2013 Monthly Report

  

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 2728 times this month - a decrease from the spike we had in October but still up 15% from November 2012.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1557 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 556 email/follow-ups.

Customer Love

  • John was very polite, thorough, informative and sensitive to my situation.
  • THIS WEBSITE ROCKSSSS
  • tell paul he was fun to talk to
  • Very friendly and helpful librarian, great service!
  • Excellent support, Vicki
  • As I told the librarian who assisted me, I don't use it often, but will be tempted to do so. Thanks for the service. It really saved me a lot of time.
  • Thanks for the service. It's very helpful and easy to use.
  • the advice was helpful. appreciate access to online help.
  • I loved how quickly the librarian answered my question.
  • My librarian was Joe and he was very nice and even though he had more than one patron, he was kind about it! I love the Ask Us Now service!
  • I didn't expect to have  a live chat at 10:35 pm.  This is a wonderful service! Thank You
  • My librarian, Wendy from Delaware, was exceptional. She made it easy for me to find information quickly and it was appropriate for my age.  She was also very positive and made me want to visit the site again.
  • Shaileen was wonderful. She provided me lots of resources in answer to my question. She should get a raise! She was so fast, too. Thanks for hiring people who genuinely want to help.
  • Very responsive and fast. Great customer service. Thanks.
  • Keep up the good work :)
  • What a great site!! Thanks for staffing this!
  • Heather was a wonderful resource! Very quick and efficient searching out my request.
  • So happy to have a question answered so conveniently. Since I have very very poor cell phone reception here, calling would not have been very successful. This chat worked very well for me. Thank you.
  • Great customer service. I had a wonderful experience. Thanks for providing this option!
  • Nice job and thanks for the assistance!
  • Just keep doing what you are doing! :)
  • Librarian was MORE than helpful. I will definitely bookmark this site for future reference!
  • very good job!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • this was terrific, librarian was very helpful! thanks so much!
  • Sue was terrific! Very helpful -- even provided information that I did not know I wanted but actually needed. I am very appreciative of her kind attention.
  • I LOVE THIS!!!!!THE INFO IS RIGHT AT MY FINGERTIPS!!!!!!LOVE YOU GUYS
  • It was great to finally find a source but the librarian was VERY kind and helpful I will defiantly use this again!!!! :)

This month...

  • Gail Griffith presented the results of her data analysis and interviews to a group representing DLDS, SLRC and BCPL.
  • The December liaison meeting was canceled. 
  • Discusions continued about the future home and governance of AskUsNow!  A plan should be in place in January.

2013 12 - December 2013 Monthly Report

  

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 2510 times this month - an expected decrease from November but up 40% from the unusually low number we saw in December 2012.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1264 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 497 email/follow-ups.

Customer Love

  • john is awesome he should be a billionare
  • My libraian did help me with my assignment a lot. She gave me very important pieces of evidence which i proberly couldn't find myself. Thank you libraian Kim.
  • This was one of the best things ever to help me find information for projects. Or about anything!
  • THe librarian who assisted me was very customer friendly and provided superior service.
  • Liz from the FCPL was very helpful, even offering options to locate materials elsewhere!
  • Such an awesome experience!!!! Multiple librarians working on finding a book that I have very little information about from about 25 years ago! such great attitudes and willingness to try and help!! the ONLY reason I rated it as "somewhat" satisfied is because none of us could find the book, lol. but they are still looking for me and took my email address in hopes of finding it tomorrow. thanks for offering such a fantastic service and a special thanks to Len, Jen and the other librarians at Howard County Central Library for all their efforts. Please acknowledge their hard work and express my sincere gratitude!
  • The Librarian was very helpful and provided me with support until my question was fully answer. She did a great job asking me questions to get me in track to properly research my topic.
  • I always go to askusnow.org when I'm having trouble with research. This is a great website. Keep up the good wok1
  • My question was answered very promptly. Appreciate it!
  • Sharyl provided me with an outstanding service and help. She did a wonderful job not only helping me getting my search criteria right, but also providing me with education and helpful tips to get the right source of info from the DB. Job well done Sharyl!
  • Blesws you and hooray for books.
  • I LOVE THIS WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Kendra was very helpful and offered to contact two area libraries for me regarding book donations.Her assistance and courtesy are very appreciated!
  • I loved that I found out about this. Last time, they helped me with my math homework!
  • Very helpful :)
  • You were very helpful and thank you for your cooperation.
  • It was a nice chat, and I appreciate the information. I also appreciate the fact that I get to talk to an actual person, instead of a robot.
  • they really do know what they are doing and talking about
  • Very helpful. Thanks much.
  • very helpful.... thank you.
  • I am a retired librarian and absolutely love this service. I have worked abroad in a library as a volunteer much of the past 8 years. When our library was inadequate for some reference ???, I would pull this wonderful 'rabbit out of my hat' and the answer would fly across the ocean to us. Everyone was always astonished and jealous. I was always PROUD.
  • Happened upon this site when I was checking on my library requests. It was easy and helpful.
  • Extremely helpful and professional librarian named Jennifer helped me.
  • Thanks to Shaileen, I will be using this service again. I wish everyone would use the library system. The state of Maryland need to support the libraries more. Maryland needs to promote the libraries with all the advantages that is offered. Again thanks to Shaileen for all of here help
  • Thrilled to have spoken with a live person about my problem. She checked the system for login problems. Thank you very much. Leah
  • I was really at a loss as to where to start on my project, as this is my first time doing a project of this nature. It was a big help.
  • I really enjoy how the staff is so repectful and nice. This service is what I will be using very often! I really enjoy this service. I'll even recommend it to my friends and parents! This isn't only for students. It's for all ages. And my parents would be so happy about that! Thanks!
  • Librarian responding to my question was super helpful

 

This month...

  • Routine maintenance work continued on the public and staff websites.
  • A threatening session, begun by an out of state customer trying to contact a library in New York state, was handled by a Maryland librarian.  Quick follow through by the local library system resulted in alerts to local emergency responders and to QuestionPoint.  The customer had initiated similar sessions in the past. Based on action taken by Maryland staff, QuestionPoint sent an alert to other providers in the cooperative.
  • An announcement about the future management of the AskUsNow! service is expected at the end of January.

2014 01 - January 2014 Monthly Report

By the Numbers: 

  • Maryland customers came into the service 2188 times this month - up 10% from January 2013.
  • Maryland librarians helped 1235 customers across the planet this month.
  • Across the state, we helped with 653 email/follow-ups.

 

Customer Love

  • I had no idea of the online resources that were available. The librarian helped me to select the appropriate terms for which to search and how to limit my search to get the full text articles that I needed. I would have wasted a great deal of time had it not been for his/her assistance. The help was greatly appreciated!
  • thanks a lot for the services you give to people. It is a very useful for those who don't know how to get their Qs' answers. So, if we don't get the needed answers, you guide us with another resources and refer us to them. thank you very much for this thoughtful help. good luck.
  • I am a librarian in Florida. Susan was very helpful in giving me information to direct a patron to services available in Maryland.  You have excellent customer service !
  • I was very glad with the results of this website. at first i was scared but now i see should not have been worried at all. i just want to say thank you for your service.
  • i just want to say thank you a lot for your help.
  • The librarian was great! I had been searching for hours and was having so much trouble finding literary criticism on Sun, Moon, and Talia and within a few minutes the librarian was able to locate two great journal articles. Thank you so so much, I love the chat service, you all are great!!
  • I found this service very helpful.
  • You guys are the absolute best, I don't think I could make it through my senior year research paper without you all. Harford County Annette was so helpful, I will for sure be back to visit again soon :)
  • It was very helpful to talk with a librarian. She was very quick at finding information and gave me tips about how she looked up information as well.
  • The reason I'm somewhat satisfied is only because there's pretty much nothing on the topic I'm looking for (criticism of Taylor Swift's song "Love Story") but the librarian tried to help and I appreciate that very much!
  • They were really nice about it.
  • I stumbled across this service and did not know it existed. I love it. I love it and I love EPFL forever. I forgot the young ladies name but she was prompt and professional and gave me exactly what I needed. I have already told my girlfriend about the service this morning and she said she was aware but had not used but is now going to try it. Thanks a bunch and kudos to EPFL for the great work you do. I would like to think that Mr. Pratt would be very proud.
  • Thanks for helping me via chat! Very quick and convenient for little questions.
  • Wonderful service and offer to follow up via email. Thank you!
  • My question was specifically related to Montgomery County MD offerings, but was answered by a librarian in Baltimore. She took the time to contact Montgomery County and find the correct information, giving me a phone link if I had additional questions. Very helpful.
  • I was looking for an add on for what we are learning in reading and my librarian named Sue ( BCPL) was very nice!!
  • I appreciate the patience and helpful information provided. Service was outstanding.
  • Very helpful and understanding when I wasn't able to call branch. :)
  • I find it very convenient and helpful. I hope it will continue.
  • I will always used this service! It is/was/will always be a greater than great service for me.
  • Please keep this service available to library patrons. It really is a big help!
  • Thanks to Zara a 24/7 librarian !
  • I am very glad to have the assistance of a librarian online when I have a question.
  • I love it!
  • Very timely
  • ALL WAS GREAT
  • The library staff have always been very responsive to my requests for assistance, and very helpful. I have been impressed with how customer-service oriented they are, and very happy with the results.
  • I posed a difficult question and the staff assured me they would research it and get back to me. I appreciated their honesty and interest in trying to help me, even if they are unable to do so.
  • Of course, I wanted and immediate answer to my question but the librarian did offer to find out more and took my email address in order to send an answer when it's found, so that's okay. :)
  • The overall experience with your customer service was awesome. Keep up good work
  • I was impressed with the speedy, informative response...unbelievable!!!
  • Very convenient and quick response, very helpful

This month...

  • Sonia Alcantara-Antoine and Jim DeArmey represented Maryland AskUsNow! at a QuestionPoint focus group session at the ALA Midwinter conference in Philadelphia.  In addition to AskUsNow!, several large public libraries, library cooperatives and academic libraries were represented. It was clear to see that AskUsNow! is respected as a high quality service by those who attended the session.
  • At the end of the month an official announcement was made to MAPLA and to the AskUsNow! email list, making it official that the management of the Maryland AskUsNow! service has transferred from the Baltimore County Public Library to the Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center.

2014 02 - February 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

February 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2227 questions via chat in February.
  • Maryland librarians handled 2119 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 560 email/follow-ups.

 

Customers Comments

  • Joanne was not only helpful but personable.  It seemed as personal as being in the library.  She was gracious and helpful especially when she was not able to find exactly what I wanted she tried a few other things before we concluded.  I also liked how helpful she was in providing suggestions to advance my search.  This is one of the best uses of my tax paying dollars I have seen.  More people should know about this.  Keep up the good and useful work.  I really like the 24/7 feature.  Its 1:43 am and I never expected anything like this.  Great feature.  Thank Joanne for me again.
  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this feature!!!!You guys are the greatest!!!!!!!
  • Response was quick and answers were exactly what I needed. Appreciated her patience with me.
  • Thanks for being so nice Antonio.
  • Kudos to Worchester Librarian Lark! His guidance and assistance made it possible to complete my research. My compliments!!
  • Your Library staff was very well informed & helped me out greatly.  He should be commended! GREAT service!
  • Liz from FCPL was excellent and went above and beyond helping me with my question! I really appreciated that Liz took the time to understand what I was looking for and to think about where I could find scholarly articles.
  • Awesome help! I will definitely use this again. If I knew how helpful it was before, I would have already been using this! Thanks again, the librarian was excellent and very patient with me!!!
  • Great librarian. Exceptional service and very patient too. Walked me through the entire process. Thank you so much
  • Wren was great! Found the information quickly and helped a ton!
  • Wonderful!
  • I very much want to thank Allan Holtzman for finding the 50 year old article about my grandfather from the Washington Post.  All I had until this point was a poor, faded photo copy.  The image files he provided are excellent and brought out details that I have not seen before.

 

Month in Review

  • The position for Statewide Coordinator for Maryland AskUsNow! has been announced and we are accepting applications.
  • As Interim Coordinator for Maryland AskUsNow!, Sonia Alcantara-Antoine has represented the service at the Statewide Marketing Coordinators meeting and the OCLC 24/7 Advisory Board meeting.

 

2014 03 - March 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

March 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2357 questions via chat in March, an increase of nearly 6% since February.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1345 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 609 email/follow-ups.

 

Customers Comments

  • What a wonderful service.  My thanks to the library staff.
  • Joanne was a very good helper on what I needed and she did it really fast.
  • This is a great resource for everyone.  It is particularly useful for deaf and hard of hearing people who have a hard time using the phone. Thank you.
  • Quick response - good service!
  • VERY Helpful.  Thanks so much for offering the service!
  • Very useful tool for research
  • I am in TX and I needed the help soon.   Very nice service.  
  • Very helpful and was easily use. I was in at out in no time and got the answer I was looking for.
  • I found Paty to be extremely nice and well informed. Her demeanor has definitely influenced my decision to use this service again.
  • Excellent service, and courteous!!!  I shall bug you again! 
  • MD AArundel Librarian Deb was very quick, efficient, informative and accurate. Thank you!!
  • I love you.
  • This is a great service...please continue to make it available!
  • I found librarian very helpful, despite of she was not from my college library... moreover, she referred my questions to my college librarian also... and it was very nice when next day i got email from my college librarian with helpful advices ...
  • Have never tried this and found it amazing!  So much easier than going to the library to find out where I need to go for the AAC books.  Thanks!
  • I live in Maryland and got connected with Devon in Vancouver, WA.  I thought I made a horrible mistake.  Devon was able to check my local library and found the book I had been looking for.  She was fantastic!  What a great service.  Thanks to all who do this.

 

Month in Review

  • The position for Statewide Coordinator for Maryland AskUsNow! has been announced and we continue to accept applications.
  • AUN logo has been placed in a more prominent position on the Pratt Library website.
  • Due to limited staffing, Caroline County Public Library will become a referral only partner as of July 1, 2014.  They will not cover chat hours (currently, they only cover 4 hours of global each week), but will still be members of the network so that they can receive and respond to shared follow-up queries from their customers.

 

2014 04 - April 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

April 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2419 questions via chat in April, an increase of 2.6% over the previous month.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1439 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 535 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • I really do appreciate her help and the vast resources that this site put at my disposal.
  • Naomi (Pratt) was very helpful—my first time using the site, so I wasn't quick in figuring out what and how to make it work. She kept looking and researching to find the info I needed.
  • Staff person who helped me was very competent, polite and kind.
  • I <3 Librarian Dan
  • Thanks so much!!! Len was very helpful with answering my question. THANKS!
  • Amazing that this is a free service. Thanks so much!
  • Thank you.  It's confirming to be able to depend on library services throughout my life as a student, parent and older woman.
  • I was researching my grandfather's background and ended up sending a request for a book.  John Krivak of the Prince George's County Library pointed me in the right direction first time and I will be getting a copy of the book.  Great job!
  • I'm new to the world of e-readers and just needed a little initial guidance to learn if my Kindle was compatible with the books available with the public library. My chatting librarian was fantastic in helping me with my questions. Thank you!
  • Thank you for providing this service to us. I am a big fan of my local library, South Bowie. The folks there are wonderful and I am pleased to commend them and the online service.
  • I'm an out of state academic researcher and this 'chat' service allows me to identify materials and resources prior to traveling to the state for research. It is extraordinarily helpful.
  • I loved the way that she stuck with me and helped me with my problem until I had understood.

 

Month in Review

  • Visits to the following academic partners have been scheduled for May and June:
    • Allegany College of Maryland
    • Anne Arundel Community College
    • Baltimore City Community College
    • Community College of Baltimore County
    • Frostburg University
    • Montgomery College
    • Prince Georges Community College
    • Salisbury University
    • Towson University
    • University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
  • Interviewed 2 potential candidates to intern with AUN over the summer.  One has been selected based on her experience building and maintaining websites.  She will be used to conduct usability tests for the Inner Harbor website, “clean up” the current Inner Harbor site, and provide some assistance to Pratt’s Web Department which will ultimately rebuild a completely new site for AUN liaisons and providers. 
  • Classes for new AUN liaisons scheduled for June 11, June 19, and July 16.  We have 39 registered and 8 available seats.
  • Participated in 24/7 Cooperative Advisory Group meeting.  Successfully advocated for a change in policy that would require librarians to refer local questions to the customer’s library for follow up.

 

 

2014 05 - May 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1677 questions via chat in May.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1042 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 548 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • I appreciated the efficiency and promptness with which Elsa responded to my questions.
  • I was impressed that a librarian in Texas answered my question about the Baltimore County library system, and in less than a minute.  She also sent me the page I was looking for.  Thank you!
  • The librarian gave me terrific links that answered all my questions, plus gave me additional information on the subject. Very easy and enjoyable chat session.
  • The librarian I spoke with was sooooooo helpful!!! and through! What a great service.
  • It's a great service and I have told many about it over the years.  Thank you for being there!
  • The librarian's responses were extremely prompt and exactly what was needed.  The service was excellent.
  • I was very satisfied with the service Pat provided to me. She was very knowledgeable, quick and pleasant. I will definitely inform friends and family about this service. Pat's performance was outstanding.
  • Very helpful! Found the book I was looking for even though I had very little information to go on.
  • I really loved how the librarian made it clear when she'd read books and not - and also that she drew from a wide range of genres and approaches.  Thanks!
  • I love the new chat technology that the library is using. It's very convenient.
  • I truly love this service! I'm so grateful for it. Sometimes it's just so hard to figure out where to start to get the information you want.
  • I can’t thank you enough for the fast response! I am currently living in South Korea where the time difference is 13 hours and unable to call during regular business hours to find out about my account. I was amazed to receive a response within hours.
  • Sue from BCPL MD was VERY nice and suited my needs!
  • love the librarians that help in different countries
  • very happy with this chat thingy!!
  • Thank you for your service.  My out of state library card is worth it!

 

 

 

 

Month in Review

  • Offered AUN Coordinator position to Paul Chasen, former head of the Grants Collection at Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center.  Anticipated start date is July 7, 2014.  Formal announcement to Maryland library community and national 24/7 virtual reference network will go out soon.
  • Visited the following academic partners:  
    • Allegany College of Maryland
    • Anne Arundel Community College
    • Frostburg University
    • Prince Georges Community College

The libraries offered strong suggestions for making the service more relevant to their students, including: better coordination with K-12 schools so that class bombs are less frequent; using social media to market the service to college students; having updated marketing materials; and reinforcing the use of library databases to answer questions.Overall, the visits strengthened the relationship between AUN and these libraries.Six more visits are scheduled in June.

  • Selected Victoria Smith, a UMCP student, to intern with AUN over the summer.  Victoria will be used to conduct usability tests for the Inner Harbor website, “clean up” the current Inner Harbor site, and provide data to Pratt’s Web Department for when they rebuild a new site for AUN liaisons and providers.  In addition, Victoria will assist in devising a marketing plan for AUN.
  • Met with Dennis Nangle and Rocco Debonis to discuss required AUN Grant reporting and use of funds for marketing purposes in the current grant year. 
  • In anticipation of the first training class for new AUN chat providers in over a year, worked with Jim DeArmey at BCPL to track the completion of training modules by students.  (Students are required to complete online modules before the F2F class on June 11th.)

 

 

2014 06 - June 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

June 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1328 questions via chat in June.
  • Maryland librarians handled 893 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 524 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • I find this service quick, reliable, and extreamly efficient . Really like using it.
  • Many of the librarians are extremely nice and offer lots of help.
  • Love this service! Immediate response. Very helpful!
  • grateful for this system!   i didn't have to make multiple trips to the library.
  • I appreciate the help I received from my chat assistant, Joanne.
  • Erin was very helpful in directing me to the appropriate location to obtain the information I am seeking.
  • The librarian was very quick to answer I really liked that I didn't have to wait all day for an answer.
  • This is a very convenient feature - the librarian was quick to respond and helpful.
  • What a wonderful service!  Thank you.  I just "spoke" with the nicest most helpful person.  That kind of service just doesn't happen every day!  It was greatly appreciated.
  • The response was fast, coming from someone outside the area. He did a quick search and offered more in-depth assistance.  Thanks for an excellent service.

 

 

Month in Review

  • Visited the following academic partners:  
    • Baltimore City Community College
    • Community College of Baltimore County
    • Salisbury University
    • Towson University
    • University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

The libraries offered strong suggestions for making the service more relevant to their students.The current statewide schedule and quality control issues were also discussed.Overall, the visits strengthened the relationship between AUN and these libraries.

  • Chaired quarterly AUN Liaison Meeting on June 10th, which was held at Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown Branch.  Attendance included representatives from academic library partners which had just recently been visited by AUN Interim Coordinator.  Featured speaker was Susan McGlamery, OCLC who discussed recent upgrades to the QuestionPoint software and reporting tools.
  • Conducted 2 training sessions for 25 new AUN providers at the following locations: BCPL, Dundalk Branch and Southern Maryland Regional Library Association.
  • Attended QuestionPoint user group meetings at ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.  Feedback was solicited from major users of the global virtual reference network on changes to the software.

 

 

 

2014 07 - July 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

July 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1215 questions via chat in July.
  • Maryland librarians handled 931 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 581 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • “I was stumped in my attempts to do research. Sara was very patient for me and steered me in the right direction. I am really pleased with the service and grateful for Sara's help.”
  • “Prompt response and I was asked if I had any other questions.  That is good.”
  • “The librarian was very astute and asked good follow-up questions.”
  • “Librarian was extremely helpful and kind. I believe her name was Carolyn? Answered ALL of my questions! Thank you so much...wonderful service!”
  • “The person I was speaking to made me fell clam [calm] and took me though it and gave me my option. This was great and anytime I have a question [w] ill come right back. It was great service. Thank you so much for all your help”
  • “the librarian was so joyful!”
  • “The staff was super and very professional and friendly.  Once again thank you very much.”
  • “I like 24-hour feature of this service”
  • “Librarian most helpful and asked for clarification. Excellent service!!”
  • “I was very impressed that an Allegany County librarian picked up my question when there was no Montgomery County librarian available.  The individual did an amazing job of finding out information which would be specific to MCPL.  Very helpful!”
  • “very helpful, was on vacation and was able to take care of my request.  thank you”
  • “The librarian that helped me was very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  I learned a lot today and I will definitely recommend this service to my friends and the people that I work with.”

 

Month in Review

  • Paul Chasen started as the Statewide Coordinator, Maryland AskUsNow!, on July 7, 2014.
  • Discussed best practices in virtual reference behavior, data compiling, and scheduling with Susan McGlamery at OCLC.
  • Revised and updated the AUN Inner Harbor Website’s Statewide Schedule.  AUN partners submitted in their current Maryland and global chat hours.  Follow-up will continue with the partners to revise the schedule and further meet the scheduling policy of the QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative.
  • Victoria Smith, the AUN Summer Intern, made a “short term fixes” document that gives suggestions on how to clean up the Inner Harbor website.  In collaboration with the Pratt Web Department, she is finalizing a usability study survey to be sent out to the AUN liaisons in August.
  • Scheduled two academic partner visits in August:
    • Stevenson University
    • Montgomery College
  • Submitted a first quarter AUN marketing strategy for the SLRC FY 15 Annual Plan.
  • Planned in collaboration with the Pratt Web Department and BCPL’s Information Services and Technology Departments the migration of the AUN website from BCPL to Pratt in August 2014.

2014 08 - August 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

August 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1214 questions via chat in August.
  • Maryland librarians handled 808 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 553 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • I didn't [think] this that I would get this much help. Paying attention to the librarian seems to be helping me with my question.Thank you.
  • This was extremely helpful information in order to access the data needed.  With the help of Library staff and webmaster@askusnow.info we were able to acquire the historic  information we needed.
  • Ms Veronica gave me some ideas that haven't thought about. In my goal of learn supportive housing. Thank you.
  • Gillian was very very helpful. It seems like she works in the library which I was asking about. She gave me helpful links to explain the borrowing process on this campus. She even helped me decipher how to renew the borrowed books because it is somewhat confusing. Overall, I am beyond satisfied with this wonderful service. Thank you for such assistance!!!
  • Hi Shannon,  I enjoyed our litte chat,  It was a pleasure to have this conversation with you, and to know that we have this kind of services.   I did call the Library and some one told me just what you said,  So I did fill out the application and fax it back today.
    Thank you, I hope we can get the opportunity to do this again.
    By have a great day.
  • The librarian was very knowledgable and knew exactly what information and resources I needed after telling her what I was looking for, she was such a huge help.
  • Librarian from TX was helping me with account questions for my non-resident Maryland account.  I was surprised someone who was not local could be so helpful and gather information so quickly.  I appreciated her help as well as simply the ability to reach a live person at this odd hour.  Wonderful!!
  • The librarian I chatted with online was very courteous, professional, and helpful.
  • Quickly and professionally handled.
  • My librarian was extremely helpful and insightful. Great chat.
  • Great resource to use when you can not make it to the library.  Wish I knew about this sooner.
  • This was my second time using this service.  I am very impressed with the excellent response and follow-up.
  • Fantastic service! Easy to use. Courteous staff. I will definitely use this service and recommend it to others!
  • Thank you for having a librarian available 24/7! Jonathan was extremely helpful and courteous.
  • Very quick response, it was a pleasant experience
  • She was extra thorough and it seems now that the information is correct.  In addition, she offered to do more research and will email me later. That's very much appreciated, especially since I am inquiring on behalf of a large group of people.
  • thanks so much for the ease of use..  I needed to renew two items and I was able to do so using the chat line.  I couldn't find my PIN.  This was a great alternative.
  • I was surprised that the librarian answering the question could be from another location within the state. She was extremely helpful and offered to forward my concern if I provided my library account number. She offered every possible suggestion. The wait was not long at all.

 

Month in Review

  • Submitted in the FY14 Managing for Results report to DLDS. 
    • AUN user satisfaction increased 1% (88% in FY13 to 89% in FY14).
    • AUN users asked 1179 more questions in FY14 compared to FY13.
  • Visited the following academic partners: 
    • Stevenson University
    • Montgomery College
    • The libraries continue to offer strong suggestions for making the service more relevant to their students.  The current statewide schedule and quality control issues were also discussed.  Additional suggestions included training ideas for AUN providers, and marketing online and at campus events.  Overall, the visits continue to strengthen the relationship between AUN and these libraries.
  • Updated the following information and revised it on the AUN Inner Harbor and customer webpages:
    • Chat Resources
    • Information for Schools
    • New Staff and Refresher Training
    • Statewide Schedule.
  • Victoria Smith completed her internship about improving the AUN Inner Harbor website. In collaboration with the Pratt Web Department, she developed an AUN Inner Harbor website usability survey for AUN liaisons and providers.  The survey will be released at the September AUN Liaison Meeting.  She also made a usability survey, short-term fixes document that will supplement the redesigning of the website, and a white paper on AUN, SLRC, and virtual reference services.
  • Attended the QuestionPoint Virtual User Group Meeting.  Attendees learned about chat software enhancements that have and will be taking place in 2014-2015. 
  • Initiated, and continuing a conversation, with other statewide virtual reference providers about rebranding AUN.
  • Developing AUN new staff and refresher training for the Fall 2014. 

2014 09 - September 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

September 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1729 questions via chat in September.
  • Maryland librarians handled 971 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 653 email questions. 

Customers Comments

  • I have always had good response to my inquiries from this channel/website.  Keep up the good work.
  • Promt - courteous - kind...even in words
  • Ms Susan was very helpful in being the voice of reason while we tried to figure out how to appeal for my food stamp benefits, thank you.
  • Great help at a moments notice, wow really amazing.  Great job MD at St. Mary's.
  • The librarian Jeanne gave me two good leads.
  • The librarian i spoke to was very helpful. I was able to gain all the answers I was looking for. I will DEFINITELY use this site again.
  • The staff member was very helpful, knowledgeable and went out of his/her way (and beyond the end of the staff member's shift) to help satisfy my obscure requirement. Bravo!
  • This website is so helpful in finding sources!!!!
  • Quick and easy to use.
  • This librarian told me what I needed and then some. It shows how your librarian could help you find and seek information.
  • The librarians were very helpful, and the sources for my paper that they gave me were superb.
  • I liked how quick it took for a librarian to answer me!!!
  • Librarians ROCK!
  • The time they took to answer my question was really fast and a speedy response. They do not make you forever which is great and they also give you additional information that you can read for yourself. Awesome service
  • This is a very great service provided for us students. Keep doing a great job with your services provided at your website and/or the Hyattsvile public library.
  • The Librarian I chatted with was in Denver because my library was closed.  He was very helpful and passed my query on to my library by email.  This is a useful service.
  • So cool!!
  • Thanks so much to Deb Bancroft!
  • The math question was not easy but the librarian helped me work through the steps for a logical answer - enough for me to ask a logical question to the teacher the next day.  I feel confident the answer is correct but will walk through the process tomorrow in school.  I'm so glad this source was here to help me.

Month in Review

  • Chaired the September 2014 Liaisons meeting at the Orleans Street Branch, Enoch Pratt Free Library.  Dennis Nangle from DLDS was in attendance to talk about the importance of the Managing for Results report in relation to AskUsNow!.   Topics of discussion also included marketing, training, Qwidget use and implementation, and AskUsNow! partner visits.
  • Completed the AskUsNow! website migration in cooperation with the Pratt Web Department and BCPL Technology Support and Information Services Departments.
  • Submitted in the FFY15 LSTA Grant Application.
  • Trained six librarians at the New Staff Training at the Elkton Central Branch, Cecil County Public Library.
  • Visited the following partners: 
    • Maryland Nonprofits
      • Provided information and demonstrated the QuestionPoint chat software, and reviewed the Liaison and Provider training.
      • Discussed marketing strategies to a nonprofit organization audience.
    • Baltimore County Public Library
      • Discussed marketing strategies to community colleges, schools through the BCPS/BCPL Students Achieve in Libraries (SAIL) Program, and audiences that fit the “Personal Interest” category. 
      • Discussed future refresher training topics.
  • Promoted AskUsNow!  at the Baltimore Book Festival in cooperation with the Maryland Library Association.
  • Received 82 responses to the AskUsNow! Inner Harbor survey in cooperation with the Pratt Web Department.   The responses will be evaluated in October.
  • Initiated, and continuing a conversation, with other statewide virtual reference providers about rebranding AUN. 
  • Learned about the rebranding process from two marketing consultants.
  • Submitted in information for a future IMLS blog posting.
  • Developing AUN new staff and refresher training for the Fall SLRC Conference, CCBC-Catonsville, and Baltimore City media specialists. 

2014 10 - October 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

October 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2065 questions via chat in October.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1077 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 691 email questions. 

Customers Comments

  • Excellent resource to have on a Saturday afternoon!
  • This is the first I have been using the live chat service from your library. I just moved to the states two monthly ago and I am not quite familiar with your system, but i was impressed by your staff, Joanne's service. She explained library policy to me and provided constructional advice on how to solve my problem. I appreciate her kind help.
  • I had not used this service previously and could have called up the local library as they were still open.  That said, I just wanted to figure out how to locate the books in the branches as I previously did without problem.  Jonathan gave me the information I needed.
    This is a very good service, especially for seniors like me who may not be comfortable with navigating web sites.
    Thank you!
  • This was a wonderful first experience with your service.  I'm sure I will use it again and recommend it to others.
  • Amazing!  I got top-notch reference assistance at 10:30pm, Sunday night on a holiday weekend.  I'm very impressed.
  • My responder was EXTREMELY helpful. I asked a question regarding my difficulty with logging into the website - absolutely nothing to do with library references - and she was able to help me through it within three minutes, despite being located in a different state. I cannot express how grateful I am towards this service.
  • Laura was excellent. I was looking for some material for my 5th grade son who is doing a product on Native American-Oneida.
  • Tim was a big help! He was patient with me and responded to all my questions and confusion!
  • The best way to help students when they don't know where to find it or have a query
  • I'm not sure who it was who helped me but s/he was awesome! I had an assignment as a MLIS student where I had to evaluate several libraries virtual reference and your reference staff was BY FAR the BEST!
  • the staff are so friendly! :)
  • What a fabulous service - so easy and the librarian was knowledgable and helpful.   I got my question answered even after hours.   Thank you!

Month in Review

  • 18 librarians attended the AskUsNow! “Virtual Reference Tips” training session at the Fall 2014 SLRC Conference.  The librarians evaluated their experiences as chat reference customers, and learned how to find and share authoritative websites to customers.
  • Agreed to lead AskUsNow! Google Hangouts in February for the LATI Program.
  • Welcomed Rebecca Starr on 10/28/14, a new librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, to Maryland AskUsNow!.  Rebecca’s AskUsNow! responsibilities will include assisting with quality control, training, and scheduling.  She will be formally introduced to the AskUsNow! partners in November.
  • Recruited Spring 2015 interns at the University of Maryland iSchool networking and internship fair. 
  • Submitted in the FFY14 Final Grant Report. 
  • Visited the following partner library: 
    • Allegany County Library System
      • Discussed marketing strategies to customers, especially students, from the tri-state area.
      • Discussed new staff training ideas for staff new to reference services. 
    • Upcoming partner library visits:
      • Washington County Free Library (11/10/14)
      • Calvert Library (12/4/14)
      • Charles County Public Library (12/9/14)
      • Anne Arundel County Public Library (12/11/14).
    • Upcoming non-partner library visits
      • Kent County Public Library (11/4/14)
      • Queen Anne’s County Public Library (11/4/14).
  • Visited the Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County, and reintroduced staff to AskUsNow!.  Ruth Enlow Library is not currently an AskUsNow! partner.
  • The AskUsNow! Inner Harbor website redesign project will continue in November.
  • The IMLS State Programs blog posting is available at http://www.imls.gov/programs/state_profile_Maryland.aspx.
  • AskColorado was referred to AskUsNow! for information about contracting out chat reference providers.   I referred AskColorado to Salisbury University’s Blackwell Library, a library that used to contract out chat reference providers.
  • Created an Ebola and Enterovirus resource guide for the AskUsNow! providers. 
  • Resolved a potential crisis chat session in cooperation with Anne Arundel Community College and Montgomery County Public Library.

2014 11 - November 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

November  2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2635 questions via chat in November.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1167 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 602 email questions. 

Customers Comments

  • Good service for student use. Will definitely let my students know about this to make use of it.
  • Looking forward to introducing this to my students in Baltimore City.  Thanks!
  • I was blown away with the professionalism of the staff and how apt she was at helping me find the perfect books for my tiger cub scout!!!! I was looking for something specific to be picked up same day, at particular locations, and within five minutes (actually less) she had found me four books exactly what I was looking for!  I will definitely use this again.
  • This was very helpful on what I needed help on. And the librarian that helped me gave me a document that was very helpful.
  • Actually, I just stumbled onto this resource.  Had no idea I could chat with a librarian at 5:00 AM. until now.  Awesome!
  • This is so cool! Thanks! :)
  • The librarian I got was exellent and very proffessional even though they weren't from my county. It was a pleasure to have talked to them.
  • Jennifer from BCPL was absolutely amazing! I would happily reccomend her to anyone, no matter what their questions were.  She was so kind and helpful.
  • i would like to give her a compliment
    she was a good helper and if i had to get help i would pick her every single time
  • I was very surprised to receive a follow up call. She was patient and helpful. Thank you!
  • Linda was very helpful & referred me to the Enoch Pratt Library which offers more & better genealogy help & assistance. I'm located in the St. Louis, MO area so using this type of research service is extremely helpful.  Thanks again!
  • This helps me so much when trying to find information for writing essays! I love this data base and what it had to offer!!
  • The librarian Pat M that helped me gave me very good links. So thankful!
  • It was very nice to have this chat service available, and I liked getting an answer quickly. I hope this service will always be available!
  • Gave me a website to help me, he was the best service I ever had.
  • It was a great help. I will recommend it to all my fellow students. Thank you so much.
  • the librarian replied quickly and didn't have me waiting forever.also she helped me get the information I needed for my project.

Month in Review

  • Trained Baltimore-Area media specialists at the SLRC Media Specialist Conference.  The media specialists learned about organizing AskUsNow! class visits, and reaching out to teachers, students, and families about why AskUsNow! is important.
  • 12 New AskUsNow! providers were trained at the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville Library. 
  • The AskUsNow! marketing plan has gathered information about past marketing plans and from the Fall 2013 Needs Assessment (Phase I:  Information Gathering) to move forward with Phase II to request answers from the liaisons about AskUsNow! targeted audiences.  “AskUsNow! targeted audiences” will be in the December 2014 Liaison Meeting agenda.
  • Met with one AskUsNow! partner, and two libraries that may be interested in rebuilding their relationship with AskUsNow!
    • Washington County Free Library shared information about their AskUsNow! genealogy users and their experiences with MD and global customers.  They also talked about National History Day and rebuilding partnerships with Hagerstown Community College.  Washington County Free Library sent out more AskUsNow! information to the community college.
    • Queen Anne’s County Library, which was last a partner in 2006, was reintroduced to the service.  They will add AskUsNow! to their redesigned website and will receive more information about becoming a partner.
    • Kent County Public Library was reintroduced and given marketing materials.
  • Two Maryland Humanities Council meetings have led to building a stronger relationship with AskUsNow!
    • National History Day program officers will continue to promote AskUsNow! to the secondary education schools throughout Maryland, and cross-promote AskUsNow! on their e-newsletter and social media pages.
    • The Humanities Connection agreed to set up a podcast for AskUsNow! to reach out to its WYPR listeners.  The podcast date will be in early 2015.
  • In collaboration with the SLRC Web Department, we reviewed the AskUsNow! Inner Harbor survey results.  Our next step is to develop a test AskUsNow! website and have an AskUsNow! provider focus group provide feedback on it.
  • Becca Starr is providing quality control and developing an AskUsNow! recognition plan.
  • From a PGCPS School Librarian!:  Hey Paul! Nice to hear from you! Our school community (especially parents) were delighted to hear about the AskUsNow! service. School year is rockin, ...Thanks so much again for hooking us up for Back To School night :)

2014 12 - December 2014 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

December 2014

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 2170 questions via chat in December.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1150 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 657 email questions. 

 

Customers Comments

  • Thank you! I am a reading specialist at an elementary school in Harford County.  I will share this wonderful resource with my colleagues!
  • This was some awesome it is like I was talking to someone in person. I will be using this again. I will recommend THIS AND BE TELLING PEOPLE RELATIVES.
  • Thank you for giving me more websites that i can work on my project for have a nice day.!! :)
  • Patrick from the Enoch Pratt Free Library was great. He was incredibly polite and very helpful. Thanks!
  • Cynthia (MD-Librarian) was so helpful. I am under deadline to complete an online application. While we were chatting, the computer that I was using (my daughter's) went blank. Although Cynthia had made a phone call to the library that I am about to go to, gave me additional information on what to do and ask for when I get there and what to expect (timeframe for using the computer) and the additional time extension before the computer went down, I had to get back in contact with her to just say "Thank You" for going over and beyond in helping me.  I greatly appreciate it !!!
  • These librarians really are very good and i was hesitant because i didn't have a very well known topic, but they answered my questions very fast and with great resources!
  • Awesome sauce!
  • Will attend the event we discussed as a result of the Librarian's info!
  • I will be using this site to help me in my research papers from now on.
  • I appreciated the assistance and the added self help.
  • Thanks to Sally, I am more prepared to eat in Florida next year :).
  • I really like this website a lot. It really helps me with my school work.
    If i were to rate it 1-10, I would rate it a 10. I wish I found out about this earlier.
  • Very prompt, informative and personable response!
  • I was very surprised how patient Ms Amy was. She was very informative on learning about Elder Care Lawyers.
  • This access was very useful since the local library computer system has been down for several days now. Thank you for your assistance.
  • I got a lot of very helpful information, thanks to everyone who participates in this website! I think it's an awesome idea.
  • Very useful feature that saved me much time navigating the Web site.

Month in Review

  • Held the December 2014 Liaison Meeting at the Waldorf West Branch of the Charles County Public Library.
  • Completed site visits at the following libraries:
    • Anne Arundel County Public Library
    • Calvert Library
  • Created a Qwidget document that highlights the 11 libraries that have Qwidgets, and gives more information to MD libraries interested in embedding Qwidgets onto their webpages.
  • Continuing to develop an AskUsNow! marketing plan for the rest of FFY15 and into FFY16.  The plan includes:
    • Targeted audience profiles
    • Social media marketing co-coordinated with Becca Starr
    • Qwidget implementation and usage
    • School partnership and stakeholder presentations
  • Rebuilding relationships with MASL, including a meeting with the MASL officers in January.
  • Began talks with the manager of Pratt/SLRC’s Business, Science, and Technology Department to develop a math or STEM resource refresher training for AskUsNow! providers.
  • Becca Starr created an AskUsNow! Incentive Program to recognize exceptional chat reference providers.  At the beginning of the month, three providers were recognized for their exceptional service in November:  Pam Williams at Frostburg State University, Annette Gaskins at Harford County Public Library, and Lori Lauterbach at PGCMLS. 

2015 01 - January 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

January  2015

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1895 questions via chat in December.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1051 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 693 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments

  • I love this service and use it all the time. Everyone is always incredibly helpful. Thank you!
  • I'm amazed that someone answered at 11.45pm! (On a Sunday)
  • LOVE THIS! Please keep it for us sleep deprived graduate students! Thanks!
  • thank you for this service it saves time and concerns for myself and my family as well as other students and researchers  thank you again when the weather is inclement as well its a life saver.
  • The questions I asked were answered promptly and there was no indication of hesitation when I asked my questions. Also, the librarian was kind and very helpful and I look forward to asking again if any other questions would happen to arise.
  • Thank you for all of the help! With AskUsNow, I can find out more information for my History Day project on Sally Ride. Thank you again!
  • Kate gave me excellent suggestions as I search for appropriate books to read to an elderly shut-in.  Very helpful.  Thank you.
  • This was nice as I am trying to meet volunteer obligations while on my lunch hour so I could feed my face :) and still ask questions.
    Thanks so much, Dee :)
  • Rebecca was very nice & efficient
  • We were disconnected and the librarian took the the time to do some research later and email it to me!  That was very nice and unexpected.
  • This is my second time filling out this survey. There appear to have been some technical issues that prevented me from successfully using the chat service a few days ago, as evidenced by emails I received from the library showing a chat transcript with responses to my questions that I did not see on my end originally. I really appreciate the follow up responses from the library staff explaining the situation, and I am impressed by the steps that were taken to remedy the situation. Thank you.
  • Researching a tough topic.  Librarian was great.  He translated a water hose of info sources into a water fountain.  He committed to follow-up. Could not have asked for more.  Many thanks.
  • She was very prompt, professional, and courteous. I'll use this feature again.
  • Seemingly smoother than a phone call, which I almost always prefer, because it makes me focus on exactly what it is I want.  I might be a bit lazier and ask less focused questions if I rang up.

 

Month in Review

Recognition:

  • Representing Pratt, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Frederick County Public Library, and Frostburg State University, Becca formed an “AskUsNow! Transcript Review Team” that reviews and recognizes exceptional chat sessions month-by-month. 
  • Recognized three exceptional December 2014 chat sessions provided by Francie Gilman at Montgomery County Public Library, Sandy Marinaro and Stevenson University , and Shannon Kraushaar at Washington County Free Library.

Committees:

  • Paul and Becca attended the Collaborative-VR Meeting on Blackboard Collaborative with statewide virtual reference coordinators. 
  • Paul attended the QuestionPoint Advisory Board Meeting.  Discussion topics included implementing a new global chat scheduling tool, permitting chat administrators to build new chat queues at no additional cost, and updating the questionpoint.org user interface.

Marketing:

  • In collaboration with the Maryland Humanities Council’s  Humanities Connection WYPR show, an AskUsNow! podcast was broadcasted live on 1/22/15, and archived for future viewing at http://wypr.org/post/247-library-marylandaskusnow.  One customer already stated in a chat session, "I just heard about your service while listening to NPR and it intrigued me."
  • Paul and Becca relaunched the AskUsNow! Facebook and Twitter pages on 1/1/15.  We are bringing awareness to AskUsNow! by reconnecting with partner and non-partner libraries and stakeholders via social media. 

Website Redesign:

  • In cooperation with the SLRC Web Department:
    • Beginning a webpage inventory of the Inner Harbor website.
    • Beginning discussion about developing an AskUsNow! desktop icon and web button for Maryland Public School Libraries.

Site Visits:

  • Scheduled a February AskUsNow! site visit in February to the College of Southern Maryland, and two March site visits in March to St. Mary’s College and St. Mary’s County Library.

2015 02 - February 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

February  2015

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1915 questions via chat in February.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1126 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 732 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments

  • I am glad that this service is available
  • I am very impressed that this serviced exists at all.
  • This website is AWESOME!!!!
  • The widget box is a little ambiguous, as I thought it would direct me to the Montgomery County library specifically.  Then I noted the banner question and tried there.  Excellent resource and very prompt reply!  Thank You!
  • Appreciate the extra assistance.  Problem was resolved and I learned something new!  Thank you for being available.  In honor of Show Your Library Love - We really do LOVE our library system!!
  • John is patient and insightful. It has been a pleasure to work with him. Thanks
  • The library staff person went step by step with me in getting the information I needed. It was a GREAT HELP to me. I was very stressed because I could not find the information. The staff person hung in there with me and truly delivered and now I am no longer stressed.  Thank that person very much!!!
  • Lovely and well mannered as always, speedy replies and helpful service. Thanks for training your staff well and picking such kind and patient humans.
  • Amy was extremely helpful.  Thank you so much
  • Many thanks for this service, I really appreciate the time and effort the librarian made for me.  Best, Jennifer
  • The librarians were friendly and helpful, and answered my questions regarding downloading ebooks.
  • Some questions are not easily discovered by a researcher. To have the  help of a librarian is a great service to people doing book research.
    Thanks for the assistance.
  • Deborah was prompt, efficient and thorough.  It was a pleasure "chatting" with her, and I very much appreciate her assistance.
  • This has really helped me alot. It makes everything easier, instead of spending hours looking for one good resource or something.
  • I am absolutely thrilled with the world-class service I received. Thank you very much!
  • I really liked the fact it was available 24/7. I do most of my homework and studies at night and it was great having someone so helpful. She solved my problem immediately.

 

Month in Review

Recognition:

  • Recognized three exceptional January 2015 chat sessions provided by Susie Misleh (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System), Debra Sambuco (Community College of Baltimore County), and Nancy Smith (Harford County Public Library).

Committees:

  • Becca attended the Collaborative-VR Meeting on Adobe Connect with statewide virtual reference coordinators, and shared information about social media and chat visibility.
  • Paul attended a PLA Conference Chat Reference Proposal meeting.  He is considering collaborating with 5-6 chat reference coordinators on a PLA Conference program about how to coordinate a chat reference service.

Marketing:

  • Paul and Becca connected with every AskUsNow! partner on Facebook and Twitter.  We are sharing fun facts, bringing awareness to special library chat hours, and sharing achievements of AskUsNow! librarians anonymously.
  • In cooperation with the MSDE and SLRC Web Department, we are creating an AskUsNow! Desktop Icon and Qwidget implementation guide for Maryland Public Schools.
  • Shared more information about AskUsNow! to MASL Officers.

Website Redesign:

  • In cooperation with the SLRC Web Department:
    • Beginning a webpage inventory of the Inner Harbor website with staff from three partner libraries.

Site Visits:

  • Visited Harford County Public Library.
  • Visited Morgan State University, a prospective AskUsNow! partner. 

Training:

  • Trained one new AskUsNow! librarian in Harford County.
  • Schedule two new staff training sessions
    • May 28 at BCPL, North Point
    • July 30 at SMRLA.

Other: 

Submitted in a MLA/DLA Conference Poster Session on improving AskUsNow! visibility with the Qwidget. 

Added three hours to the AskUsNow! statewide schedule:  2 MD local chat hours and 1 global chat hour.

Paul participated in Virtual MD Library Legislative Days.—Added on 4/2/15

2015 03 - March 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

March  2015

 

By the Numbers

  • Maryland customers asked 1966 questions via chat in March.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1116 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 721 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments

  • I am a library student who is currently working on a virtual reference assignment. I worked with "Librarian Sue" on locating some books about English idioms. She was incredibly polite and helpful. This is such a wonderful service! You guys are the best!
  • Many thanks to Marjorie for her diligence!
  • Needed guidance on finding and downloading books to my kindle
  • I have had this site bookmarked for months but did not see the "chat" option until today.
    I am so pleased that I saw it and tried it. The response was fast and very satisfying.
    Thanks,
    Jim Neal
  • I LOVE THIS WEBSITE I AM A SATISFIED TENTH GRADER THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING THE NICE LIBRARIANS HELP WITH MY HOMEWORK IT REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE
  • The librarian was very helpful and accessed all the information I needed re. returning library books in between the closing of the OLD Silver Spring Library & the opening of the new building!  We certainly don't want any books to get lost in the transition--it's a great library!  Thank you.
  • great program I never knew existed
  • This was my first time using the service and I think its a good start for me just beginning. If you not sure how to use the on-line library it can seem difficult but the person was able to walk me through to get a better understand. I think with a little more practice with using the library database search I will get a better feel as to what I am doing.  The person  who assisted me was alot of help and was very nice. I will be using this service as much as possible now that I have tryed it.
  • This service is priceless in my opinion.  It saves me from having to make a special trip to the Library.
  • I had a vague description of a book but couldn't remember the title, but the librarian quickly found it for me!
  • Thank you.  I am substituting in a high school in Maryland today and one of my students asked this question so I wanted to try this service and show the student how it worked.  Also, the question was answered in a timely and educated way!
  • The librarian was exceptionally helpful, enthusiastic and customer focused.  What an incredible service. Thank you.  We'll use it again.

 

Month in Review

  • Held the March 2015 Liaison Meeting at the Mount Airy Branch Library of the Carroll County Public Library.
  • Harford County Public Library (September 2015) and Frederick County Public Library (December 2015) agreed to host liaison meetings for later on in the year.

Recognition:

  • Under Becca’s coordination, the Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional February 2015 chat sessions provided by Emily Sachs (Enoch Pratt Free Library), Tracey Carter (Frederick County Public Library), and Cassie Koldewyn (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:

  • No QuestionPoint Advisory Board or Collaborative-VR meetings in March.

Marketing:

  • Under Becca’s Coordination, AskUsNow!’s 12th Anniversary was celebrated on Facebook and Twitter during the week of 3/16-3/20.
  • The completed AskUsNow! Desktop Icon for Maryland Public Schools was completed and presented at the SLRC Commission Meeting. 
  • Both the Desktop Icon and a Qwidget Implementation Guide for schools are in the process of being shared statewide in cooperation with the MSDE and DLDS.

Website Redesign:

  • In cooperation with the SLRC Web Department, the webpage inventory/content audit is in the process of being completed by the end of April.

Site Visits:

  • Visited the St. Mary’s County Libraries; Allegany College of Maryland and the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
  • Visited the St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a prospective AskUsNow! partner.

Training:

  • Planning two online training sessions:  one on circulation questions; the other on a STEM topic.

Other:

  • One global chat hour will be added to the statewide schedule in May. 
  • AskUsNow! will make a gift basket for the MLA/DLA Conference silent auction.

 

2015 04 - April 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

April 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers asked 1792 questions via chat in April.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1025 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 623 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Instead of highlighting all of the praise this month, we would like to summarize some of the problems that were resolved cooperatively at AskUsNow! (Customer’s comments are italicized.)

  • Please can something be done at the Loch Raven branch of the public Library…One can never get a 30 minutes of silence. Library is where people come for studying and solve problems that require critical thinking...I really wish that a drastic step will be taken to put a total stop to this.
    • AskUsNow! administrative staff contacted Loch Raven to check on the customer service situation, and resolved the situation in cooperation with BCPL.
  • I haven't actually completed the [ILL] process.  Anya was very helpful and was going to have a library staffer contact me as re obtaining an article, but I haven't been contacted yet.  I have told my customer about your service but would like to get this for him in the meantime, if possible.   (Our library here at work was decommissioned, but don't get me started on that!)
    • The local librarian followed-up by email about how to obtain the article using Marina or their nearby academic library with non-affiliate library privileges.
  • This screen is too light colored and the submit button is so small I could barely find it. White words on small, light colored buttons are hard to find. Try green or royal blue with dark print. Contrast print and background with readable font sizes.
    • The customer was anonymous, so the partner library (PGCMLS) and AUN Administration could not follow-up with him/her directly.  Instead, we sent the customer’s library (PGCMLS) suggestions on how to customize the qwidget for better viewing.
  • An AACPL customer was asking for county law and regulations dealing with burning materials on his personal property.  The chat librarian was not able to find credible and accurate information.
    • AACPL followed-up with the customer with more information, and then gave the follow-up to the Maryland State Law Library.  The Maryland State Law Library found local and state regulations, but suggested to contact the DNR for regulations specific to the state and the customer’s county.  DNR gave fact sheets about air quality regulations and open air burning for fire prevention.
  • The person that helped me was SO helpful and seemed that she genuinely wanted to help me get the answer to my question.  Thanks!!!!!!!!!
    • MCPL did extra genealogical research based on this customer’s question, and ended up referring him to the MC Historical Society for more information.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:

  • Under Becca’s coordination, the Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional March 2015 chat sessions provided by Amy Kraft (Harford County Public Library), Kate Boeree (Anne Arundel County Public Library), and Tessa Gunnell (Frederick County Public Library).

Committees:

  • A Collaborative-VR meeting was held on Blackboard.  We inquired with the statewide chat reference coordinators about their volunteers who provide chat.  We learned that some chat reference coordinators do not have volunteers, and others rely heavily on volunteer librarians.  The information provided will help us further recruit and train AskUsNow! volunteers.

Marketing:

  • In cooperation with Roswell Encina, the Pratt & SLRC Director of Communications, a marketing ad-hoc committee is being developed to give advice on online publicity for the Summer 2015, and finalizing a statewide marketing plan.
  • A blog posting and template were created and geared towards schools:

Website Redesign:

  • Webpage Inventory:  Reports & Stats, For Providers, Learning Center, and Contact Info are completed.  The Community and For Liaison sections are 75% complete.  In May, decisions will start to be made on which webpages to “Revise/Update, Keep the Same, Archive, or Remove.” 

Site Visits:

  • No site visits in April, but two (Carroll Community College and Worcester) are scheduled in May. 

Training:

  • Continuing to plan two online training sessions:  one on circulation questions; the other on a STEM topic.

Other:

  • AskUsNow! made a gift basket for the MLA/DLA Conference silent auction, and will contribute to the Poster Session part of the conference, focusing on the qwidget.
  • One prospective AskUsNow! volunteer was interviewed.

2015 05 - May 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers asked 1427 questions via chat in April.
  • Maryland librarians handled 873 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 587 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments:

  • From a PGCMLS customer:  The buttons on this survey are too small for mobile... had to expand greatly to use them.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin inquired with QuestionPoint about improving the survey interface.  They replied back that they will be making the buttons bigger.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin shared this information with the PGCMLS Liaison and at the next Liaison meeting
  • From an AACPL customer about finding soldiers who have received silver stars in Vietnam:  Could not answer but ????  Perhaps a bit too complex.
    • AACPL followed up with him by email, and AskUsNow! Admin sent more information about AACPL databases to find articles about the soldier, and AskUsNow! Admin sent him the SF-180 form and instructions, used to request U.S. Military Records.
  • From a Pratt Library customer needing access to PA articles for his genealogical research:  The librarian was courteous and helpful. Alas, the information I was looking for was not available on line from my library. I will need to go there tomorrow.  I appreciate having this service.
    • AskUsNow! Admin followed up with Pratt’s liaison to make them aware of the comment about online information not being available.
    • The Pratt liaison followed up in an email to the customer about how to get the PA articles for free with an online library account, and attached an article.  The customer was delighted:  “What a pleasant surprise…a copy of the article I was interested in reading. I appreciate that you took the time to find the article...”
  • From a Howard County Library System customer asking a math question and only receiving a referral to a tutoring site:  I would have liked an direct answer, or instructions on how to find the answer I was looking for.
    • AskUsNow! Admin contacted the liaison of the chat librarian and gave suggestions on how to use math resources, and not just give a referral, to answer a student’s math questions.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  Under Becca’s coordination, the Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional April 2015 chat sessions provided by Chris McGee (Allegany County Library System), Molly Rice (AACPL), Hannah Erickson (PGCMLS), and Sandy Marinaro (Stevenson University Library).

Committees:  The next Collaborative-VR meeting is in June.  AskUsNow! committees are being further developed to start in July 2015.

Marketing:

  • We received feedback from colleagues outside of the Marketing Ad-Hoc Committee about developing online marketing strategies using tools like e-newsletters, infographics, and blogs.  Paul will be contacting members of the Ad-Hoc Committee in June to strategize about how to use online marketing tools to reach out to a statewide audience.
  • Becca continues to use new social media strategies to engage with AskUsNow! audiences.  Those strategies include scheduling posts during the after-school hours and evenings, and using open source graphics from the Library Market:  http://librarymarket.com/services/dropbox.  

Website Redesign:  The AskUsNow! Inner Harbor Webpage Inventory is complete.  Paul is in the process of deciding on which webpages to keep as they are, revise, archive, and delete.  

Site Visits:  Paul visited the Worcester County Library and Carroll Community College Library.  He answered questions about free, online resources to use for K-12 students, improving policy pages, answering circulation and citation chat sessions, and accessing library database lists.

Training:  Paul will present three refresher online training sessions in July and August entitled, “Tough Customers In Review.”  Staff will engage in conversations about tough customer chat sessions by analyzing real chat transcripts.  The staff will leave with more information about how to provide model chat reference service to tough customers.

Other:

  • Paul presented his poster session on Qwidget Implementation at the MLA/DLA Conference.
  • Three AskUsNow! volunteers are being trained to provide chat by July 2015.

2015 06 - June 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

June 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers asked 1361 questions via chat in June.  This is an increase from June 2014!
  • Maryland librarians handled 907 questions via chat from customers around Maryland and the nation.
  • Across the state, we helped with 552 email questions. 

 

Customers’ Comments:

  • From an AACPL customer asking for access to two databasesI am very satisfied with the service and the librarian's knowledge and helpfulness … it's just that I was very disappointed AACPL did not have either resource I needed - Garland Encyclopedia of World Cultures (through Alexander St Press) or JSTOR.
    • The AskUsNow! chat librarian thought outside the box to figure out if the AACPL had access to the databases or to databases that provided similar content.
    • AACPL followed up by email with the customer and gave a referral to AACC, another AskUsNow! partner, that has access to the two databases.
  • From an HCPL customer asking about access to the upcoming release of the Rosetta Stone Language Learning ProgramI marked the quality of the library staff as average because I was on the Harford County library Web site and got connected to a librarian from Enoch Pratt Library.  My question was regarding Harford County Libraries, so she was not able to help me.
    • The chat librarian acknowledged that she was from another library, but did not provide more information about how AskUsNow! chat librarians help out all of the Maryland counties.   The AskUsNow! Admin followed up with the Pratt Library Liaison about how the librarian can use a script to explain how AskUsNow! works. 
    • The HCPL liaison recognized that more information needed to be given about Rosetta Stone.  She updated the information about access to the program, and also added information about another language learning program being removed.
  • From an MCPL customer who wanted to find out why she did not receive email notifications on when her holds would arrive at her libraryI find some agents are so lazy to check things for you.  They want to send the problem to somebody else
    • The chat session was handled by an out-of-state librarian who decided to not find an answer on the MCPL website about the holds and instead just send the session to follow-up.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin sent the chat session for further review to QuestionPoint and explained how the answer to the customer’s question was on the MCPL homepage.  QuestionPoint gave the out-of-state librarian feedback about how to improve the chat experience.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  Under Becca’s coordination, the Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional May 2015 chat sessions provided by Wanda Meck (Carroll Community College Library), Theresa Mastrodonato (Lewis J. Ort Library, Frostburg State University), and Linda Buckley (Calvert Library).

Committees: 

  • Paul and Becca attended the 6/2, Online Collaborative-VR Meeting hosted by Answerland in Oregon.  We received feedback about how to improve our social media strategies to our AskUsNow! customers. 
  • Paul and Becca attended the 6/18, QuestionPoint Virtual User Community Meeting.  Notes are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/questionpoint/virtual_user_community_meeting/061815.
  • Alongside of the Transcript Review Committee, Paul and Becca developed Social Media and Brand Language Committees that will start in July 2015. 

Marketing:

  • Social media marketing continues to use free online marketing tools to enhance posts and tweets and engage AskUsNow! followers.  We now use Pablo by Buffer, https://buffer.com/pablo#, an online photo editing site used to make engaging images for social media posts in under 30 seconds.

  • AskUsNow! Administration is in the process of adding AskUsNow! alongside of library services to the United Way’s 211MD:  http://211md.org/

Website Redesign:  There are no updates at this time.

Site Visits:  There were no site visits in June.  Paul will be visiting UMD-College Park and Maryland Nonprofits in July.

Training:  Two new AskUsNow! providers were trained at the Administrative Offices of BCPL. 

Other:

  • The June 2015 Liaison Meeting was held at Towson University’s Cook Library:  http://askusnow.info/staff/node/820.
  • Megan Kellner started volunteering for AskUsNow! as a chat provider 4 hours/week on 6/21/15.
  • Paul will be doing a presentation at November’s Special Library Association-MD Chapter Conference. 
  • AskUsNow! Administration and the SLRC Web Department are in the process of developing an AskUsNow! desktop icon for Maryland public school implementation.  When accessed, the desktop icon turns into a qwidget.  The desktop icon is currently in its pilot stage.
  • Sad News:   due to limited staffing at their library, the Allegany College of Maryland has ended their partnership with AskUsNow!.

2015 07 - July 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

July 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers requested 1387 chat sessions in July; +170 chat sessions than July 2014.
  • Maryland librarians handled 967 chat sessions in Maryland and out-of-state/country; +36 chat sessions than July 2014.
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to chat sessions 650 times; +69 emails than July 2014.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 1 is from 8/9-8/15.
  • Descriptive Codes:  Statistics will start in the August 2015 Monthly Report.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

  • My question was out of the ordinary, and the Librarian helped as much as possible.
    • The AACPL customer was somewhat satisfied with having his questions answered about classic German folk music albums sung in English.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin, with the AACPL Liaison notified, forwarded the question to the SLRC Fine Arts & Music Department to find German Folk Music albums that are in English.  The follow-up email included information about albums to borrow and buy.
  • I found this to be an excellent service as my concern was quickly resolved. 
    • The St. Mary’s County librarian did a great job at being empathetic and addressing a library card account concern of an overseas Prince George’s County Memorial Library system customer.
    • The Prince George’s liaison quickly resolved the issue, and the customer replied back agreeing on the promptness.

Negative:

  • I would not recommend <<name omitted>>, she's very rude and not helpful at all.
    • The chat provider had a difficult conversation with an anonymous teen customer about the rules for the Harford County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program Writing Contest.  The customer was already aware and acknowledged he knew the rules, but wanted the librarian to further interpret and clarify them.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin followed up with QuestionPoint Quality Review Team about the chat session.  The Admin and Quality Review Team reached an agreement that the librarian was not rude and spent quality time and effort in trying to answer the question.  What we agreed on was that basic definitions of the types of writing (i.e. fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction) should have been simply given to the customer.  

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:

  • The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1)  Liz Bowen (Frederick County Public Library), 2) Emilia Lee (Calvert Library), and 3) Tracy Miller (Harford County Public Library).
  • We welcomed Liz Beere (Liaison at the Carroll Community College Library) to the Transcript Review Team.  We wish Jesse Roth (Anne Arundel County Public Library) the best in her recent promotion within the Anne Arundel County Public Library. 

Committees:

  • Social Media:  The committee met for its first online meeting.  The members discussed committee expectations and strategies to engage our library audiences. 
  • Brand Language:  The committee met for its first online meeting.  The members discussed committee expectations and brand language that is currently used by AskUsNow! partner libraries for online promotion

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  42 posts that reached approximately 1,460 users.
    • Twitter:  42 tweets engaged approximately 4,189 users.
  • Maryland AskUsNow! was added to the United Way’s Maryland 2-1-1 website:  http://211md.org/211provider-md-search

Site Visits:  Paul visited the University of Maryland, College Park and Maryland Nonprofits.  Maryland Nonprofits is interested in implementing QuestionPoint chat and email reference using an online reference model similar to the Maryland State Law Library.

Training:

  • New Staff Training was provided to all seven UMES public and support service librarians and 10 librarians from Charles, PGCMLS, and Pratt at SMRLA.
  • Our new online Refresher Training, “Tough Customers in Review,” took place twice and had 30 chat providers in attendance.
  • Paul will provide training at the Fall 2015 SLRC Conference. 

Other:

  • New statewide descriptive codes were developed and will be implemented on 8/1/15.
  • Statistical sampling was developed and will begin on 8/9/15.  14 weeks will be sampled throughout the fiscal year.
  • ShiftPlanning, scheduling software provided by QuestionPoint, was implemented on 7/26/15.
  • AskUsNow! Administration met with QuestionPoint Management.

2015 08 - August 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

August  2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers had 1289 chat sessions in August; +75 chat sessions than August 2014.
  • Maryland librarians handled 963 chat sessions in Maryland and out-of-state/country; +155 chat sessions than August 2014.
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to chat sessions 600 times; +47 emails than August 2014.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 1:  507 questions for 240 chat sessions.    
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Library Card Account:  176
    2. Personal Interest:  131
    3. Programs, Events, & Services:  97
    4. Catalog:  58
    5. Database & Research Tools:  45    

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

  • I asked several questions, and the librarian (from Charles county, I don't recall her name) gave very helpful responses.  It was clear that they weren't just canned answers.  I'm impressed.
    • The MCPL customer first asked about if she had to use an Android device to access Overdrive Books, but then asked about how Overdrive and other eBook services work.
    • The librarian answered all of her eBooks questions.
  • What a great resource offered to our community.  I could have saved myself lots of time…if I had simply visited the website.  The person I spoke with, Angie, was very helpful and informative. I will definitely recommend this service to others, as I work at an elementary school.
    • The Wicomico County Library customer only had a quick catalog question, but was impressed with how quickly and accurately the BCPL librarian answered her question.

Needs Improvement

  • the help I got was too technical…What is in this e-mail was not told to me when asking for help.
    • Pratt handled a difficult Cecil County eBook question.  The Cecil County Liaison gave follow-up to video and technical assistance information.
    • AUN Administrators gave quality review to the librarian about how to use local information to troubleshoot the issues and find out how the customer wants to learn.
  • Love the service, but it is annoying to get a librarian in another state. That may be useful for certain reference questions, but not when I have a question about my account.
    • The MCPL customer had a question about a book she claimed was still on her account. 
    • An MCPL librarian followed up by email to confirm that her account did not have the book on it.
    • Admin contacted the customer about how AskUsNow! is operated by librarians in and out of Maryland.

 

Recognition:

  • The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Amy Gons (Anne Arundel County Public Library), 2) James Durham (Maryland State Law Library), and 3) Karen Quinn-Wisniewski (Community College of Baltimore County).

Committees:

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  31 posts reached approximately 1,180 users.
    • Twitter:  31 tweets engaged approximately 3,501 users.
    • AskUsNow! began a #tbt campaign to highlight questions from years prior (2006 to approximately 2013) that are quirky, showcase obsolete technology, or have a fun, trivia-like answer.
  • A quick and dirty statewide AskUsNow! marketing guide was created and available at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/quickanddirty.

Site Visits:  There were no site visits in August 2015.

Training:

  • One online Refresher Training session of, “Tough Customers in Review,” took place and had 23 statewide chat providers in attendance.  The recording of the training session is available at http://askusnow.info/staff/training/refresher.               

Other:

  • New statewide descriptive codes were developed and will be implemented on 8/1/15.
  • Statistical sampling was developed and will begin on 8/9/15.  14 weeks will be sampled throughout the fiscal year.

2015 09 - September 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

September  2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers had 1682 chat sessions in August
  • Maryland librarians handled 1110 chat sessions in Maryland and out-of-state/country
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to chat sessions 605 times
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    1. Week 2:  489 questions for 202 chat sessions.   
    2. Week 3:  522 questions for 265 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Library Card Account:  139 
    2. Student Assignment:  124
    3. Personal Interest:  123 
    4. Database & Research Tools:  101  
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  88

Customers’ Comments:

Instead of highlighting all of the praise this month, we would like to summarize some of the problems that were resolved cooperatively at AskUsNow!

Positive:

  • “WHEN I CAN NOT FIND A BOOK ON MY OWN I ALWAYS USE THIS SERVICE AND IF THEY CAN'T FIND IT I AM COMFORTABLE KNOWING THEY HAVE DONE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE.”--A St. Mary’s librarian helped the customer find a book using Marina.
  • “The ‘Teen’ Librarian who helped me, was excellent, helpful and resourceful. I was not aware of the chat session and it really helped me and put my mind at ease, when needing to look for the information I needed for my son. Very appreciative of this service.
    Thank you.”— An Anne Arundel parent who has a son that has low vision learned about LP materials available via Marina and LBPH.

Needs Improvement

“They were not able to help me at all.” –A Baltimore City customer presented with an issue logging into their account.

Admin tested their credentials and was able to log into the account successfully. Admin then contacted the customer to report account standing and provide option to reset PIN.

  • Admin sent chat session to Quality Control recommending that the chat librarian attempt to resolve the customer’s issue instead of abruptly sending the session to follow-up

tried to contact local librarian from my local library webpage to ask about the language learning login process...but got an out of state librarian who obviously doesn't know the local library system.”--An out-of-state librarian “accidentally” took the chat and then said that he was not allowed to answer the question(s) because he was not a MD librarian.

  • AUN Admin addressed the issue with QuestionPoint about how out-of-state librarians are obligated to handle other states’ chat sessions. 

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Catherine McGuire (Maryland State Law Library), 2) Joe Ruff (Calvert Library), and 3) Cynthia Dennis (Baltimore County Public Library).

Committees:

Social Media:  AskUsNow! launched a two-week campaign to welcome back students to school. School districts and relevant school groups - such as the Maryland Homeschool Association - were tagged on Facebook and Twitter with a short message reminding students that AskUsNow! can assist them with their school projects.

Brand Language will meet in October. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  35 posts reached approximately 2,218 users.
    • Twitter:  31 tweets engaged approximately 826 users.
  • Becca and Paul volunteered and promoted AskUsNow! alongside of DLDS and the Maryland Humanities Council at the Pavilion of the States section of the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
  • Becca and Paul met with the Maryland History Day Staff at the Maryland Humanities Council.  They are currently visiting schools throughout the state and plug AskUsNow! into their places for students and educators to go for help.  A guide has been created to promote AskUsNow! and NHD resources at http://mdhc.org/programs/maryland-history-day/resources2/ and http://askusnow.info/staff/resources/marylandhistoryday/2015-2016.          
  • A quick and dirty AskUsNow! marketing guide was developed to push online marketing strategies to the counties at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/quickanddirty
  • AskUsNow! information was given to the Maryland Homeschool Association, the Association of Independent Maryland Schools, and the Maryland Genealogical Society.

Training:

  • Paul provided a Virtual Reference refresher training for seven librarians at the Fall SLRC Conference.
  • Paul trained two new Montgomery County Public Library chat providers.

Other:

Sad News:  At the September Liaison Meeting, the Howard County Library System announced that it will be ending its partnership with AskUsNow! on October 9, 2015.

2015 10 - October 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

October 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers had 2530 chat sessions in October; +465 chat sessions than October 2014.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1303 chat sessions in Maryland and out-of-state/country; +226 chat sessions than October 2014.
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to 749 chat sessions.  
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    1. Week 4:  574 questions in 267 chat sessions
    2. Week 5:  TBD in November 2015 Monthly Report 
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  463
    2. Database & Research Tools:    205
    3. Library Card Account:  134
    4. Personal Interest:  114
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  76

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

  • Rebecca was absolutely awesome. Please give her a raise and promote her. I provided her with very little information and in very little time, she provided me with above and beyond what I needed. Very pleasant and professional and knowledgeable. The best! What a great experience I had working with her today. She's the best.
    • The AskUsNow! Admin/Volunteer librarian gave reader’s advisory to a PGCMLS customer who needed books for a National Novel Writing Month assignment on “writing a novel in 30 days.”
    • The customer received local library and ILL book suggestions.
  • I love this initiative by the cooperative service of Maryland Libraries. If all other educational board can follow suit it would be a good thing for the students. Good job!  I got all the information i needed within few minutes rather that going to the Library.  I can not thank you enough.
    • A CCBC student asked for resources to develop a persuasive speech.
    • The Carroll Community College librarian gave the student catalog search tips, helped place a hold on a book, and gave instruction on how to use a ProQuest Opposing Viewpoints database. 

Needs Improvement

  • She didn't understand what the question was given to her or has found the right information.  A CCBC student got upset with an AskUsNow! librarian who only tried to connect her to another librarian instead of attempt to find information for a health care project
    • AUN Admin provided feedback to the provider and liaison about how to do a reference interview that will get their student started on research, and then refer the student to a subject specialist for more help.
    • CCBC gave the student search terms that led to information in search engines and health care databases.
  • Staff asked questions like “Did I already work with you on this?" or “do you need more?" the staff could have been a tad more polite. –A Howard County student was not happy that a chat librarian assumed he had already received enough help in another chat session on ermines and stoats.
    • AUN Admin found out that another Howard County student had asked for similar information, but it was from another classmate.
    • Admin contacted QuestionPoint and provided feedback about how to improve the chat session, including having a conversation with the student about what information has not been useful and why.

 

Month in Review: 

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Amelia Viars (Cecil County Public Library), 2) Robert Krzanowski (Carroll Community College), and 3) Maisha Duncan (Montgomery College Libraries).

Committees:

Brand Language:  The committee made a proposal that is available as an attachment at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/brandlanguage for further review. 

Social Media:  AskUsNow! had a tremendous increase in Twitter engagement.  The tweets that received the most engagement started with "Did you know..." "Looking for..." or "Need..." and included 1) help with homework and 2) Edgar Allan Poe.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  23 posts reached approximately 397 users.
    • Twitter:  70 tweets engaged approximately 5,800 users.
  • Presented an AskUsNow! exhibit to 45 educators at the Fall 2015 Maryland Council for Social Studies Conference in Annapolis.
  • Paul contacted the head librarian at the Oldfields School, an independent school, in Baltimore County about how AskUsNow! can benefit the students, who are boarding school students.  The head librarian shared the information and embedded the qwidget on her school’s computers.
  • Quick statewide and local marketing strategies continue to be added to http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/quickanddirty

Training:

  • Seven new chat providers were trained at the Odenton Regional Library of the Anne Arundel County Public Library.
  • 30 school librarians were trained on how AskUsNow! can help students with their National History Day projects at the SLRC Media Specialist Conference.
  • Ten 1st year National History Day teachers learned about how to prepare their students for accessing AskUsNow! for National History Day research assistance.

Other:

2015 11 - November 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

November 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers had 2672 chat sessions.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1314 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to chat sessions 783 times.
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    1. Week 5:  644 questions answered in 319 chat sessions.   
    2. Week 6:  687 questions answered in 301 chat sessions.   
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  528 
    2. Database & Research Tools:  215    
    3. Personal Interest:  119 
    4. Library Card Account:  101 
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  74 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

the staff member went the extra mile and investigated till they found the answer.  it was such a relief to know that there are such professionals in our county public library system.

  • An HCPL customer asked for access to Business Daily
  • The Pratt librarian explained the searching process and collaborated with an HCPL librarian by phone.  They found the newspaper in one of the databases, General OneFile.

Kay was very patient and nice. Given that we had to type our communications, everything was as excellent as I can imagine possible. She had a great, helpful personality!!  A PGCMLS patron received assistance on search strategies using Reference USA.

Needs Improvement:

It was terrible, she was very unsatsfying”—A National History Day middle school student wanted more articles and became upset that the librarian wanted to instruct him how to do a database search.

  • AskUsNow! Admins contacted the student to find out how to improve the chat experience, and they explained to him how the librarians encourage independent learning. 
  • AskUsNow! Admins also contacted the out-of-state librarian to commend her for referring to the statewide/Sailor database for research help.

My librarian could not access articles which was understandable, but she found me a book for my topic and it was for grades preschool through 2nd, I'm in 7th and I told her that.  An MCPL student asked for research assistance on musicals dealing with racism including South Pacific.

  • MCPL followed up by email with resources and books that fit the student’s  specific grade level, and explained how the resources can be accessed in and out of the library.
  • AskUsNow! Admin gave feedback to the out-of-state chat librarian about suggesting open-source and special collection resources that do not require a library card. 

 

Month in Review:   

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Emily Coyle (Frederick County Public Libraries), 2) Hannah Erickson (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System), and 3) Theresa Mastrodonato (Frostburg State University).

Committees:

  • Brand Language:  a discussion about the proposed brand language will be presented at the December 2015 Liaison Meeting.
  • Social Media:  no meeting took place.  The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 12/15/15.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  25 posts reached approximately 397 users.
    • Twitter:  79 tweets engaged approximately 15,300 users; +200% from last month.
    • AskUsNow! increased the number of posts that highlight our special partners -- such as NOAA, Maryland State Law Library, and Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped -- including the link to their mobile AskUsNow! page.
    • AskUsNow! developed a targeted social media plan during Maryland STEM Fest, combining #mdstem with posts about STEM-related topics and prior chat assistance on STEM topics. This effort resulted in various retweets by Maryland Public Schools, Maryland STEM Fest, and other educators.
  • Blogging:  A guest blog post about how AskUsNow! serves nonprofits will be posted on the Maryland Nonprofits website on Monday, 12/7/15.
  • In collaboration with Jack Young in the Pratt Programs and Promotions Department, the AskUsNow! logo is in the process of being redesign.
  • Outreach:  Paul met with  the Southern Maryland Homeschool Association about accessing AskUsNow! for research assistance to students and presented the SLRC Homeschooling research tool.  Interest was expressed about accessing the service with homeschool families to find information on affordable educational and library services. 

Training:  Three new chat providers were trained at the C. Burr Artz Public Library at the Frederick County Public Libraries.

Other:  The Hagerstown Community College’s William Brish Library signed the AskUsNow! partnership letter of intent.  The library will be providing 5 hours of chat/week with a tentative live date of February 1, 2016.

2015 12 - December 2015 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

December 2015

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers had 1794 chat sessions.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1208 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, we followed up by email to chat sessions 636 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:   Week 7:  397 questions answered in 201 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  329
    2. Database & Research Tools:  123   
    3. Personal Interest:  120
    4. Library Card Account:  119
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  78

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

It's so nice to have this wonderful, intelligent, always helpful resource.  They hold your hand all the way to the end.  So appreciative!  The MCPL customer received assistance from FCPL about downloading an OverDrive book to his laptop.

The live chat and email replies were quick and detailed. Great service.  The Worcester County customer learned from an out-of-state librarian, Liaison, and Admin how to get access to free online movie streaming services in and out of Worcester County and SLRC services.

Needs Improvement:

The librarian was very helpful and resourceful. even though he could not answer my question, after several attempts to do so, he directed me to someone who could better assist me.  The CCBC Student had a question about getting more information on an invention, and not the inventor.  The CCC Provider provided online and print resources about the invention.

  • CCBC Follow-Up librarian provided database articles and search strategies for finding more information.
  • Admin provided Library of Congress and statewide resources about “Black inventors and their inventions.”

I think this website [AskUsNow!] is a great idea, except the librarians don't usually give me the info that I need. I will still use this website, but you need to improve on the info/websites.  An HCPL student asked for research assistance on musicals dealing with racism in the South Pacific.

  • The out-of-state chat librarian unfortunately gave the student websites that he already had because no reference interview was done.  The AskUsNow! Admin provided feedback to QuestionPoint on how to improve the chat session.
  • The student received follow-up emails from HCPL and the Admin about how to narrow down the search topics and search databases for results. 

Month in Review:   

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Amy Kirchofer (St. Mary's County Public Library), 2) Kate Boeree (Anne Arundel County Public Library), and 3) Kate Niemczyk (Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center).

Committees:

  • Brand Language:  the brand language proposal was presented at the December 2015 Liaison Meeting.  The liaisons agreed on the brand language.  The proposal will be added to the continued rebranding and redevelop of AskUsNow!.
  • Social Media:  the committee agreed to add more photos and develop "mini-social media campaigns" that will attract all Maryland residents and students, but target student and educators' research areas of interest.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  30 posts reached approximately 935 users.
    • Twitter:  86 tweets engaged approximately 10,100 users.
    • AskUsNow!'s recent guest blog posts at the Maryland Humanities Council and Maryland Nonprofits increased our total mentions by other social media accounts.  Partner libraries utilized our ready-made social media posts during holiday closings, also increasing our mentions and reach.
    • AskUsNow! began strategically linking to applicable SLRC resources - along with the link to askusnow.info - to cross-promote relevant information sources.
    • The AskUsNow! Instagram account will launch in January 2016.
  • Blogging:

Other: 

2016 01 - January 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

January 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • AskUsNow! received 2227 chat sessions from Maryland customers; +332 more 01/2015.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1172 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, Maryland librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 820 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 8:  733 questions answered in 365 chat sessions. 
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  350 
    2. Personal Interest:  156 
    3. Database & Research Tools:  146
    4. Library Card Account:  126
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  88 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

The librarian was very supportive and provided valuable information.  Keep up the good work!—A PCGMLS customer needed help looking for Filipino foreign language materials.  The FCPL librarian gave the customer catalog search results, confirmed with the customer that he needed just printed materials, and not online materials, and explained to the customer how some of the materials are in English and Tagalog.

I loved how the Librarian and I covered a lot and I was able to get all the information I need. This session has made me most confident that I will get a good grade on my history fair project and I will most definitely will use this again. :).—The Calvert County, Maryland History Day student learned from how to find primary sources in a library database (Gale Virtual Reference Library) and on the Library of Congress website. 

Needs Improvement:

Did not help me at all. The only reason that I contacted this service, is that the site is perpetually broken.  An anonymous MCPL customer was not satisfied with not being able to change his email address on his account online on his own, and did not want a local library referral or the Pratt chat librarian to offer ways to change the email address by phone, in-person, and by email.

  • An MCPL librarian followed up by email to apologize for the inconvenience in not changing the info on his own, and did reiterate how the library can help. 
  • The Pratt librarian and AUN Admin suggested ways to better communicate the “changing of the email address on a library account” on the MCPL website.

 

Month in Review:   

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Mary Ann Keicher (Anne Arundel County Public Library), 2) Eben Dennis (Enoch Pratt Free Library), and 3) Shannon Kraushaar (Washington County Free Library).

Committees:

  • Brand Language:  no update.
  • Social Media:  the committee gave posting ideas for the availability campaign and suggestions on what types of photos to post on Instagram beyond books.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  28 posts reached approximately 1900 users.
    • Twitter:  85 tweets engaged approximately 8500 users.
    • AskUsNow! launched an "availability" campaign from 1/25-1/31.  The posts focused on how AskUsNow! can assist customers in finding affordable assistance (personal interest, business, and community resource-based) in their communities.  The most popular posts had to do with “no free money” resources and taking affordable college classes without enrolling at a college. 
    • The AskUsNow! Instagram account launched on 1/4/16.  The charges of Instagram are to post photos 3 times/week that focus on different areas of research, connect with statewide Instagram and MD library accounts, and find out which photos receive more of a reach than others.
  • Blogging:  From the Ort Library at Frostburg State University:  Library Highlights:  Maryland AskUsNow:  http://fsuortlibrary.blogspot.com/2016/01/library-highlights-maryland-askusnow.html

Other: 

 

Submitted on 2/11/16 by PC

2016 02 - February 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

February 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers received 1889 chat sessions from Maryland customers
  • Maryland librarians handled  1191 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers;
  • Across the state, Maryland librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 774 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  No Statistical Sampling Weeks in February. 
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  178 
    2. Library Card Account:  155
    3. Personal Interest:  144 
    4. Programs, Events, & Services:  109 
    5. Database & Research Tools:  105

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Wonderfully helpful, prompt and nice-sounding via chat!  A Boston Globe reporter asked for resources on Highlandtown during WWII because she is working on a historical fiction novel set in Baltimore during WWII.  She received resources from a Pratt & SLRC Librarian, and follow-up by email from the SLRC Maryland Department about Highlandtown during WWII. 

Jennifer from St. Mary's was great!--The CecilCPL Customer asked about why Lego pieces are yellow and couldn’t find the answer in a printed Lego Encyclopedia.   The librarian did a reference interview to find out what the customer did and did not use to find an answer, and then found and gave a new resource and accurate answer to the customer.

Needs Improvement:

I spent quite a bit of time, preparing a concise but complete inquiry, only to be told that the responding Library was not able to give me an answer, because they were not within my County. It would be nice if you would show which county is on call. It can be done with a small change on the web site and might save a lot of time for both the Librarian and the patron.

  • AACPL followed up with the customer about the holds and overdue issue.
  • Admin followed-up with the customer about how an on-call feature can be added into AskUsNow!, and also sent the customer more information about how AskUsNow! and QuestionPoint works.  The customer thanked the Admin for the info and acknowledged that libraries would have to be similar to the Maryland State Law Library to make an on-call feature work.

 

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Pam Bowling (Anne Arundel County Public Library), 2) Jodi Abruscato (Harford County Public Library), and 3) Cassie Koldewyn (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  No updates from the Social Media and Brand Language Committees.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  24 posts reached approximately 1600 users.
    • Twitter:  84 tweets engaged approximately 8000 users.
    • Instagram:
      • January:  12 photos engaged 7 users.
      • February:  13 photos engaged 16 users.
    • Developed a week-long campaign to celebrate Engineers Week (2/21-2/27), highlighting how AskUsNow! provides career resources and STEM support.
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts remained steady, with nine clicks total. Twitter users are compelled to view our website based on our social media content. 
  • Blogging
    • In collaboration with Montgomery College Libraries and Montgomery Colleges’ Workforce Development and Continuing Education Department, we created an e-newsletter article about AskUsNow! that will be sent to Montgomery College adjunct faculty and their students in March 2016.
  • Other:
    • Paul and Becca will be planning outreach at Maryland Day with the MLA and CML. 
    • Becca and Paul received revisions and feedback from the partner libraries about a brief student assignment toolkit for schools and colleges.
    • Paul reached an agreement with the MLA to set up an AskUsNow! exhibit at the MLA/DLA Conference registration area.  The exhibit will include a survey that attendees can fill out about access, awareness, and providing of the service.
    • A Carroll County educational advocacy group (Carroll Values Education) blogged about their AskUsNow! experience with an LBPH librarian:  AskUsNow! Rocks!:  http://carrollvalueseducation.com/ask-us-now-rocks/

 

Other:

  • Paul learned about how AskUsNow! can be embedded in Boopsie from the Seattle Public Library.  AACPL has AskUsNow! in Boopsie.
  • Two New Staff Training Dates and Locations were announced:  http://askusnow.info/staff/training/registration
  • Paul trained 13 LATIs on AskUsNow!.

Submitted on 3/14/16 by PC

2016 03 - March 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

March 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers received 1818 chat sessions from Maryland customers.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1229 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, Maryland librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 787 times.
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    • Week 9:  532 questions answered in 276 chat sessions.
    • Week 10:  602 questions answered in 281 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Student Assignment:  206
    2. Personal Interest:  160 
    3. Library Card Account:  140
    4. Programs, Events, & Services:  122 
    5. Database & Research Tools:  83

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Thank you for providing this service.  It would have been impossible for me to find the answers.  I sincerely appreciate and am grateful for this service.  Please continue to provide the most valuable service.  Thanks again.  An MD State Law Librarian helped a BCPL customer find a specific rule in Robert’s Rules of Order about voting for changes in bylaws at churches.

Not only did I get my question answered--and a completely different one as well--but I gained two resources for digging out info on my own! That is service that gets a smile.  The Pratt & SLRC Librarian helped a customer find a book using BookFinder by sending a screenshot link, and then helped direct the customer to the Hyattsville Branch at the PGCMLS. 

Needs Improvement:

She was Rude and Did not help me find what i was looking for.  An AACPL customer was upset that the chat librarian wanted to teach her how to do research, and not just give sources.

  • AACPL emailed the student additional sources and gave referrals to AACC and Pratt & SLRC for additional literary criticism guides and instructions.
  • Admin emailed the student about how librarians give and teach the students about the research process, including references made to the literary criticism subject guides from AACC and Pratt & SLRC.

My question proved to be too vexing even for the librarian…It proves that there is not really a substitute for the physical library and its wealth of books and online sources…I appreciated the librarian's patient attempt to find the answer for me.  The Montgomery College customer did not get an exact answer about APA style for abbreviations.  A local college librarian shared the college’s citation guide and gave a specific source about the abbreviations from the online guide.

 

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Ellen Ruoff (Calvert Library), 2) Shannon Kraushaar and Dale Pastor (Washington County Free Library and Montgomery County Public Libraries), and 3) Pam Williams (Frostburg State University).

 

Committees: 

  • Social Media:  The AskUsNow! Social Media Committee met on Blackboard on 3/1/16. The discussion focused on implementing tactics to gain and follow educational, student, and community leader accounts.  One tactic includes finding accounts in “Best of Social Media” articles.  We also shared ways to expand our Instagram presence using short videos, and brainstormed campaign ideas targeted at educators, students, and community leaders. 
  • Brand Language:  The Brand Language Committee has successfully concluded by proposing and adding new branding language to implement into AskUsNow! marketing efforts.

 

Marketing:

  • New AskUsNow! Logo and Chat Form URLs are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/logos.  The goal is for all partner libraries to have the new logo and URLs on their websites by Saturday, 4/30/16.
  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  28 posts reached approximately 3200 users.
    • Twitter:  88 tweets engaged approximately 6700 users.
    • Instagram:  13 photos engaged  19 users. 
    • More Facebook likes and shares doubled our engagement from last month. The current posting strategy - pairing a current event post with a royalty-free photo – will be in place to monitor the engagement levels.
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts remained steady at nine clicks. 
  • Blogging:  In collaboration with Montgomery College Libraries and Workforce Development and Continuing Education Department, an e-newsletter article to Montgomery College adjunct faculty and their students was released:  http://askusnow.info/news/march2016.        
  • Other:
    • An ad and exhibit for nonprofit and small business leaders will be at the People for Change Conference in Largo on Friday, 4/22/16.
    • An exhibit will be on display at the College of Southern Maryland Nonprofit Conference for nonprofit leaders on Friday, 4/29/16.
    • An ad will be in the Balticon 50 program guide, which will reach out to a statewide sci-fi convention audience from Friday, 5/27-Monday, 5/30.

 

Other:

 

Submitted on 4/13/16 by PC; Week 9 Statistical Sampling totals revised and updated on 4/25/16 by PC; "Recognition" revised and updated on 5/16/16by PC

2016 04 - April 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

April 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers received 1429 chat sessions from Maryland customers.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1031 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, Maryland Librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 731 times.
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    • Week 11:  423 questions answered in 231 chat sessions.
    • Week 12:  499 questions answered in 258 chat sessions.
    • Week 13:  487 questions answered in 242 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Library Card Account:  140 
    2. Personal Interest:  123
    3. Student Assignment:  100 
    4. Database & Research Tools:  89
    5. Programs, Events, & Services:  76    

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

I've never used this service before and I have no idea why - it's easy, fast, efficient, and the librarian who assisted me gave me excellent information.    A Wicomico County customer asked for help finding local contractors who remove chimneys.  The HCPL librarian shared the MD Home Improvement Commission resource about accreditation for home improvement contractors, and shared directories of chimney specialists.

The reference librarian took my question and was able to find very informative resources that I could use. Great service this is!  A Pratt & SLRC Librarian helped a customer learn about KSAs and shared information about how to develop resumes for Library of Congress job positions.

Needs Improvement:

I'm at the very begging of my project so it's hard to tell my satisfaction level.

  • The out-of-state chat provider gave superior research assistance to a CCBC student, instructing the customer about how to find articles in a discovery service, but the student was uncertain about how to actually write a paper, which she thought she could receive help with online.  
  • The AskUsNow! Admin shared a “How to Write a College Paper” subject guide, gave referrals to nearby writing centers, and gave a little more information how librarians can guide her through the research process.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Jennifer Bishop (Carroll County Public Library), 2) Joe Farmarco (Baltimore County Public Library), and 3) a Chat Provider who wishes to remain anonymous.

Committees:  The next Social Media Committee meeting will be in May or June 2016.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  30 posts reached approximately 3500 users.  +9% from last month.
    • Twitter:  81 tweets engaged approximately 7700 users; +13% from last month.
    • Instagram:  13 photos engaged 12 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets were about the Maryland primary election and genealogy.
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts increased. 
  • Blogging:  No blogging to report this month. 
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:
    • This is a new project being led by Becca Starr.  We aim to have a new, improved, and refreshed website, mostly focused on having better graphics and less text on the homepage, by the end of June 2016.
  • Other:
    • Outreach was done at the People for Change Coalition Conference in Largo, the College of Southern Maryland Nonprofit Conference in La Plata, and Maryland Day at the University of Maryland, College Park.

 

Other:

  • The Montgomery College Libraries implemented the Qwidget on the LibFAQs:  http://libfaqs.montgomerycollege.edu/.  They are the 15th partner library to implement the Qwidget to enhance their online reference presence and make chat mobile-friendly.
  • Paul and the UMD iSchool had an initial discussion about recruiting AskUsNow! volunteer chat providers in the Fall and Spring 2016 from the “Diverse Populations, Inclusion, and Information” MLS track. 

 

Submitted on 5/13/16 by PC

2016 05 - May 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland customers received 1366 chat sessions from Maryland customers.
  • Maryland librarians handled 926 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, Maryland Librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 707 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 14:  497 questions answered in 231 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Personal Interest:  147
    2. Library Card Account:  140 
    3. Programs, Events, & Services:  103    
    4. Database & Research Tools:  75
    5. Student Assignment and Catalog:  Both at 65 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Great service, speedy response time. Excellent experience!--A BCPL provider gave a PGCMLS customer tips and advice on how to suggest programs at his local library.

The Chat Librarian was very helpful.  Overall, an excellent experience.--A Charles County Public Library provider accurately explained to an MCPL customer why her branch was closed for renovation, but still had access to holds.  An MCPL librarian followed up by email to confirm the customer’s hold was ready to pick up at a different branch.

Needs Improvement:

For some reason I had to use another browser, and it was not cool...  But it was the first time that has happened, but all is well

  • A Pratt & SLRC customer was surprised that Firefox did not work, but switched to Chrome to get more chat help.
  • AUN Admin (Paul) addressed the tech issue.  The issue had to do with the customer using an outdated version of Firefox.  The AUN Admin gave the customer instructions on how to update Firefox.

 

Month in Review:

  • Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Sue Tinanoff (Baltimore County Public Library), 2) Edie White (Harford County Public Library), and 3) Eben Dennis (Pratt & SLRC).

Committees:  The next Social Media Committee meeting will be on June 21, 2016.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  26 posts reached approximately 3700 users.  +5% from last month.
    • Twitter:  93 tweets engaged approximately 12800 users.  81 tweets engaged approximately 7700 users; +40% from last month.
    • Instagram:  13 photos engaged 12 users.
    • The most popular tweets mentioned current events and homework help/research services. We have also received key retweets from other large Twitter accounts, such as Calvert Library, boosting our visibility.
  • Blogging:  No blogging to report this month. 
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:
    • AskUsNow! Admins, SLRC, and the Pratt Web Department agreed on using WordPress as the new CMS.
    • Becca developed a wireframe for the homepage.
    • The redesign will be for the desktop/laptop and mobile-friendly devices.
  • Other:
    • Paul promoted AskUsNow! at a display table at the 2016 MLA & DLA Joint Conference.  Attendees gave survey feedback about how to improve marketing and recruitment of the service. 
    • Outreach was done at Maryland Society for Educational Technology’s Common Ground 2016, and Balticon 50, a science fiction conference with over 2000 people in attendance

Other:

  • Carroll County Public Library became the 16th partner to implement the Qwidget. The Qwidget is on their LibAnswers website and Boopsie App.
  • Paul collaborated with the Ask Here PA Statewide Coordinator and AUN partner libraries that directly had a PA customer persistently ask for access to eReaders that were not allowed to be borrowed using ILL.  The issue was resolved by giving the customer free and low-cost information about eReaders services in his community.
  • 15 new AskUsNow! providers were trained at the North Point Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.  A challenge came with this training:  no Internet access.  The trainees eagerly learned with discussion and handouts, and BCPL staff, in and out of North Point, were supportive of the situation at hand. 

 

Submitted on 6/15/16 by PC

2016 06 - June 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

June 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland librarians received 1554 chat sessions from Maryland customers.
  • Maryland librarians handled 1072 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Across the state, Maryland Librarians followed up by email to chat sessions 649 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 14:  497 questions answered in 231 chat sessions.
  • Top Descriptive Codes: 
    1. Personal Interest:  230
    2. Library Card Account:  141 
    3. Programs, Events, & Services:  121    
    4. Database & Research Tools:  76
    5. Catalog and Student Assignment:  57 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

This is a great service. I started to use this because my Librarian teach us how to use it and I am amazed. From Evelyn.  A PGCMLS customer got reader’s advisory from a Pratt & SLRC Librarian for non-fiction, historical and emotional titles.

The librarian was prompt, friendly, and enthusiastic about helping.  Additionally, she was extremely efficient in finding potential information I could use.  I LOVE the feature of receiving a transcript with the links and help provided.  The Worcester Librarian gave the MD/PA customer in Washington County .gov and related, authoritative resources to get her started on Franklin County, PA research.             

Needs Improvement:

The librarian asked if I used MARINA and stated I would have to pick up the book. When I asked further questions she never answered.—An out-of-state librarian was helping a Pratt & SLRC customer search for a book not available in her library’s catalog, but then the chat got disconnected.

  • The AUN Admins found out that the chat librarian had to address an emergency within her library.  The Admins were empathetic and gave feedback to the librarian about how to address the chat to the customer’s library using the QuestionPoint software.
  • The customer got the Marina hold request completed by email follow-up.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Jennifer Bishop (Carroll County Public Library), 2) Shaileen Beyer (Enoch Pratt Free Library & MD State Library Resource Center), and 3) Sara Stephenson (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  Social Media:  The Social Media Committee met on 6/21/16.  The committee focused on reviewing the 4th quarter, social media content and statistics, and discussing what to focus on FY 17:  social media content or a new platform.  The committee decided that content is more important than another platform, but will consider a pilot project for a new platform.  Paul announced to the committee that the Instagram pilot project will discontinue after June 2016.  While Instagram had a steady increase in followers, the account did not have significant increases, or decreases, in customers engaging the service or clicking on www.askusnow.info to use the service.    

 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  28 posts reached approximately 5200 users.  +33% from last month.
    • Twitter:  77 tweets engaged approximately 8000 users; +4% from last month.
    • Instagram:  13 photos engaged 8 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets were about homework help and promoting NOAA’s Ask-A-Librarian service.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesigna draft of the website on WordPress has been sent in for review to our AskUsNow! Grant Administrators.

 

Other:

  • Thank you to Theresa Mastrodonato, Pam Williams, administration and staff at the Ort Library at Frostburg State University for hosting the June 2016 AskUsNow! Liaison Meeting.  Minutes are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/June_2016_Meeting_Minutes....
  • Nine new AskUsNow! chat librarians were trained at SMRLA.  Thanks to Jennifer Hopwood, and administration and staff at SMRLA for the training venue.
  • Megan Kellner, an AskUsNow! volunteer who just completed her MLS studies at UMD-College Park, ended her volunteer time on 6/5/16.  She dedicated a year to chatting with MD and global customers 1-4 hours/week and participating in the social media committee.
  • Sad News to Share:  The Carroll Community College Library ended their partnership on June 30, 2016.

 

Submitted on 7/14/16 by PC

 

2016 07 - July 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

July 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1460 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 940 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 761 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 1 will be reported in the August 2016 report. 

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

  • Michelle was so very helpful. She went above and beyond to assist me with my question. She was charming and very pleasant. What a helpful service you provide. I look forward to using it again soon. I am taking an art class devoted to Leonardo da Vinci and I am so out of my comfort zone. Thank you so much.--An AACPL customer received exceptional help from a WCFL librarian about researching famous art people using library resources.  The WCFL librarian followed up by email after chat to give more help, and AACPL offered additional help in case anything urgent was needed for the project.
  • Cynthia was a great help!  The BCPL librarian helped the MCPL customer find discounted Metro pass service for seniors at her local library.

Needs Improvement:

  • I double-check to see if the librarian can offer additional assistance.--The chat librarian gave authoritative resources, but not resources within the customer’s community as requested.   The AUN Admin gave the chat librarian feedback on how to find and give local info using the customer’s local library website.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Christine Iko (Enoch Pratt Free Library & SLRC), 2) Pam Williams (Frostburg State University), and 3) Alice Pattera (Worcester County Library).

Committees:

  • There were no committee meetings in July.
  • Transcript Review:  Amy Kirchofer (St. Mary’s County Library) was welcomed into the committee.  Thanks Amy for volunteering to be on the committee.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  31 posts reached approximately 7100 users. 
    • Twitter:  97 tweets engaged approximately 8900 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  AskUsNow! focused on summer learning opportunities, including teacher professional development and summer reading.  We also offered posts on weather, with topics covering weather patterns and maps receiving steady engagement.  The most popular posts were about Praxis study guides, teacher blogs, and quiet study spots. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Paul and Becca will be visiting media specialists at the Washington County Public Schools on Friday, 8/12/16 and Monday, 8/15/16.
    • Paul will give a presentation and set up a display on AskUsNow! at the Baltimore County Public School’s Social Studies Teachers’ Professional Development Day on Thursday, 8/18/16.
    • In collaboration with the Carroll County Public Library’s AskUsNow! Liaisons, the Carroll County Public School media specialists will learn about AskUsNow! on Tuesday, 8/23/16.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  Phase 1 was completed in early July and offered to SLRC and DLDS for feedback.  A meeting is scheduled for early August to discuss edits and opportunities for enhancement.

 

Other:

  • New Staff and Refresher Training opportunities were posted.  Staff will be able to learn about effective virtual reference interviews in the Refresher Training.
  • The Hagerstown Community College’s Brish Library staff received their new staff training.  They will start chatting on Monday, 8/15/16.
  • Katie R., a new AskUsNow! volunteer, completed her new staff training.  She will provide chat on Tuesdays at 8 pm.  

 

Submitted on 8/11/16 by PC

2016 08 - August 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

August 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1503 times; +214 times than August 2015.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1050 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 782 times.
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    • Week 1:  414 chat questions in 205 chat sessions.
    • Week 2:  423 chat questions in 233 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Great service! I received prompt and thorough responses to my questions.  A Hagerstown CC librarian set a positive and sympathetic tone on a chat about parking at the library, and gave a referral to a government contact who handles parking concerns in Montgomery County.

Librarians seemed friendly and the answers are helpful. This is a terrific service!  A PGCMLS librarian helped a BCPL customer learn how to fill out a job application.  The customer specifically learned how to add volunteer experiences into the application.

Needs Improvement:

…I was looking for books in Spanish for children… The person that handled my request was polite but said that I should ask a MC librarian…Because I work all week and run around with the children on weekend, I find it hard to physically go to a MC library so I was trying to solve my query on line but was not able to do so.  Do you know if it is possible to receive an email list of the books in Spanish for children of MC libraries?...complete list on line?...

  • The chat librarian did a minimal amount of catalog searching and reader’s advisory; did not instruct the customer about how to use other services or resources to find books in Spanish for children; and did not offer referrals for more help.
  • MCPL Librarians and AUN Admins gave the chat librarian feedback on how to give online reader’s advisory services; shared with the customer resources to find books in Marina; and MCPL added LibGuide information about “books in Spanish for children.”

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Nina Parikh (Anne Arundel Community College), and 2) Hannah Erickson and 3) Susie Misleh (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in August. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  24 posts reached approximately 6400 users.
    • Twitter:  97 tweets reached approximately 7400 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  Posts and tweets focused on Olympic current events and history had the furthest reach and engagement from followers.  Thank you to the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Washington County Public Schools, and Worcester County Library for social media promotions.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • AskUsNow! K-12/Homeschool and College/University Toolkits:  In collaboration with the AskUsNow! partner libraries, the toolkits have been created to help educators prepare students to access AskUsNow! for research help.  All of the partner libraries have the toolkits.  The toolkits have also been presented and given directly to schools during outreach presentations, and schools by email where Admins did not do presentations.
    • 8/12 & 8/15:  Did professional development day presentations for 30 Washington County Public School, elementary school librarians in Hagerstown, and 16 secondary school librarians in Boonsboro.
    • 8/18:  Did a professional development day demonstration and set up an exhibit for 200 Baltimore County Public School, secondary social studies teachers in Essex.
    • 8/23:  Collaborated with the Carroll County Public Library in presenting AskUsNow! to 40 Carroll County Public School elementary and secondary school librarians on their professional development day.
    • 8/25:  In collaboration with the Pratt & SLRC Social Science and History Department Manager and the Maryland Humanities Council, National History Day resources and services were presented to 20 Baltimore City Public School honors social studies teachers on their professional development day.   
  • AskUsNow.info Website Redesign:  The AskUsNow! Admins are exploring options for decreasing the number of clicks to access and use the chat form or Qwidget from the website’s homepage.  Currently, customers has over 60 ways to identify themselves on AskUsNow!.  One option being explored is the placement and access to only one chat form and Qwidget on the homepage.  The Admins are also revising the content on the website’s menu options with less text and more images.    

Training:  16 chat librarians completed “Virtual Reference Interview In Review” on Blackboard Collaborate.

Volunteers:  Katie R. began volunteering one hour/week on Tuesdays at 8 pm on chat on 8/9/16.

 

Submitted on 9/13/16 by PC

2016 09 - September 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

September 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 2051 times; +369 times than September 2015.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1189 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 802 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 3:  638 chat questions in 312 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

I contacted the New York City Public Library and they were way less helpful than the wonderful librarian I spoke to here. Kuddos!  An HCPL librarian helped a PGCMLS customer find an older copy of Jet magazine available at Pratt & SLRC in microfilm.

Thank you so much for the wonderful information services.  I really appreciate it.  The librarian was prompt, professional, and enthusiastic in helping me with my questions.  I want to thank her again for her assistance.   A BCPL librarian helped an MCPL customer learn about how to find social workers through her local government and nonprofits.

Needs Improvement:

I have been using this to help research topics for my homework and classwork for the past 7 years.  I am always very satisfied with the service and the librarians alway are willing to help. When looking for sources especially scholarly sources I often turn to this service to help…however, the librarians typically resort to…using the same searches and the same databases. I recommend that when looking for sources librarians offering service not only look for sources in the provided databases but also outside of the databases….   A CCBC/Baltimore County high school student gave positive feedback and suggestions on how librarians can help him out and others on their research questions.  The AskUsNow! Admins and CCBC Liaisons replied back to the student, and will work on a tutorial that helps chat librarians improve how they listen and inquire, and find and give information to students.

It took a day to get a response to my answer, which is too long…The person told me to wait a minute because they were searching for answer…Moments later, the chat was disconnected. The person said they disconnected because they didn't hear back from me....  A Maryland Librarian gave the student accurate answers to her research questions, but was not sure why what she received was right and why the chat disconnected.  The AskUsNow! Admins gave the librarian suggestions on how to explain the credibility of a source with an answer, and give the customer time to review the information online, which usually takes longer than in person.

 

Month in Review:

Liaison Meeting:  The Liaison Meeting was held at the South Bowie Branch of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System on Wednesday, September 21, 2016: http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/092116_LiaisonMeeting_Min... During the meeting, the Anne Arundel County Public Library formally announced that it will be ending its partnership with AskUsNow! on December 31, 2016.

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Cynthia Dennis (Baltimore County Public Library); 2) Erika Harris (Community College of Baltimore County); and 3) Alice Pattera (Worcester County Library).

Committees:  Social Media:  AskUsNow! Admins gathered new ideas about how to get AskUsNow! chat librarians more involved with marketing AskUsNow!.  The committee advised the Admins to create a “faces on AskUsNow!” campaign that introduces AskUsNow! social media followers to chat librarians.  The committee also discussed 2-3 social media statistics that should be collected and reported.  Those statistics are reach or impressions, and engagement.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  27 posts reached approximately 6800 users.
    • Twitter:  103 tweets reached approximately 10,300 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  Posts and tweets focused on adults going back to school and preparing for research projects.  The popular post and tweets were about National History Day resources, resources for writing college application essays, and back-to-school, time management resources.  
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • 9/19-9/23 and 9/26-9/30:  AskUsNow! Admins provided research support and extra Maryland chat librarians to Carroll County students from Northwest Middle and South Carroll High School working on English Language Arts projects.
    • By request, Admins provided AskUsNow! marketing and information to the Thomas Stone High School Librarian in Charles County,
    • Admins had a meeting with the Parkdale High School Librarian in Prince George’s County about providing in-depth, research support for her 11th grade, IB students during chat.  Prior to the meeting, Parkdale High promoted AskUsNow! on social media and occasionally had students use chat during school hours. 
    • Admins provided research support and extra chat librarians to 7th grade, Montgomery County Public School IB students working on African Art projects.  They learned about MCPL resources and received referrals to the SLRC African American, Fine Arts and Music, and Social Science and History Departments.
  • AskUsNow.info Website Redesign:  Admins edited secondary page content, making it more web-friendly and user focused.  The Admins also began collaborating with the Pratt & SLRC Web Department to examine the new website's user experience design.  

Training:  Last month’s “Virtual Reference Interview in Review” refreshing training sessions are available as recordings on the AskUsNow! Staff Website.

Volunteers:  Paul will be giving a virtual reference and AskUsNow! presentation to University of Maryland, iSchool students taking information access courses on Wednesday, 11/2/16.  The online presentation will also include information about volunteering at AskUsNow!.

 

Submitted on 10/14/16 by PC

2016 10 - October 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

October 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1825 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1142 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 796 times.
  • Statistical Sampling: 
    1. Week 4:  612 chat questions in 298 chat sessions.
    2. Week 5:  638 chat questions in 308 chat sessions. 

 

Customers’ Comments: 

Positive:

The librarian was amazingly responsive in getting back to me, but the information I was looking for was not readily available.  She is pursuing it off line.  I am very impressed with this service!  A Pratt & SLRC Librarian gave in-depth, research assistance during chat to a customer asking for the history of Baltimore City schools in the 1910s.  The Pratt & SLRC Maryland Department followed-up with the customer with more resources available online and inside of the library that can or cannot be borrowed. 

Love you guys!!!  Thanks.  A Prince George’s County School Librarian received help about finding eBooks and online resources that discourage students from dropping out of school.

Needs Improvement:

Librarian didn't have a clue how to approach the request.  An out-of-state librarian provided poor service to an MCPL customer who needed a PDF of an article.  MCPL followed-up with the customer on her article request, and the AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator provided feedback to the librarian about how to get the facts about the customer’s information needs and concerns before giving answers.

 

Month in Review: 

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Cameron Caswell (Anne Arundel Community College), 2) Ellen Ruoff (Calvert Library), and 3) Susie Misleh (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in October. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 7,200 users.
    • Twitter: 99 tweets engaged approximately 9,500 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  AskUsNow! focused on posts/tweets related to test prep for students of all ages, professional development (particularly opportunities available online), and topics related to health literacy.  The most popular posts/tweets were about finding primary sources on any research subject, finding the best .gov websites, and interdisciplinary research project help.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Garrett County Public School students asked for National History Day research help in finding primary and secondary sources, and Science Fair resources for creating projects.  The 8th grade students learned about how to find sources using Sailor databases and recommended resources at the National History Day website.
    • More National History Day students are asking for research help during and after school from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert, Caroline, Frederick, Prince George’s, and Washington Counties.
    • Enoch Pratt Bookmobile Librarians distributed brochures about AskUsNow! at the Fells Point Festival.
    • Becca, the AskUsNow! Support for Operations, distributed brochures about AskUsNow! at the annual MASL Conference.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The www.askusnow.info website is in the process of being redesigned to enhance and provide a smooth, chat experience to all Maryland customers (residents and students from Maryland schools, institutions, and homeschool environments).  The website will be launched in January 2017.  The most important updates to the website will include:
    • Shortening the path to accessing chat with fewer clicks.  Customers will use one chat form or widget from the homepage, instead of selecting through a list of chats forms and widgets by location, to ask research and information questions.
    • Making the menu pages (i.e. pages about policy, school use, QuestionPoint) with less text and more images.  If a Maryland customer, potential partner, or school librarian wishes to learn more about the service, they will have the information easily accessible and jargon-free.

Training:  Two, new staff training sessions were held at the Odenton Regional Library in Anne Arundel County.  Seven Maryland library staff completed the training.

Volunteers:  There are no updates on volunteers at AskUsNow!.

Submitted on 11/14/16 by PC

2016 11 - November 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

November 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 2507 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in chat sessions from Maryland and global customers 1234 times.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 775 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 6:  446 chat questions in 237 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Pam (at Frostburg State) was very helpful!—A Frostburg State University Librarian helped a Prince George’s County/UMD grad student learn about historical societies and volunteer opportunities, and resources specific to her new neighborhood.

Librarian Jeff was very very helpful. There should be more people like him!!!:)—A BCPL Librarian helped a Montgomery County customer find authoritative resources on the history of music players from the medieval times to the present.

Needs Improvement:

the librarian was very kind and patient.--While the Prince George’s middle school student was satisfied with the National History Day (NHD) research help from the Harford County Librarian, the customer was confused about the status of the Laurel Branch and her own school’s library resources.  A Prince George’s Librarian followed up by email to clarify the Laurel Branch closure and suggested resources that are available in and out of her school for her NHD project.

why not let me download transcript. maybe i don't want to give you my email. or maybe just let me keep looking at it when session ends. instead of poof.--The Pratt/SLRC customer gave a good point about how to receive a copy of the transcript using the Qwidget.  The customer was not aware of how the chat librarians do not see the email address if it is added in after the chat is over.  The AUN Statewide Coordinator explained to the customer how he can receive a copy of his chat transcript while still staying anonymous on chat.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Joe Ruff (Calvert Library), 2) Nancy Smith (Harford County Public Library), and 3) Chris Keogler (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in November. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 6,900 users.
    • Twitter: 86 tweets engaged approximately 7,700 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  AUN focused on posts/tweets about National Novel Writing Month, research for NHD, and holiday travel.  The most popular posts/tweets were about finding self-publishing resources, checklists for evaluating printed and online historical sources, and getting short stories and poetry published on open access websites. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Prince George’s County middle school students were using AUN for the first time to prepare to do research for NHD and interdisciplinary projects.  The students asked personal interest questions to get introduced to chat reference, and then they asked questions for the school projects.
    • Washington County middle and high school students are using their school iPads to get research help on their NHD projects.  The students are learning about how to find sources on the recommended NHD research tools, and getting tips on how to find people to interview for their projects.
  • www.askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The www.askusnow.info website is in the process of being redesigned to enhance and provide a smooth, chat experience to all Maryland customers (residents and students from Maryland schools, institutions, and homeschool environments).  Improvements being designed for the website include:
    • Shortening the content on the “About Us” webpage.
    • Including a “sample chat questions” webpage.

Training: 

  • Towson University’s Cook Library will be hosting a statewide, new staff training on Tuesday, 1/17/17.
  • On 11/2/16, the Statewide Coordinator of AUN guest lectured at Dr. Gorman’s Serving Information Needs course.  20 University of Maryland, iSchool students were introduced to virtual references services and AUN.  The iSchool is exploring a Spring 2017 guest lecture opportunity for the Statewide Coordinator of AUN.

Volunteers:  There are no updates on volunteers at AUN.

Submitted on 12/14/16 by PC

2016 12 - December 2016 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

December 2016

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 2431 times.  This is over 600 more chat sessions than December 2015.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1096 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 460 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 7:  571 chat questions in 294 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

She was very helpful! I liked how she did not pressure me to complete my research right away, and gave me time to look it up myself. She gave me the tools to do it on my own, and did not spoon-feed the information to me.—a CCBC student learned how to find articles for and against the use of smartphones in Opposing Viewpoints.

Excellent service!— The Pratt/SLRC Librarian gave a Prince George’s County parent poetry advisory for her son’s 2nd grade poetry review.

THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE THING!  Great service. Made my day, can't wait to read the suggestions!  Very knowledgable staff!—The Washington County librarian gave accurate information about the holds process and squeezed in reader’s advisory for an eager Montgomery County reader.

Needs Improvement:

Took a long time to answer and the answer was not particularly helpful—The librarian attempted to resolve an online payment issue, but the customer grew frustrated with not being able to do the payment online.  The follow-up by email librarian resolved the online payment issue, and the AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator gave the chat librarian tips on how to work on tough fines & fees by offering more ways for the customer to send in payments.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Sharon Lanasa (Anne Arundel County Public Library), 2) Theresa Mastrodonato (Frostburg State University), and 3) Vanessa Chandler (Prince George's County Memorial Library System).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in December. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  29 posts reached approximately 7,500 users.
    • Twitter:  91 tweets engaged approximately 7,500 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  The most popular posts were about finding employment during the holiday season, holiday reading suggestions, and completing projects before the winter break.
    • In the new year, AskUsNow! will be creating posts with or without the www.askusnow.info URL at the end of the posts to determine if the URL has a major impact on increasing the reach and engagement on AskUsNow!.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Prince George’s County continues to have a strong presence on AskUsNow!.  The Statewide Coordinator provided support to the PGCMLS to prepare the PGCPS students to receive a high quality of service.
    • The Garrett County and Queen Anne’s County, National History Day students have accessed the service for guidance in their research.  The Statewide Coordinator supported the schools by giving tips that students can use to effectively chat with librarians, and receive follow-up by email from the State Library Resource Center.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator and Support for Operations, SLRC Office, and Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Web Department discussed further revisions to www.askusnow.info.  All parties agreed to move the website from a multi-page WordPress website to an html-designed singular page, which will give the customers quicker and seamless access to chat.  The launch of the new website is anticipated for January 2017.

Training:  A “Best Free Websites for Virtual Reference Customers” online training program is being developed.  Two, one-hour sessions will be available in the February 2017.

Volunteers:  Our two evening volunteers (Michelle and Katie) both had exceptional chat sessions nominated for the transcript review team.

Sad News:  The Anne Arundel County Public Library ended its partnership with AskUsNow! on 12/31/16. 

 

Submitted on 1/6/17 by PC; Revised and Updated on 1/18/17 by PC

2017 01 - January 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

January 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1823 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1042 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 446 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 8:  332 chat questions in 198 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Katie, librarian from Rockville, was very helpful and offered additional resources per my question. This is excellent and I will definitely return should I have other questions. Thank you and Happy New Year!  The MD public librarian gave reader’s advisory for a parent who needed elementary school reading suggestions for his daughter.  He received his library’s “recommended reading” blog and advisory guide.

The librarian who helped me cameron was amazing! She gave me some wonderful resources to work with!—The Anne Arundel librarian gave the student clear and advanced search strategies for looking for peer-reviewed articles on gender roles in Disney films in online magazines and newspapers.

Needs Improvement:

Difficulty: no easily visible link to Montgomery County only, I used the "Ask a Librarian ", realized it was statewide, and cut it off. Appreciate the diligent follow-through!

  • The MCPL Librarian gave thorough follow-up to a question about borrowing a hard-to-find book. 
  • The AskUsNow! Project Coordinator replied back to the customer about how AskUsNow! works and about the different types of chat librarians who could help her out.  She replied back thanking the project coordinator and likes the 24/7 availability.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Jen Bishop (Carroll County Public Library) 2) Amelia Viars (Cecil County Public Library), and 3) Alice Pattera (Worcester County Library).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in January.  The next Social Media Committee meeting will be on Tuesday, 2/28/17.  We are looking forward to working with Karen Skirchak (Calvert Library), Eden Parks (Towson University) and Ashley Jones (Worcester County Library).  Thank you to Tracy Miller (Harford County Public Library), Dale Pastor (Montgomery County Public Library), and Joyce Garczynski (Towson University) for their time on advising AskUsNow! on moving forward with its social media efforts.

Marketing:

  • Social Media: 
    • Facebook:  29 posts reached approximately 5,900 users, -21% from December.
    • Twitter:  95 tweets reached approximately 10,000 users, +25% from December.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  The posts/tweets focused on civil rights, e-services (i.e. eBooks, eMagazines) and journalism.  The most popular ones were about using Civil Rights research tools to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and looking for the best, fake journalism websites. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Prince George’s County continues to have a strong presence on AskUsNow!.  The Statewide Coordinator provided support to the PGCMLS to prepare the PGCPS students to receive a high quality of service.
    • Baltimore County elementary school, GT students are receiving support on how to use the service for their research projects.
    • Baltimore City, and Calvert and Garrett County, National History Day students have accessed the service for guidance in their research.  The Statewide Coordinator supported the schools by giving tips that students can use to effectively chat with librarians, and receive follow-up by email from the State Library Resource Center.  The students will be all set for their February/March district/county competitions.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The SLRC Commission approved moving forward on launching the website as soon as possible.  A timeline is being developed between the AskUsNow! Project Coordinator, Support for Operations, Chief of SLRC, and the Pratt/SLRC Web Department to launch the website.

Training: 

  • “The Best Free Websites for Virtual Reference Customers” refresher training opportunity is being offered twice on Blackboard Collaborate on February 14 and 21.
  • 10 librarians from Baltimore, Calvert, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties received new staff training on 1/17/17 at the Cook Library at Towson University.
  • Paul provided more information about how to provide global chat to Charles County Public Library’s reference supervisors.

Volunteers:  N/A

Other:

  • UMES reached an agreement to provide global chat on Wednesdays.  They began this month.
  • Charles County Public Library reached an agreement to provide global chat weekly on Tuesdays starting in February 2017.

 

Submitted on 2/10/17 by PC

 

2017 02 - February 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

February 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1604 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered 982 questions in chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 392 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 9:  445 chat questions in 256 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

I absolutely love this service. I have used it time and time again, and it has never failed to impress!— A Montgomery County student received reader’s advisory and access services from a Towson University librarian about John Brown and information about how to find books about John Brown (and related ones by call number) in the MCPL catalog.

Jean helped me out so much, she was very kind and very informative!—The CCBC Librarian gave the Frostburg State University student advanced search strategies for her health studies research.

The assistance that I received today was better than any I have asked for at any other library or reference desk, in all of my years! I am 56 years old and you are doing a legendary job of assisting folks with their reference questions!  Thank you so much for the professional help and kindness that I received!  Jeff--The Pratt/SLRC Librarian tried multiple ways to find an obit for a Prince George’s customer, and the resources used to find the obit impressed the customer to go along with the professionalism.

Needs Improvement:

My first experience wasn't fabulous, but my second attempt with the librarian from Baltimore (Pratt?) today was wonderful.—The customer received too quickly of a conversation in his first chat.  In the second chat, the Pratt/SLRC Librarian give the Montgomery County customer a thorough and empathetic conversation about governmental agencies and how AUN works.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Cynthia Dennis (Baltimore County Public Library), Erin Kelly (Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC), and 3) Katie Righter (AskUsNow! Volunteer).

Committees:  the Social Media Committee met on Blackboard to discuss current social media trends and ideas for outreach to schools and educators through our social media accounts.  The new committee -- which contains two former grade-school teachers -- offered invaluable advice for communicating with teachers, both through social media and in-person marketing initiatives.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  25 posts reached approximately 5300 users.
    • Twitter:  84 tweets reached approximately 7200 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  The posts/tweets focused on African American History, civics and human rights research, and teen identity and relationship resources.  The most popular were about African American History research guides and transgender resources.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Harford County middle school schools are receiving research help on their Holocaust and World War II assignments.
    • St. Mary’s County students asked personal interest questions to get a better idea of how a virtual reference service works.
    • As they get closer to the school and county-wide contests, National History Day students are asking for more help on resources to improve their annotated bibliographies.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The anticipated launch date of the redesigned www.askusnow.info is Friday, 3/17/17, AUN’s 14th birthday.

Training:

  • 23 chat librarians attended the “The Best Free Websites for Virtual Reference Customers” refresher training opportunities. 
  • Paul provided five Google Hangouts to the Spring 2017 LATI group.
  • Paul will be guest lecturing to UMD iSchool students for the second semester in a row about virtual reference services.
  • Becca was chosen by QuestionPoint to present information about working with students during surges in the virtual reference service.  

Volunteers:  Our two volunteers met with Paul to review their chats with Maryland and global customers.

Other: 

  • Towson University reached an agreement to provide global chat for all five of their chat hours/week.  They started providing global chat on 2/22/17.
  • Maryland public libraries posted information about tax sales and foreclosure resources on their QuestionPoint policy pages.
  • A Fake News v. Real News Resources page was created:  http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/behaviors/fakenews_realnews

 

Submitted on 3/15/17 by PC; Updated on 3/21/17 by RS

2017 03 - March 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

March 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1532 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered 981 questions in chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 441 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 10:  310 chat questions in 171 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

It was very nice and the Librarian was very nice she helped me get all of the information I needed and I was able to finish my project with all the info I needed and I got an A. Thanks, Ask Us Now—The Harford County librarian helped a Frederick County customer find last-minute primary sources for her county-wide National History Day competition.

AWESOME in had Mr. tom—The Pratt/SLRC librarian gave nonjudgmental help on Iranian history to a Baltimore County student who wanted opinions.

Needs Improvement:

I feel like this particular librarian could have been a bit more communicative. Most of his answers were "okay thanks" and so it was difficult to see if whether he really got what I was trying to say. But over all, it was all right. I know the particular topic I had was rather difficulty.—The out-of-state chat librarian gave a Montgomery College student search strategies and suggested databases to find scholarly articles about the influence of media violence in Syria, but the customer was caught off-guard about how the librarian kept stating what he “can’t” do for her.  Montgomery College followed up with more information about how some of the library’s online resources match her research needs.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Ellen Ruoff (Calvert Library), Erin Kelly (Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC), and 3) Belinda Lloyd (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in March. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  27 posts reached approximately 7700 users.
    • Twitter:  95 tweets reached approximately 7700 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  The posts/tweets focused on Women’s History Month, achieving goals, and space exploration.  The most popular were about women who took a stand in history and passing the Praxis exams.
    • Schools and educators from Baltimore, Calvert, Frederick, and Montgomery counties interacted with our social media accounts.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • 20 Cecil County Public School high school students asked for research help on their DNA, gene therapy, gene splicing, and fingerprinting questions.
    • McDaniel College School Library Media and UMD iSchool students are accessing AskUsNow! to work on their classes’ research projects, and to optionally learn about how to do better searches for scholarly articles.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  The newly redesigned www.askusnow.info launched on Friday, 3/17/17. 

Training: 

  • Two statewide, new staff trainings will be in May:  5/16/17 at SMRLA and 5/18/17 at BCPL-North Point.  Montgomery College will host a statewide, new staff training in the Summer 2017.
  • Paul guest lectured about virtual reference at the UMD iSchool’s “Serving Information Needs” course.  15 MLIS students learned about how AskUsNow! and similar cooperative and stand-alone virtual reference services work. 
  • Becca was a trainer for “Unexpected Class Visits: Ready, Set, You've Got This,” an online QuestionPoint webinar.  30 librarians from in and out of Maryland attended.
  • Two statewide, refresher training about “Answering Library Card Account Questions at AskUsNow!” will be in April:  4/18/17 and 4/25/17 on Blackboard Collaborate.

Volunteers:  Katie Righter was recognized by the Transcript Review Team.

Other: 

  • The Interim LSTA Grant Report was submitted to DLDS.
  • The March 2017 Liaison Meeting was held at the Charlotte Hall Library in St. Mary’s County.  Thank you to Sara Stephenson and the St. Mary’s County Library’s administration and staff for hosting this event.
  • The Maryland State Law Library agreed to do email follow-up, instead of chat and email follow-up, because law questions were rarely asked during their chat hours.
  • Site visits were completed at the Cecil County Public Library and Hagerstown Community College.
  • The Hagerstown Community College reached an agreement to provide global chat for one of their five chat hours/week.  They will start providing global chat in April 2017.

Submitted on 4/13/17 by PC

2017 04 - April 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

April 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1278 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 857 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 368 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:
    • Week 11:  366 chat questions in 234 chat sessions.
    • Week 12:  352 chat questions in 182 chat sessions.

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

My librarian (Lisa) was very helpful, and she was easily able to provide me with answers along with additional resources. The response was quick, through, and easy to understand.
I high recommend this to anyone who may be confused with some of the libraries series, and I commend the librarians for their excellent expertise!—The Baltimore County librarian helped a Montgomery County customer find an audiobook and explained the service’s holds policy.

Beth helped me today and she was very helpful and knowledgeable.—The Frederick County librarian helped a Prince George’s County library science student learn about how to find books using an ILL service and explained how ILL services work.

Needs Improvement:

Becca was very helpful and very friendly and professional.  She was not able to find the information I am seeking, however, did give me references to follow up with.   In searching those references I am unable to find it…It would be helpful if I could just type in the name and search that way.—The Baltimore City librarian explained to the out of state customer how to get access to historical criminal records.  A law subject specialist followed up by email to reinforce how her information request can be accomplished.

 

Month in Review:

 

Recognition:  The transcript review team selections will be posted later this month.

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in April. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  26 posts reached approximately 7000 users.
    • Twitter:  88 tweets reached approximately 7400 users.
    • Popular posts/tweets:  The posts/tweets focused on Maryland history, financial literacy, and poetry.  The most popular were about publishing poetry.
    • Schools and educators from Baltimore City, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties interacted with our social media accounts.
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Howard County students asked government and politics research questions.
    • UMD-College Park students and alumni, learned about AskUsNow! at Maryland Day.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign:  Analytics began on the website using QuestionPoint and Google Analytics.  The following data will be gathered:
    • Through QuestionPoint, we will track:
      • Total number of chats originating from the website
      • The customer's county/institution
      • Times of the day/week when customers access AskUsNow!.
    • Through customer surveys and transcript review, we will track:
      • Customer reactions to the chat interface and experience
      • Chat question topics and trends
      • Chat librarian behavioral trends and opportunities for improvement.
    • Through Google Analytics, we will track:
      • The type of device and browser the customer is using
      • How a customer found us (via Google search, Twitter, etc.).

Training: 

  • Two librarians received new staff training.
  • 19 librarians attended “Answering Library Card Account Questions at AskUsNow!” on 4/18/17 and 4/25/17 on Blackboard Collaborate. 
  • 13 librarians attended “The Best Free Websites to Use for Research” at the 2017 Spring SLRC Conference.  Evaluation comments included:
    • “I never heard about these websites, so this session was extremely informative.”
    • “I particularly appreciated the websites BASE, JURN, and PQDT Open, as they will be very helpful when college students come into our branch.”

Volunteers:  MLIS students have expressed interest in doing field study experiences.

Other: 

  • The Anne Arundel Community College, Charles County Public Library, and Community College of Baltimore County added the Qwidget to their library’s websites.
  • Site visits were completed at the Charles County Public Library and Frederick County Public Libraries.

 

Submitted on 5/15/17 by PC

2017 05 - May 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1695 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1119 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 345 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 13:  396 chat questions in 231 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

My Librarian was very nice and patient with me. She understood what i was asking and did all that she could to give me the right answers.—A CCBC nursing student learned how to cite information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  She specifically told the chat librarian that her professor discouraged the use of online citation generators.

Love the ProQuest access via Montgomery County Public Libraries.  They've just changed something that made accessing different which is why I needed help.  I've used this online system for about 3 years and think its terrific!  A GREAT HELP!  Thanks! — The Prince George’s librarian helped a Montgomery County customer find ProQuest resources for their research according to project guidelines.

Needs Improvement:

Never give me that librarian ever again—The Pratt/SLRC librarian gave a student helpful math resources with explanations about how they can help the Baltimore County student answer her questions, but she wanted the librarian to do her homework.  The follow-up librarian reiterated to the student how the resources are useful and explained what chat librarians can do for students at AskUsNow!.

 

Month in Review:

 

Recognition: 

  • The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Lisa Hughes (Baltimore County Public Library) 2) Cecilia Thomas (St. Mary’s County Library), and Michelle Izuka (Volunteer).  Cecilia was also recognized by QuestionPoint for the eBook chat that provided to an Oregon customer. 
  • Cynthia Dennis (Baltimore County Public Library) was recognized by QuestionPoint for her reference interview skills in a recent Ad.

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in May.  A Social Meeting Committee meeting is set for Thursday, 6/22/17. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 30 posts reached approximately 5,800 users.
    • Twitter: 97 tweets engaged approximately 6,100 users.
    • May's social media posts covered oceans and other bodies of water (including drinking water), fitness, and war history. AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators.
    • We received two research questions via Twitter, which gave us an opportunity to highlight the type of assistance we give on the service. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • Class visits came primarily from 4th and 5th grade students from Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.  The students asked questions about the 13 colonies, climate change, and questions about their own interests.   
    • Montgomery College presented to the Statewide Coordinator their March 2017 AskUsNow! marketing campaign.  Four times as many chats came into service than in March 2016.
    • An AskUsNow! Lesson Plan has been created and proposed.  It will be further discussed for implementation at the June 2017 Liaison Meeting.
  • AskUsNow.info Website Redesign: 
    • www.askusnow.info was visited 1,187 times. 
    • Approximately 537 chat sessions took place on the website.
    • As previously mentioned, www.askusnow.info saw a high volume of class visits from Prince George’s Montgomery Counties. 
    • Several chats arrived from the Maryland State Law Library and Maryland.gov.

Training:  Four librarians from Baltimore, Frederick, and Prince George’s counties attended new staff training.

Volunteers:  Michelle Izuka was recognized by the transcript review team.

Other:

  • AskUsNow! had an exhibit on display at the 2017 MLA & DLA Joint Conference.  Thank you to Margaret Carty for generously giving space for the service.
  • The Statewide Coordinator attended the Spring 2017 LATI Conference.
  • The Support for Operations attended a meeting with Statewide and Regional Virtual Reference Coordinators.  She got feedback about the redesigned www.askusnow.info
  • Several AskUsNow! partners libraries contributed feedback to QuestionPoint about providing citation help on chat. 

Submitted on 6/16/17 by PC

2017 06 - June 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

June 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into 966 chat times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 701 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 353 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 14:  294 chat questions in 159 chat sessions.

Customers’ Comments: 

Positive:

Eden was quick to respond and able to answer my question quickly and concisely.  A great help and I'm sure a great asset to the library.  Thanks for making it easy to get the information I was looking for--The Towson University librarian gave the Baltimore City customer quick and thorough information about an annotated code in Baltimore City in 1902 using a digital resource.

none for now except for great service—The Hagerstown librarian gave a Montgomery County customer more information about how to do research in the quiet spaces at her local library.

Great and convenient service...Nancy was very helpful!  I appreciate the service and Nancy's prompt and super service.  Thanks.—The Harford County librarian helped a Carroll County customer place holds on DVDs and place ILLs.  She also explained why items from county’s community college are in the catalog, not available as holds, but can still be requested using ILL.

Needs Improvement:

whoever spoke to me was nice and all but all they told me was to call the library, if I had wanted to call them I would have I didnt need to waste my time chatting online—The Washington State librarian gave inaccurate information about meeting rooms being available in the St. Mary’s County Library, and did not offer follow-up by email.  St. Mary’s replied back to apologize for being directed to something other than an online referral, and gave information about booking a meeting room.

The librarian who assisted me. Amy, I think? She did not give me the correct and specific information I requested. I requested for statistics on civil disobedience, and she gave me the link to a teen homework website! What? I am extremely disappointed, MCPL.—The out of state librarian gave accurate information, but gave it too quickly and without explaining with it was useful.  AUN gave feedback on how to slowly share information and give time to review it.

 

Month in Review: 

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Danielle Wallace (Baltimore County Public Library) 2) Emily Sachs (Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC), and Sara Stephenson (St. Mary’s County Library). 

Committees:  The Social Media Committee met for its quarterly meeting. The committee brainstormed ideas for future campaigns and topics for the Fall 2017. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 3000 users.
    • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 6400 users.
    • Social media posts covered health awareness (including nutrition and exercise), family history research, and job searching.  AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators.
    • 19 chat librarians volunteered to create “What are you reading?” posts. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:  Liaisons gave feedback on the proposed AskUsNow! Lesson Plan.  The final version of the lesson plan is due for release as early as July 2017.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign: 
    • www.askusnow.info was visited 930 times. 
    • Approximately 118 chat sessions took place on the website.
    • Chats arrived from Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland State Law Library, the ALA’s RUSA Division, and Maryland Nonprofits websites.

Training: 

  • Two librarians from Baltimore County received new staff training.
  • “eBook Questions at AskUsNow!” on Blackboard Collaborate was announced for 7/18/17 and 7/25/17.

Volunteers:  Our Fall 2017 intern’s chat schedule was confirmed.  She will provide 75 chat hours at AskUsNow! to MD and global customers.

Other:

  • The June 2017 Liaison Meeting took place at the Owings Mills Branch of BCPL.  Thank you to BCPL for hosting the meeting.
  • “Helping AskUsNow! Patrons With Law Questions,” http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/behaviors/mdlaw, was created and released in cooperation with the Maryland State Law Library.

 

Submitted on 7/14/17 by PC

2017 07 - July 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

July 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 950 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 811 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 351 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 1:  264 chat questions in 157 chat sessions.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Like the feature of the floating box on the screen and is readily available, catches your attention. No need to dig deep into website to ask a question.—The Harford County librarian give clear and concise information about renewing library cards in Baltimore City.  She also liked the Qwidget.

My experience has been with HCL for the most part and I've always received helpful and courteous treatment. This has been the same.Thanks--The Hagerstown librarian taught the Harford County customer how to return eBooks.

I appreciate all the help. Lois.--The Charles County customer got help finding obituaries using local and SLRC resources.

Needs Improvement:

Should have librarians who can actually help you with real questions, not just someone who can research documents online and send it to you. Should have someone who can review things like Citations.   

  • The librarian gave resources and examples of how to site what the CCBC student needed in APA format, but the student was expecting a writing center/tutoring type of service. 
  • The CCBC Libraries followed up with the student to clarify how AskUsNow! works and gave a citation app that CCBC subscribes to that may help get help online and not f2f in a writing center.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from 1) Lisa Hughes (Baltimore County Public Library), 2) Jodie Abruscato (Harford County Public Library) and 3) Miriam DesHarnais (Towson University).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in July.

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 25 posts reached approximately 3100 users.
    • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 7100 users.
    • social media posts covered oceans and other bodies of water (including drinking water), fitness, and war history. AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • The Carroll County Public Schools requested a presentation on AskUsNow! and Virtual Reference.  The presentation will be on Tuesday, 8/29/17.
    • Schools are receiving an updated AskUsNow! toolkit, and newly created lesson plan templates.
  • www.askusnow.info Website Redesign: 
    • www.askusnow.info was visited 893 times. 
    • Approximately 97 chat sessions took place on the website.
    • Chats mostly were accessed from the Maryland State Law Library and other Maryland.gov websites.  The majority of customers used the Google Chrome browser to access chat.
    • The April-June 2017 website analytics are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy17.      

Training:

  • 20 Maryland library staff attended “eBook Questions at AskUsNow!” online at Blackboard Collaborate
  • 130 library staff from in and out of Maryland attended the QuestionPoint webinar “Essential tips for answering patron questions.”  Paul Chasen (Statewide Coordinator) and Lisa Hartman (Frostburg State University) were trainers with a MN librarian. 

Volunteers:  Our Fall 2017 intern is getting trained on providing chat to Maryland and global library customers.

Other:

  • Site visits were held at the Anne Arundel Community College’s Truxal Library and the Montgomery College Libraries.
  • The Statewide Coordinator attended the MD Information Literacy Summit in Linthicum.
  • The Statewide Coordinator attended the Exploring the Scope of Diversity in Maryland Libraries training session in LaVale.
  • The Statewide Scripts were updated to include referral scripts to our subject specialists and information about How Maryland AskUsNow! works:  http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/technical/chat_scripts.

 

 

Submitted on 8/15/17 by PC

2017 08 - August 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

August 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1163 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 884 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 332 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  No Statistical Sampling weeks were in August.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Thank you!--The Baltimore City librarian gave the Prince George’s County customer urgent help on getting books for school and having choices on how to get them before the school year begins.

wonderful tool!—The Frederick County librarian found the title of a book that the Baltimore County customer had trouble remembering.  It was found in the BCPL catalog.

 

Needs Improvement:

The librarian didn't answer my question—The project coordinator and the Charles County liaison reviewed the chat and determined that the librarian gave an accurate answer to finding employment at his local library, but he only waited one minute to receive an answer before logging off of chat.

No help AT ALL. Person just repeated all of the things I had tried before I initiated call for help, so THANKS FOR NOTHING!!!!!—The project coordinator reviewed the chat with the Baltimore County liaison.  We found out that some of the library services were having downtime.  The Baltimore County liaison followed up by email with the customer about the downtime, and contacted the chat librarian about how the issue was resolved.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from:  1) Amelia Viars (Cecil County Public Library), 2) Hannah Erickson (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System), and 3) Jen Cavanaugh (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  There were no committee meetings in August. 

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  25 posts reached approximately 3000 users.
    • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 11,400 users. (+7100 from July 2017)
    • Social media posts covered back to school resources, older and newer classic literature, and resources for older customers.  Our twitter account had higher reaches thanks to school librarians back at school retweeting and liking our posts. 
  • Schools, Institutions, and Their Students:
    • On Tuesday, 8/29/17, 40 Carroll County Public School librarians were given a professional development day presentation about accessing AskUsNow! and having virtual reference interviews with the chat librarians.
    • In collaboration with the Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC Information Services Department, on Wednesday, 8/30/17, 50 Baltimore City Public School librarians, instructional technologists, and classroom teachers were given a professional development day presentation about accessing AskUsNow! and having academic conversations with the chat librarians.
    • Schools continued to receive the updated AskUsNow! toolkit, and newly created lesson plan.
    • The AskUsNow! marketing toolkit and lesson plan are available for all Maryland libraries to disseminate to educators at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/students/toolkit_lessonplan.
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign: 
    • www.askusnow.info was visited 1146 times. 
    • Approximately 229 chat sessions took place on the website.
    • Chats continue to be found most often from Maryland.gov, the Maryland State Law Library, Maryland Humanities, and Maryland Nonprofits websites.
  • An AskUsNow! blurb used for promotional purposes, and a digital copy of the brochure are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing and http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/UpdatedBrochure_AskUsNow_Jan2017_0.pdf.

Training:  On Tuesday, 8/15/17, 40 library staff received new staff training at the Montgomery College Libraries, Rockville Campus.  Thank you to Metta Lash, Tanner Wray, and the Montgomery College Libraries’ staff for hosting the statewide training. 

Volunteers:  Our Fall 2017 AskUsNow! Intern, Betsey Brannen from the Kent State University’s School of Information, began providing chat.  She will be providing about 75 hours of chat for Maryland and global customers. 

Other:

  • Site visits were held at the Community College of Baltimore County Libraries and Frostburg State University’s Ort Library.
  • The Frederick County Public Libraries added the Qwidget to its library’s website to enhance access to customers using the “Learn” and “Download” pages.
  • Sad news to share:  the Allegany County Library System decided to end its partnership with AskUsNow!.

 

 

Submitted on 9/15/17 by PC

2017 09 - September 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

September 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into 1040 chat times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 865 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 290 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Week 2:  415 chat questions in 228 chat sessions

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Super efficient.—The Frederick County librarian helped a Baltimore City customer find resources about the history of his home street’s name.

Julie from Washington was very helpful. She solved my problem very quickly. When another problem arose while she was solving the other problem she just continued to tackle the first problem and very quickly came up with a solution to the second problem. Great job Julie from Washington!—The Washington State librarian helped a Community College of Baltimore County student access an e-Textbook, and then learn how to use the Films on Demand service.

Needs Improvement:

Reported electronic resources outage which was apparently due to LibGuides service. Librarian gave an excuse that it was LibGuides problem and not a local MCPL problem. That's not satisfactory…somebody needs to provide useful error messages and not rely on a "504" web browser message.—A Montgomery County customer was upset about a language learning online resource not being available.  The Montgomery County Liaison followed up with the customer with empathy, and informed him that he was the first customer to report the issue.  A clearer error message was posted on the library’s website, and the access issue was resolved.

 

Month in Review:

Recognition:  The Transcript Review Team recognized three exceptional chat sessions from:  1) Ellen Ruoff (St. Mary’s County Library), 2) LuAnn Fisher (Hagerstown Community College’s Brish Library), and 3) Jen Cavanaugh (St. Mary’s County Library).

Committees:  Paul Chasen (Statewide Coordinator) met with the Collaborative-VR Committee (statewide and regional virtual reference coordinators).  He discussed the upcoming QuestionPoint user group studies, and encouraged more library staff to participate in them.   

Marketing:

  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 26 posts reached approximately 1700 users.
    • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 10,400 users.
    • Social media posts covered National History Day, College Searches, and Educators’ Online Resources.  The most popular posts were about information literacy websites made by school library media specialists.
    • Counties and institutions that expanded AskUsNow! reach on their social media accounts included Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Charles, Frederick, and Prince George’s Counties, and Towson University. 
  • Askusnow.info Website Redesign: 
    • www.askusnow.info was visited 1337 times. 
    • Approximately 194 chat sessions took place on the website.
    • Most of the chat arrived from the from Maryland.gov and the Maryland State Law Library websites; and Baltimore City, Carroll, Montgomery and Prince George’s County Public Schools.
  • Paul Chasen was recognized by QuestionPoint in their recent marketing efforts:  http://oc.lc/reference-story

Training:  Paul Chasen and Cameron Caswell (Anne Arundel Community College’s Truxal Library) trained the Fall 2017 LATI cohort on virtual reference and AskUsNow! in five Google Hangouts.

Volunteers: 

  • Betsey Brannen from the Kent State University’s School of Information, began providing chat.    
  • Megan Kellner (past AskUsNow! Intern) restarted providing chat in NC. 

Other:

  • The September 2017 Liaison Meeting was held at the MD Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH).  Thank you to Amanda Gonzalez and John Owen for hosting the meeting. 
  • The October 2017-September 2018 IMLS LSTA Grant Application was submitted and approved by the Maryland State Library.

 

Submitted on 10/18/17 by PC

2017 10 - October 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

October 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • MD library customers logged into chat 2076 times, +251 customers from October 2016.  941 of the chat sessions came from www.askusnow.info.
  • MD librarians answered questions in 1172 chat sessions from MD and global customers.
  • MD librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 384 times.
  • The 1st Quarter, Statistical Sampling totals will be reported in a future monthly report.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Librarian Hannah gave me so much info. She is the best librarian I have ever seen on this website. She is also nice and very useful—The Prince George’s librarian gave authoritative business and career resources to a 5th grade student in Montgomery County.

Rebecca, the Librarian that assisted me was great!  Very prompt, professional, courteous, and knowledgeable!!  I appreciate her willingness to not only assist me, but also to teach me how to use the system for myself... I will remember The Friends of the Library in my end of the year charity contributions because of this great resource and service that I received!!...—The Baltimore City Librarian helped a Prince George’s County customer find Spanish learning materials for the secondary education level using the PGCMLS’ catalog.

Needs Improvement:

these librarians never seem to want to go the extra mile to help and they don't have access to databases they tell you about—The out-of-state chat librarian provided information from ReferenceUSA to the Baltimore County customer to find the largest law firms in Maine.  A SLRC Librarian followed up with the customer by email with resources and referrals provided by Maine’s State Law Library and the Maine Bar Association.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Amelia Viars, Cecil County Public Library
  • Theresa Mastrodonato, Frostburg State University
  • Betsey Brannen, AskUsNow! Intern/Volunteer.

Committees:

  • The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats from September 2017.  (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).
  • The Social Media Committee met to discuss 1) the best times to post on social media sites, 2) social media campaigns, and 3) posts during January-March 2018.  Krista R McKenzie (Frostburg State University’s Ort Library) and Tracey Carter (Frederick County Public Libraries) were also formally introduced to the committee.

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on school library media specialist websites have led to increases in use of the service from Garrett, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County Public School students.
  • Social Media:
    • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 1,700 users.
    • Twitter: 88 tweets engaged approximately 9,800 users.
    • Social media posts covered scary reads, test preparation resources, and primary source collections.  Seven AskUsNow! chat librarians contributed posts.

Training:

  • New Staff: 
  • Refresher:  20 AskUsNow! librarians attended “The Best, Free Websites for National History Day (NHD) Customers” on Blackboard Collaborate.
  • 20 UMD iSchool Students were trained on virtual reference in their “Serving Information Needs” class.
  • Great Evaluation Comment:  I think trainings like this are valuable, especially for public library staff. We wear so many hats and often end [up] answering so many questions that aren't in-depth reference ones that if we are not careful to value those skills as well as the others, we can end up with some of our professional tools [being] rusty.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

  • A site visit took place at the Calvert Library.  A QuestionPoint representative participated in the visit.
  • QuestionPoint usability studies began.

 

Submitted on 11/15/17 by PC

2017 11 - November 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

November 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • MD library customers logged into chat 2690 times, +183 compared to November 2016.
  • MD librarians answered questions in 1299 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers, +65 compared to November 2016.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 425 times.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Thank you!— The Baltimore County librarian helped a Prince George’s County teacher learn about how to get access to Wi-Fi hotspots to further promote library services to her ESOL students.

Its always a great help—The Baltimore City librarian found specific titles that a Montgomery College student needed in the Montgomery County Public Libraries’ catalog.  The customer also learned how to use ILL services in the Montgomery County Public and Montgomery College Libraries.

Needs Improvement:

John disappeared just like that. After having waited for over two minutes, I asked: John, are you still there? He never answered. So I had to end the worthless session.—The Montgomery County student claimed that he stopped receiving research help from the Prince George’s librarian.  The librarian followed up with him to assure that help was given, and the student apologized and confirmed that he did receive what he needed on chat.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Cameron Caswell, Anne Arundel Community College’s Truxal Library
  • Kelly Donelson, Harford County Public Library
  • Betsey Brannen, Maryland AskUsNow! Volunteer

Committees:  The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”). 

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • General Audiences:  Today’s 101.9, 105.7 The Fan, and Mix 106.5, approached the Statewide Coordinator of AskUsNow! about doing a radio interview during the holiday season.  The radio interview will be played in the first week of December.
  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Calvert, Garrett, and Prince George’s County Public School students:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
  • Social Media:
    • Facebook:  21 posts reached approximately 956 users.
    • Twitter: 76 tweets engaged approximately 8800 users.
    • Social media posts covered National History Day resources, National Novel Writing Month, and Job & Career Resources.  AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators.

Training:

  • New Staff: 
    • Eight librarians were trained at the Catonsville Campus Library, Community College of Baltimore County. 
    • Five librarians were trained at the Frederick Douglass Library, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
  • Refresher: 
    • There were no refresher training sessions this month. 
    • Refresher training topics being considered for January-March 2017 include open access resources and virtual reference interview tips.
  • Great Evaluation Comment:  Even tho[ugh] I am already a provider... this [new staff] training session gives [me] a positive mental boost....

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

  • Becca Starr ended her role as the Support for Operation at Maryland AskUsNow!.  She accepted a new position at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
  • Site visits took place at the Frederick County Public Libraries, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore’s Frederick Douglass Library, and the Worcester County Library.
  • Betsey Brannen (AskUsNow! Volunteer) completed her AskUsNow! internship hours.
  • A customer made us aware of how he learned about AskUsNow! from a book entitled Khan’s E-learning Tips by Badrul Khan:  https://linuslearning.com/product/khan-e-learning-tips/.

 

Submitted on 12/15/17 by PC; Revised and Updated on 1/10/18 by PC

2017 12 - December 2017 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

December 2017

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into 2367 chat times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1081 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 389 times.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

This is the 2nd time I've used this service. Both times were excellent!  Thanks very much.—The Baltimore City librarian helped the Prince George’s customer learn how to search for eBooks in different formats in Overdrive.

The lady who helped me was very helpful.  She did her job very well!— The Baltimore City librarian cared with compassion towards a Harford County customer who had claimed she return items last week.  The items were found at her local library and checked in.

Needs Improvement:

She was not very helpful, and lacked communication I will not recommend Amy—The librarian gave the customer information too quickly for her NHD project, and was not given information about how to search the resources.  The Statewide Coordinator gave the librarian tips on how to improve the reference interview and pace of the chat with the customer.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Erin Kelly, Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC
  • Levi Branson, Frederick County Public Libraries
  • Jen Cavanaugh, St. Mary’s County Library

 

Committees:  The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).    

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • General Audiences:  The Statewide Coordinator of AskUsNow! and the Chief of SLRC did a radio interview about AskUsNow! on Today’s 101.9, 105.7 The Fan, and Mix 106.5.  It played on 12/3/17.
  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Baltimore City, Queen Anne’s and Washington County Public School students:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
    • Schools that collaborated with the Statewide Coordinator on their students’ research needs include:
      • Baltimore City
      • Queen Anne’s
      • Washington
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 49 tweets engaged approximately 5396 users.
    • Social media posts covered Open Access Journals and Holiday reading and viewing advisory services.  The most popular post was about finding primary and secondary sources from university and college libraries’ digital collections.

Training:

  • New Staff:
    • SMRLA was booked as a statewide, new staff training site on 3/29/18.
    • Talibah Chikwendu (AUN Volunteer) is practicing chat.
  • Refresher:  Digital Collections are in the process of being the next training topic.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

  • The Quarterly Liaison Meeting took place at the Perryville Branch of the Cecil County Public Library:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/Minutes_December2017_AUNLiaisonMeeting.pdf
  • A site visit took place at the Harford County Public Library.
  • Brianna Vachon and Talibah Chikwendu (AUN Volunteers) will be starting as chat providers in January 2018.  Brianna is an MLIS student at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Talibah is a school librarian at the Dorchester County Public Schools.
  • The Statewide Coordinator attended MD Tech Connect.

 

Submitted on 1/16/18 by PC

2018 01 - January 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

January 2018

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into 1859 chat times; +36 from January 2017
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1299 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers; +257 from January 2017.
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 417 times.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

  • Thank you for your help!  In Montgomery County but librarian from Enoch Pratt was able to assist my reference question.  Appreciate the help.—The Montgomery College student learned how to place ILLs at her college and local, public library.
  • Kelly from Harford County was so helpful! I got so much information to sift through! Very excited to learn!—The Harford County librarian gave the Prince George’s County customer information about how to search for articles about linguistics in open access resources and the customer’s library databases.

Needs Improvement:

  • The reason i found this difficult was because my librarian would take forever to give me answers.— The Prince George’s librarian did an exemplary job at explaining to the Baltimore City customer what can be done at AskUsNow! versus an online tutoring service.  The libraries’ liaisons agreed that the customer was given a thorough reference interview and accurate information about what can be done during the chat.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Danielle Wallace, Baltimore County Public Library
  • Becca Starr, Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC
  • John Krivak, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

 

Committees:  The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).    

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • General Audiences:  Paul Chasen, the AUN Statewide Coordinator, joined the Maryland Day at UMD-College Park planning committee alongside of colleagues at the MLA, CML, and UMD iSchool.
  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students: 
    • Online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Prince Georges, Montgomery, and  Baltimore City Public School students:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
    • The Frederick County Public Schools requested a presentation about how AUN works for its elementary and secondary school librarians in February and March 2018.
    • The McDaniel College School Library Media program requested and received information about how to volunteer at AUN.
    • The Statewide Coordinator will be doing two guest lectures at the UMD iSchool in February and March 2018
    • An AUN display will be set up at the 2018 MLA & DLA Joint Conference.
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 61 tweets engaged approximately 6613 users.
    • Social media posts covered Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights resources, and digital services provided by Maryland libraries.

 

Training:

  • New Staff:
    • SMRLA will be a statewide, new staff training site in March 2018.
    • BCPL-North Point will be another statewide, new staff training site in May 2018.
  • Refresher: 
    • The AUN Statewide Coordinator trained Library Associates on virtual reference behaviors in five, LATI Google Hangouts.
    • Cameron Caswell (AACC’s Truxal Library) also trained Library Associates on virtual reference behaviors in five, LATI Google Hangouts.

 

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

 

More News:

  • A site visit and training session took place at the Cecil County Public Library.
  • The AUN Statewide Coordinator collaborated with the ALA RUSA’s, Emerging Technologies Section to discuss virtual reference services in an eForum.
  • The AUN Statewide Coordinator had meetings with the QuestionPoint Administrators and other Statewide Virtual Reference Coordinators about enhancing the QuestionPoint software.
  • Talibah Chikwendu (AUN Volunteer) started providing chat 1-2 hours/week.
  • Brianna Vachon (AUN Intern) will be providing chat 4 hours/week and developing marketing strategy proposals starting in February 2018.

 

Submitted on 2/15/18 by PC

2018 02 - February 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

February 2018

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1625 times; +21 from February 2017.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1015 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers; +33 from February 2017.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 374 times.
  • Statistical Sampling (July-December 2017):  12,112 chat questions:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY18_Q2YTD_Total.pdf.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

I am a new student and this was my first time trying to check out books at MC and the ask-a-librarian was very helpful! She helped me find the books I needed and reserved them for me so I can pick them up later tonight. Thank you for a great service!—The Baltimore County librarian helped a Montgomery College student find books in print and online for her research projects on deaf culture.

This chat was so helpful! The librarian was nice and extremely helpful. Thank you so much!— The Prince George’s County librarian taught the Baltimore City student how to find primary sources on Victorian Britain, added value by referring the customer to library research resources, and encouraged the student to get a library card to get more access to information.

Needs Improvement:

Although part of the question I asked was answered with reference to County library procedure, another part was apparently not addressed.  Not the fault of the librarian who was responding, who was from another county!  I'll have to ask when I am next in a library.— The Carroll County librarian gave accurate information about how to renew library cards online for Montgomery County customers, but forgot to answer another question in the chat about getting a new library card.  A Montgomery County librarian followed up with the customer.  The Carroll County librarian proactively reflected on how to do better on this chat, and even added in how it should have been send to follow-up by email instead of marked “answered.”

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Tracey Carter, Frederick County Public Libraries
  • Kelly Donelson, Harford County Public Library
  • Sara Stephenson, St. Mary's County Library

Committees:  The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).    

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County Public School students:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
    • Schools that collaborated with the Statewide Coordinator on their students’ research needs included Frederick and Montgomery Counties.
    • The AUN Statewide Coordinator and Frederick County Public Libraries’ Liaison did a presentation for 35, Frederick County Public Schools, elementary school librarians.
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 44 tweets engaged approximately 4862 users.
    • Social media posts covered Black History Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.

Training:

  • New Staff:  two statewide, new staff training sessions are booked at SMRLA (March) and the Baltimore County Public Library (May).  
  • Refresher:  16 AUN librarians attended “Digital Collections:  Search, Instruct, and Include in Chat Reference.”  Survey comments included:
    • It is great that we could practice using each collection and compare our search methodologies to those of our peers.
    • I will suggest that other staff register for the next refresher training. I'm going email a summary of what was presented to the rest of the staff.
  • The AUN Statewide Coordinator did an online guest lecture for 14 students taking the UMD iSchool’s “Serving Information Needs” course.  Survey comments includes:
    • I was not previously aware of Maryland AskUsNow! and am excited to make use of it as well as to potentially share it with my students.
    • I do think Virtual Reference is a crucial component of the modern day library.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

  • The AUN Statewide Coordinator participated in a Focus Group Study on a new version of the QuestionPoint chat reference program.
  • April 2018 site visits have been scheduled at the Baltimore County Public Library and Montgomery County Public Libraries.

 

 

Submitted on 3/14/18 by PC

2018 03 - March 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

March 2018

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1461 times.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 934 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 378 times.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Thank you!—The Montgomery County librarian gave resources to a Carroll County customer about how someone can represent themselves in a child custody cases.  The Maryland State Law Library followed up by email with resources and facts about how child custody cases can take a long time to resolve.

Librarian was friendly and extremely helpful. This is a great service. Thank you.— The Anne Arundel Community College Librarian gave the DC customer information about getting a library card and access to resources in Montgomery County.

SHE WAS PHENOMENAL!!!! SHE STAYED ONLINE TO MAKE SURE WHAT I NEEDED IS  CORRECT.— The Baltimore City librarian gave the Prince George’s customer instructions on how to access Ancestry.com and related genealogy resources.   She also helped the customer get a temporary library card to access some of the resources before she visits her local library.

Needs Improvement:

Yes, the sight said that Librarian Colleen joined, but they asked one question and never returned to the chat.—The out-of-state librarian accidentally disconnected with the customer on chat, but did not contact the customer’s home library in Baltimore County about the technical issues and urgency of the customer’s research question.  The customer’s library replied back by phone and email to provider resources and instruction to find articles specific to abuse studies in Ghana.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Megan Fratta, Maryland AskUsNow! Volunteer
  • Audrey Maynard, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
  • Caleb Valentich, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

 

Committees:  The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).    

 

Grant Activities:

The Interim Grant Report was submitted to the MSL.

Marketing:

  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County Public School students:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
    • The AUN Statewide Coordinator (Paul) and Frederick County Public Libraries’ Liaison did a presentation for 20, Frederick County Public Schools, secondary school librarians.
    • Schools that collaborated with the Statewide Coordinator on their students’ research needs include:
      • Baltimore County
      • Frederick County
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 51 tweets engaged approximately 4664 users.
    • Social media posts covered Women’s History Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.

Training:

  • New Staff:  Three librarians from Charles, Frederick and St. Mary’s Counties were trained at SMRLA.
  • Refresher:  February’s Digital Collections training is accessible as a recording with materials at http://askusnow.info/staff/training/refresher.
  • The AUN Statewide Coordinator did an online guest lecture for 15 students taking the UMD iSchool’s online,“Serving Information Needs” course. 

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

 

Submitted on 4/13/18 by PC

2018 04 - April 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

April 2018

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1427 times; +149 from April 2017.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1009 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers; +152 from April 2017.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 431 times; +63 from April 2017.
  • Statistical Sampling (July 2017-March 2018):  17,493 chat questions:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY18_Q3YTD_Total.pdf.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

Still exploring all the wonderful features of updated library services—The Hagerstown Community College librarian helped a new Montgomery County customer learn about which branches have large Spanish book collections.

Wow, this chat cut through the frustration of not being able to get an article online.  I love this capability—The Baltimore City librarian helped a Frederick County customer get access to a 1989 article online and at their nearby branch.

Needs Improvement:

The chat updates slowly. I was kicked out of chat while waiting for a response. When I re-joined with essentially the same question, updates were slow to occur.—The chat service was having technical issues for customers and librarians.  The librarians’ Liaisons addressed the issue to the Statewide Coordinator.  The Statewide Coordinator gathered documentation about the technical issues and sent it to QuestionPoint.  QuestionPoint resolved the issue (server-related) with the help of Maryland AskUsNow!’s documentation.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

  • Emily Sachs, Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC
  • Jasmine Shumaker, Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC
  • Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University

Committees: 

  • The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”). 
  • The Social Media Committee met on 4/6/18.  Please refer to the advisory committee’s notes at http://askusnow.info/staff/socialmediacommittee/040618.    

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

  • General Audiences:  Paul Chasen (AUN Statewide Coordinator) attended Maryland Day and promoted AUN alongside of MD library colleagues representing the MLA and CML.
  • Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County Public School students.  Out-of-state students primarily connect to UMD College Park’s iSchool also increased their chat usage:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 62 tweets engaged approximately 8161 users.
    • Social media posts covered Financial Literacy Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.

Training:

  • Paul is in the process of developing a “difficult customers” webinar, to be announced in May and taking place in June. 
  • Cameron Caswell (AACC) and Paul revised training content for the Fall 2018 LATI Google Hangouts.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.”

More News:

  • Paul had site visits at the Baltimore County Public Library, Carroll County Public Library, and Montgomery County Public Libraries with Karri Sites from QuestionPoint.  
  • Brianna (AUN Intern) completed her required field study hours.
  • Paul attended the Computers in Libraries Conference in Arlington.

 

Submitted on 5/14/18 by PC

2018 05 - May 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2018

 

By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1728 times; +33 from May 2017.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 1103 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 414 times; +69 from May 2017.

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

'MD Frostburg Librarian Pam was the best librarian, [s]he did not give  up when there were some struggles, and [s]he went further until I was satisfied, make sure Pam knows [s]he is a really good librarian.—The Frostburg State University librarian helped a Baltimore County student learn how to use databases to find resources on her famous people project.

Librarian Rose Anne of the [Enoch Pratt Free] Library gave excellent customer service, was resourceful and was very patient answering all of my questions thoroughly and to the best of her knowledge.  It is a privilege to get assistance from someone as efficient as her.--The Baltimore City librarian helped a Harford County customer learn about eBook services available in her county, and how to get a library card.  The customer also mentioned how she uses the Pratt Library, which led to getting Pratt Library eBook and Library Card information too.

Needs Improvement:

The librarian found new information for me and was patient.  I really like the simple interface.  The only problem I ha[d] was in the beginning…hitting the enter key sent the question before I was finished writing it.—The Baltimore City librarian gave useful health care information to the customer.  The statewide coordinator followed-up with the customer about improving the chat software.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

·       Matt Davis, Baltimore County Public Library

·       Becca Reeves, Frederick County Public Libraries

 

Committees:  Exceptional Transcript Committee:

·       Chose two outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”). 

·       A new member of the committee will be selected in June 2018.

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

·       Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Baltimore County and Baltimore City. 

·       Chats accessed from www.askusnow.infohttp://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.

·       Paul (Statewide Coordinator) promoted the service to colleagues at the MLA & DLA Joint Conference.

·       Social Media:

o   Twitter: 64 tweets engaged approximately 6995 users.

o   Social media posts covered job and career resources and praise to the chat librarians for answering research questions.

o   The most popular Tweet of the month:  Interested in seasonal employment?  Chat with a librarian to find out if your library offers it, or if nearby businesses offer them.  http://www.askusnow.info

Training:  Please see Q3 YTD at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q3YTD.pdf.  

·       97% of staff acknowledge they learned something at a training session

·       96% know that what they will apply from the training will make a difference to customers.

·       94% will apply what they have learned.

·       New Staff:  12 librarians completed the statewide, new staff training at the Baltimore County Public Library, North Point Branch in Dundalk.

·       Refresher:  Two sessions of “Tips and Tricks with Working with Difficult Customers on Chat” are being offered on 6/19 and 6/20 on Blackboard Collaborate.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.

More News:

·       The Fairfax County Public Library (VA) is consulting Paul on developing virtual reference service training documentation for their staff.

·       Megan Fratta (AskUsNow! Volunteer) ended her volunteer service for the second time.  We were happy to have her back, but more happy that she got an outreach librarian position at the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library.

·       The NOAA Central Library ended its partnership with Maryland AskUsNow! due to decreasing their marketing strategies to a statewide audience.

 

Submitted on 6/14/18 by PC

Maryland Activity (all years)

Maryland Customer Chat Activity

Questions submitted to AskUsNow! ("Number of Chat Sessions Requested")
All timeframes are Calendar Years

 

   Jan Feb  March April May June July  Aug  Sept Oct Nov  Dec Total
2018 1859 1625 1461 1427 1728 1008             9108
2017 1823 1604 1532 1278 1695 966 950 1163 1040 2076 2690 2367 19184
2016 2227 1889 1818 1429 1366 1554 1460 1503 2051 1825 2507 2431 22060
2015 1895 1915 1966 1792 1427 1361 1388 1289 1682 2530 2673 1794 21712
2014 2188 2227 2357 2419 1677 1328 1215 1214 1729 2065 2635 2170 23224
2013 1981 3091 2170 1884 2052 1247 1122 1243 2223 3371 2728 2510 25646
2012 3383 3164 2552 2437 2515 1451 1276 1403 2061 2774 2362 1791 27194
2011 2753  3614   3137 2665 2596 1779 1574 1656 2750 3879 3441 3150 32994
 2010  3893 3615 3638 3637 3276 2327 1894 2060 3274 3860 3752 3420  38646
 2009  3456  3516  4038  3546  3324  2562  2358  2581  4014  4294  4177  3497  41363
 2008  3523  3564  3662  3676  3270  1900  2009 1910  3335  4075  3792  3270  37986
 2007  4556  3776  3719  4016  3802  2015  1954  2276  3403  4867  4418  4005  42807
 2006  4198  3865  4790  4403  4571  2110  1690  2051  3386  4293  4331  3923  43611
 2005  4364  4607  5950  5970  5351  2771  1867  2054  3194  3981  4119  3423  47651
 2004  3277  3359  4224  4183  3856  2425  1853  1912  3308  4399  3703  3727  40226
 2003  1633 
(1/1 - 3/16)
 1653  2731  2703  1878  1834  1864  2688  3393  2738  2655  25770
 Total Since Service Launch (3/17/03) 499182

 

Maryland Librarian Activity

Questions picked up by Maryland AskUsNow! Librarians ["Number (total) of Chat Sessions Accepted"]
All timeframes are calendar years.

      

   Jan Feb  March April May June July  Aug  Sept Oct Nov  Dec Total
2018 1299 1015 934 1009 1103 776             6136
2017 1042   982 981 857 1119 701 811 884 865 1172 1299 1081 11794
2016 1172 1191 1229 1031 926 1072 940 1050 1189 1142 1234 1096 13272
2015 1051 1126 1116 1025 873 907 967 963 1110 1303 1314 1208 12963
2014 1235 1293 1345 1439 1042 893 931 808 971 1077 1167 1150 13351
2013 1352 1632 1314 1324 1188 917 891 1012 1304 1857 1557 1264 15612
2012 1976 1909 1640 1430 1547 1125 998 1175 1365 1465 1394 1181 17205
2011 1859 2211 2204 1772 1674 1403  1273 1369 1720 2173 1920 1765 21343
 2010  2126 1773 2305 2217 2076 1684  1525 1566 1876 2119 2066 1944 23277
 2009  2065  2316  2513  2465  2183  1862  1701  1696  2173  2184  2152  1995  25305
 2008  2161  2245  2102  2270  2123  1412  1433  1366  2013  2529  2083  2063  23800
 2007  2455  2144  2189  2265  2305  1377  1364  1566  1858  2639  2347  2113  24622
 2006  3757  3584  3744  2127  2422  1333  1144  1451  1944  2397  2304  2165  28372
 2005 Librarian activity data is not available for these years.
 2004
 2003

 

Email / Followup Activity

Questions answered by AskUsNow! using QuestionPoint (non chat) ("answers sent")
All timeframes are calendar years

 

   Jan Feb  March April May June July  Aug  Sept Oct Nov  Dec Total
2018 417 374 378 431 414 347             2361
2017 446 392 441 368 345 353 351 332 290 384 425 389 4516
2016 820 774 787 733 707 649 761 782 802 796 775 460 8846
2015 693 732 721 623 587 552 650 600 605 749 783 636 7931
2014 653 560 609 535 548 524 581 553 653 691 602 657 7166
2013 663 608 625 576 511 519 591 562 648 646 556 497 7002
2012 1181 891 941 913 802 721 641 639 650 669 577 418 9043
2011 1270 1298 1354 1024 931 1013 950 891 984 1130 1030 834 12709
 2010  1461 1551 1540 1321 1122 1243 1237 1271 1312 1285 1292 1053 15688
 2009 1695 1445 1501 1400 1173 1295 1443 1356 1528 1558  1459  1311 17149
 2008  1242  1310  1226  1163  1014 1055  1269  1141  1429  1543  1443  1336 15171
 2007  978  1016  953  906  779  718  937  1050  1145  1513  1308  1057 12360
 2006  712  614  765  693  795  736  768  813  891  1059  1019  771 9636
 2005 270  357  458  420  372  220  168  130  141  277  256  231 3300
 2004  331  294  334  353  328  255  188  226  321  413  377  249 3669
 2003 13  199  222  286  249  275  248  330  373  327  251 2760
Total since January 1, 2003 139528

 

Managing For Results

Maryland AskUsNow! usage statistics provided on this page are relevant to the Maryland State Department of Education's Managing for Results (MFR). Data is provided in Fiscal Years (July to June).

For questions please contact:

Paul Chasen
Statewide Coordinator, Maryland AskUsNow!
pchasen@prattlibrary.org
443-984-4955

Inputs

Number of Maryland libraries actively providing AskUsNow! 24/7 online services:  38

(as of the June 2018 AskUsNow! Participating Libraries)

 

Number of hours per week of live chat provided by Maryland libraries:  190 (as of the June 2018 AskUsNow! Statewide Schedule)

Outputs

Number of questions answered through AskUsNow!

July 2017 - June 2018

  FY 2018

 Chat  E-mail/Follow-up

  Total 

Jul 17 950 351 1301
Aug 17 1163 332 1495
Sept 17 1040 290 1330
Oct 17 2076 384 2460
Nov 17 2690 425 3115
Dec 17 2367 389 2756
Jan 18 1859 417 2276
Feb 18 1625 374 1999
Mar 18 1461 378 1839
Apr 18 1427 431 1858
May 18 1728 414 2142
Jun 18 1008 347 1355
Total FY 18 19394 4532 23926

July 2016 - June 2017

  FY 2017

 Chat  E-mail/Follow-up

  Total 

Jul 16 1460 761 2221
Aug 16 1503 782 2285
Sept 16 2051 802 2853
Oct 16 1825 796 2621
Nov 16 2507 775 3282
Dec 16 2431 460 2891
Jan 17 1823 446 2269
Feb 17 1604 392 1996
Mar 17 1532 441 1973
Apr 17 1278 368 1646
May 17 1695 345 2040
Jun 17 966 353 1319
Total FY 17 20675 6721 27396

July 2015 - June 2016

  FY 2016 

 Chat  E-mail/Follow-up

  Total 

Jul 15

1388 650 2037

Aug 15

1289 600 1889
Sep  15 1682 605

2287

Oct 15 2530

749

3279
Nov 15 2673

783

3455
Dec 15 1794

636

2430
Jan 16 2227

820

3047
Feb 16 1889

774

2663
Mar 16 1818

787

2605
Apr 16 1429

733

2162
May 16 1366

707

2073
Jun 16 1554

649

2203
Total FY 16 21639 8493 30132

July 2014 - June 2015

  FY 2015  

 Chat  E-mail/Follow-up

  Total 

Jul 14

1215 581 1796

Aug 14

1214 553 1776
Sep  14 1729 653

2382

Oct 14 2065

691

2756
Nov 14 2635

602

3237
Dec 14 2170

657

2827
Jan 15 1895

693

2588
Feb 15 1915

732

2647
Mar 15 1966

721

2687
Apr 15 1792

623

2415
May 15 1427

587

2014
Jun 15 1361

552

1913
Total FY 15 21384 7645

29038

July 2013 - June 2014

FY 2014

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 13

1122 591 1713

Aug 13

1243 562 1805

Sep 13

2223 648 2871

Oct 13

3371 646 4017

Nov 13

2728 556 3284

Dec 13

2510 497 3007

Jan 14

2188 653 2841

Feb 14

2227 560 2787

Mar 14

2357 609 2966

Apr 14

2419 535 2954

May 14

1677 548 2225

Jun 14

1328 524 1852

Total FY 14

25393 6929 32322

July 2012 - June 2013

FY 2013

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 12

1280 641 1917

Aug 12

1403 639 2042

Sep 12

2061 650 2711

Oct 12

2776 669 3443

Nov 12

2366 577 2939

Dec 12

1793 418 2209

Jan 13

1983 663 2644

Feb 13

3094 616 3707

Mar 13

2189 625 2795

Apr 13

1884 576 2460

May 13

2052 511 2563

Jun 13

1247 519 1713

Total FY 13

24128 7104 31232

July 2011 - June 2012

FY 2012

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 11

1574 950 2524

Aug 11

1656 891 2547

Sep 11

2750 984 3734

Oct 11

3879 1130 5009

Nov 11

3441 1030 4471

Dec 11

3150 834 3984

Jan 12

3383 1181 4564

Feb 12

3164 891 4055

Mar 12

2552 941 3493

Apr 12

2437 913 3350

May 12

2521 802 3317

Jun 12

1458 721 2172

Total FY 12

31965 11268 43233

July 2010 - June 2011

FY 2011

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 10

1894 1237 3131

Aug 10

2060 1271 3331

Sep 10

3274 1312 4586

Oct 10

3860 1285 5145

Nov 10

3752 1292 5044

Dec 10

3420 1053 4473

Jan 11

2753 1270 4023

Feb 11

3614 1298 4912

Mar 11

3137 1354 4491

Apr 11

2665 1024 3689

May 11

2596 931 3527

Jun 11

1779 1013 2792

Total FY 11

34804 13103 47907

July 2009- June 2010

FY 2010

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 09

2358

1443

3801

Aug 09

2581

1356

3937

Sep 09

4014

1528

5542

Oct 09

4294

1558

5852

Nov 09

4177

1459

5636

Dec 09

3497

1311

4808

Jan 10

 3893

1461

 5354

Feb 10

2615

1551

4166

Mar 10

3638

1540

5178

Apr 10

3637

1321

4958

May 10

3276

1122

4398

Jun 10

2327

1243

3570

Total FY 10

41,307

16,893

58,200

 

July 2008 - June 2009

FY 2009

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 08

2009

1269

3278

Aug 08

1910

1141

3051

Sep 08

3335

1429

4764

Oct 08

4075

1543

5618

Nov 08

3792

1443

5235

Dec 08

3270

1340

4610

Jan 09

3456

1695

5151

Feb 09

3516

1445

4961

Mar 09

4038

1501

5539

Apr 09

3546

1400

4946

May 09

3324

1173

4497

Jun 09

2562

1295

3857

Total FY 09

38,833

16,674

55,507

July 2007 - June 2008

FY 2008

Chat

E-mail/Follow-up

Total

Jul 07

1954

937

2891

Aug 07

2276

1050

3326

Sep 07

3403

1145

4548

Oct 07

4867

1513

6380

Nov 07

4418

1308

5726

Dec 07

4005

1057

5062

Jan 08

3523

1242

4765

Feb 08

3564

1310

4874

Mar 08

3662

1226

4888

Apr 08

3676

1163

4839

May 08

3270

1014

4284

Jun 08

1900

1055

2955

Total FY 08

40,518

14,020

54,538

July 2006 - June 2007

FY 2007

Chat

Email/Follow-up

Total

Jul 06

1690

768

2458

Aug 06

2051

813

2864

Sep 06

3386

891

4277

Oct 06

4293

1059

5352

Nov 06

4331

1019

5350

Dec 06

3923

771

6494

Jan 07

4556

978

5534

Feb 07

3776

1016

4792

Mar 07

3719

953

4672

Apr 07

4016

906

4922

May 07

3802

779

4581

Jun 07

2015

718

2733

Total FY 07

41,558

10,671

52,229

July 2005 - June 2006

FY 2006

Chat

Email/Follow-up

Total

Jul 05

1867

168

2035

Aug 05

2054

130

2184

Sep 05

3194

141

3335

Oct 05

3981

277

4258

Nov 05

4119

256

4375

Dec 05

3423

231

3654

Jan 06

4198

712

4910

Feb 06

3865

614

4479

Mar 06

4790

765

5555

Apr 06

4403

693

5096

May 06

4571

795

5366

Jun 06

2110

736

2846

Total FY 06

42,575

5,518

48,093

Outcomes

Dashboard FY18 Q3 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q3YTD.pdf  

Dashboard FY 17:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUN_Dashboard_FY17_Q4YTD.pdf 

 

Percent of AskUsNow! users that report satisfaction with the answer to their request.

(Notes: Percentage reflects sum of "Satisfied" and "Somewhat Satisfied" responses to the question, "Were you satisfied with the answer you received to your reference question?"  FY 2014 and 2015 surveys are currently unavailable.)

  FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017
Actual 80.44% 77.61% 87.29% 88.82% 88.43% 87.85% 89.01% 88.48% 89.10% 88.86% 88.86% 86.36
Estimated 80% 78% 87% 89% 88% 88% 89% 88% 89% 89% 89% 86%
Source

July05-June06 Surveys

July06-June07 Surveys

July07-June08 Surveys

July08-June09 Surveys

July09-June10 Surveys

July10-June11 Surveys

July11-June12 Surveys

July12 - June13 Surveys

July13 - June14 Surveys

July14 - June15 Surveys

July15 - June16  Surveys

July16 - June17  Surveys

 

2018 05 - May 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

May 2018

 

By the Numbers:

 

Customers’ Comments:

Positive:

'MD Frostburg Librarian Pam was the best librarian, [s]he did not give  up when there were some struggles, and [s]he went further until I was satisfied, make sure Pam knows [s]he is a really good librarian.—The Frostburg State University librarian helped a Baltimore County student learn how to use databases to find resources on her famous people project.

Librarian Rose Anne of the [Enoch Pratt Free] Library gave excellent customer service, was resourceful and was very patient answering all of my questions thoroughly and to the best of her knowledge.  It is a privilege to get assistance from someone as efficient as her.--The Baltimore City librarian helped a Harford County customer learn about eBook services available in her county, and how to get a library card.  The customer also mentioned how she uses the Pratt Library, which led to getting Pratt Library eBook and Library Card information too.

Needs Improvement:

The librarian found new information for me and was patient.  I really like the simple interface.  The only problem I ha[d] was in the beginning…hitting the enter key sent the question before I was finished writing it.—The Baltimore City librarian gave useful health care information to the customer.  The statewide coordinator followed-up with the customer about improving the chat software.

 

Chat Librarian Recognition:  The following chat librarians were recognized for their exemplary, virtual reference skills:

·       Matt Davis, Baltimore County Public Library

·       Becca Reeves, Frederick County Public Libraries

 

Committees:  Exceptional Transcript Committee:

·       Chose two outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”). 

·       A new member of the committee will be selected in June 2018.

 

Grant Activities:

Marketing:

·       Libraries, Schools, Educators, and Students:  online visibility of the service on MD library, school library media specialist, educational nonprofits and agencies websites have led to increases in use of the service from Baltimore County and Baltimore City. 

·       Chats accessed from www.askusnow.infohttp://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.

·       Paul (Statewide Coordinator) promoted the service to colleagues at the MLA & DLA Joint Conference.

·       Social Media:

o   Twitter: 64 tweets engaged approximately 6995 users.

o   Social media posts covered job and career resources and praise to the chat librarians for answering research questions.

o   The most popular Tweet of the month:  Interested in seasonal employment?  Chat with a librarian to find out if your library offers it, or if nearby businesses offer them.  http://www.askusnow.info

Training:  Please see Q3 YTD at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q3YTD.pdf.  

·       97% of staff acknowledge they learned something at a training session

·       96% know that what they will apply from the training will make a difference to customers.

·       94% will apply what they have learned.

·       New Staff:  12 librarians completed the statewide, new staff training at the Baltimore County Public Library, North Point Branch in Dundalk.

·       Refresher:  Two sessions of “Tips and Tricks with Working with Difficult Customers on Chat” are being offered on 6/19 and 6/20 on Blackboard Collaborate.

Chat Librarian Reference Transactions with Customers:  Please see “By the Numbers.

More News:

·       The Fairfax County Public Library (VA) is consulting Paul on developing virtual reference service training documentation for their staff.

·       Megan Fratta (AskUsNow! Volunteer) ended her volunteer service for the second time.  We were happy to have her back, but more happy that she got an outreach librarian position at the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library.

·       The NOAA Central Library ended its partnership with Maryland AskUsNow! due to decreasing their marketing strategies to a statewide audience.

 

Submitted on 6/14/18 by PC

 

AskUsNow! Website Chat Sessions By Location

AskUsNow! Website Chat Sessions By Location FY17

Using information gathered from chat transcripts and IP addresses, AskUsNow! can determine the location and/or library affiliation of customers arriving via www.askusnow.info. Included here are the approximate number of chat sessions for each Maryland county, partner academic institution, and special library.  

These stats are used for statewide reporting purposes.  The AskUsNow! partner libraries are more than welcome to use these stats for local reporting purposes too.

* Partial statistics: New website launched March 17, 2017.

April-June 2017 Detailed Report 

AskUsNow! Website Chat Sessions By Location FY18

Using information gathered from chat transcripts and IP addresses, AskUsNow! can determine the location and/or library affiliation of customers arriving from www.askusnow.info. Included here are the approximate number of chat sessions for each Maryland county, partner academic institution, and special library.

New Data Gathering and Sampling Techniques for Maryland AskUsNow!: Illustrating Volume and Quality of Service

Maryland AskUsNow!:  http://askusnow.info/   

SLA-MD Chapter:  Leveraging Data to Lead:  http://maryland.sla.org/data.html

Thursday, November 5, 2015

 

“New Data Gathering and Sampling Techniques for Maryland AskUsNow!: Illustrating Volume and Quality of Service”

http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/2015slamdconference

 

Paul Chasen

Statewide Coordinator, Maryland AskUsNow!

pchasen@prattlibrary.org

443-984-4955

 

What is Maryland AskUsNow! (aka AskUsNow!)? 

AskUsNow!, http://askusnow.info/ is the free, statewide interactive information service available

24 hours a day, 7 days a week that uses the expertise of librarians to provide answers to questions, research guidance, and help navigating the internet. AskUsNow! is a cooperative service of Maryland libraries and available for any resident or student of Maryland.

 

In the simplest way possible, what are AskUsNow!’s data gathering and sampling techniques measuring?

The number of chat questions in chat sessions

 

In a little more detail, what are AskUsNow!’s data gathering and sampling techniques measuring?

They are measuring the chat volume and different types of chat questions answered by AskUsNow! librarians during chat sessions.  This volume data is complementing quality of service data received in surveys and anecdotes that AskUsNow! receives on a regular basis.  

 

What are the data gathering and sampling techniques?

1. Statistical Sampling (14 different weeks in one fiscal year):  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling/14weeks and http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling            

2.  “Managing for Results” Report:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/mfr

  1. Data sets on the number of chat sessions by fiscal year coming from AskUsNow! customers
  2. Chat sessions that receive follow-up by email.
  3. Positive and negative anecdotes and survey results available in monthly reports:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/monthly

3.  Descriptive Codes:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/descriptivecodes and http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/technical/Descriptive%20Codes

 

What is AskUsNow!’s data history?
1.  March 2003-June 2005     

2.  July 2005-June 2015

3.  July 2015-Present

 

What is statistical sampling?

 

What are the descriptive codes?

Descriptive codes are tags placed on chat sessions that mark the question's category or subject matter.  Learn more about them at http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/descriptivecodes and http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/technical/Descriptive%20Codes.

 

What are examples of the anecdotal evidence?

“I was stumped in my attempts to do research. Sara was very patient for me and steered me in the right direction. I am really pleased with the service and grateful for Sara's help.”

“Prompt response and I was asked if I had any other questions.  That is good.”

“The librarian was very astute and asked good follow-up questions.”

 

From an AACPL customer about finding soldiers who have received silver stars in Vietnam:  Could not answer but ????  Perhaps a bit too complex.

 

What will be developed based on the current data model?

An AskUsNow! Dashboard for the stakeholders

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Qwidget Implementation Poster Session

2015 MLA/DLA Conference Poster Session

Qwidget Implementation Project:  

More Information

Please refer to http://askusnow.info/staff/reports_qwidget-implementation.

 

Questions to the Maryland and Non-Maryland Library Contributors:

 

Who is involved with implementing the qwidget onto a library website?

Once we have decided where we want the page, talk to our Web people and they add it to those pages.  The process is not difficult.  http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/services/brochures/213410usf_questi...

I would imagine that this is both the QP Admin person for the library and maybe their IT Dept.  It depends on the size and staffing of any given library.

Whoever has administrative control of the web page must approve placement. IT staff may be needed to assist in actual placement.

Technology librarian (has rights to edit library webpage)

Our Information Technology Librarian and Emerging Technologies Librarian integrated it into our site. We had to make sure that the qwidget worked with our own chat service (Library H3lp) and that each would appear at the right time.

We leave it up to the participating library to work on this. Usually it involves more than one person and may also involve IT depending on webpages.

We were unable to implement it on the library’s home page but it has been implemented in our LibGuides and on our Discovery Service.

For the LibGuides – we just needed the embed code – we created a box that has the qwidget inside it.

For the Discovery service – we needed the embed code as well – it connects well to our EBSCO Discovery Service

 

How do libraries decide on where to place the qwidget?

We decided to place the qwidget on as many of those pages that people tended to visit most:  database page, the catalog page, the research tools page, our facebook page, the SLRC.info contact page, etc The more places it is put the more questions we get

There is that link placement guidance that someone forwarded on the listserve I think.  Otherwise I don’t really have an answer.

See answer to #1 above. Besides "front page" placement, libraries can/should determine from which subpages they'd like to encourage patron questions.

Social media presences outside the web page, such as Facebook pages, absolutely should be a place where the qwidget is employed.

Our library already uses a chat service during the day, so the qwidget was placed in the same place, but coded to be used whenever our librarians were not logged into Libraryhelp

We placed it in the same place we have our Library H3lp chat box because that is where our students know to look for chat help.

We leave it up to the participating library. We talk to them about options and ideas for placement and what other libraries are doing. This gives them flexibility to create access points useful for their library and needs.

We wanted the qwidget where students would see and utilize the qwidget. We saw a marked increase when the qwidget was introduced to our Discovery Service.

 

What do customers ask on the qwidget?

See attachment:  "90dayslibrarysampling_questiontypes"

Questions that pertain to the page they are on usually. However, they also ask the same questions as we get on the actual chat entry point.

I think they ask the same sorts of questions that they ask in any other portal.  It is merely a different access point.

The whole range of questions. Our tracking isn't sophisticated enough, however, to prove whether or not the type of strategic placement described above influences patrons the way we hope it does.

AskUsNow is our after-hours chat provider so they ask for help with finding information late at night as well as to report access issues.

Since our the AskUsNow chat qwidget is usually working after hours, the questions are usually about off campus access to resources, or for last minute help finding articles on a research topic

We see a split in questions from library information (my account/check outs, ebooks, library-specific info, do you have...) and research questions (looking for info on specific topic, citations, sources...)

How to connect from off-campus

What search terms should they use for a search they are not having any luck with

How to access an article that is not listed as full-text

 

Why do libraries want a qwidget, or do not want a qwidget?

Why libraries don’t want a Qwidget: Varies… in some cases it’s a negative attitude toward chat service or collaborative chat in particular… in other cases it’s a matter of online real estate and wanting to dedicate space to other things. This also plays into where they do place the Qwidget

Once the qwidget had the ability to +roll up” to the next level (to be answered by both Maryland and 24/7 Librarians), I saw no reason not to have a qwidget.  Since we do advertise as being 24/7, this was important.

I think the answer to this is essentially instant access.  It provides help right where the patron is stuck.  For example try searching in…catalog with some gibberish.  Every time a search comes up blank it opens up a search box.  The patron can get help without leaving the page.  In the academics Libguides are another very common place to place a qwidget.  Again it provides access to help directly from a page where someone may have a question.  Also mobile access to the service is provided through a qwidget so it allows access to a librarian on the fly.

To increase traffic through the web site and through social media outlets such as Facebook AND to attempt to solicit traffic on specific topics by placement on strategic subpages. E.g., placing the qwidget on the database page might encourage people to ask questions about the database, placing the qwidget on the Kids page might encourage questions from Kids, etc.

Easy to integrate into existing web content (library home page, ebsco databases, etc)

Simple to demonstrate use to students in class

Qwidget helps to make it easier for our students to get after-hours research help

FSU wanted the qwidget because it was easy for students to see the chat box that they can type their question into. They did not have to click a link and then go to another web page. The qwidget allows students to stay on their current page.

I think most libraries coming into our service… are going just with the qwidget while some of our libraries that have been with…for many years are reluctant to switch or add the qwidget (if it's not broke...)

We came up with one reason why to keep the chat form- using the chat form allows you to use different/more form fields to capture more patron data

For the qwidget here is what we came up with:

when chatting w a patron via the qwidget it will show the referral url which tells the librarian what page they are on - in a database, in the catalog... librarian can start from that point of assistance

keeps the patron at their point of need

users know what the widget is for - it's intuitive, no learning curve

the qwidget code is responsive/mobile friendly

 

Besides the qwidget, what factors also lead to an increase in AskUsNow! usage and higher quality of service?

The high quality of service itself should lead to an increase in usage of AskUsNow!.  Also marketing to various groups of people (schools, seniors, general population of computer users).  Reminding staff to mention AskUsNow as a reference source.

Another thing I have seen that really drives traffic is having a link embedded consistently.  For example on that SPL page they have an icon that looks like this <see attachment>

That icon appears all over their site.  Not on every page but on most of them. 

The academics that have the highest usage all have a link built into their Libguide header <see attachment>

The librarian doesn’t have to remember to add in a qwidget and the students know that it is always in the same place so they don’t have to go hunting.  Mainly I think it is about lots of regular link placement and also promoting by word of mouth.  If you mention it in every class or every handout eventually the word starts to spread.  One of my public librarians recently spent all day at a local Middle school and demoed it to every 8th grader (you probably remember that day)  Their usage is up 300% and she said they are real questions.  She is of course delighted by this.

Usage: marketing.  Quality: Oversight of staff (transcript review) and maintenance of policy page. The latter is crucial in allowing staff from throughout the co-op to effectively answer local questions.

As students see they are getting good answers to their questions they pass this info onto others telling them to try the service.

Our library talks about the service during every library instruction session as well.

Integrating end-user perspectives into the design of a website goes a long way toward making sure patrons realize that chat service is available to them

I think marketing increases usage as well. Our involvement with AskUsNow allows my library to say that we provide 24/7 chat help and that is a definitely a positive in the eyes of our students and faculty.

We see a trend with…libraries of moving away from using the word "reference". Reference is just a little part of what the service is all about. Moving to more customer service-based names. One academic library with a large distance learner community changed the name of their service from Ask a Librarian to Need Help? and saw a large increase in usage. Many libraries both public and academic are following suite. 

We are also seeing with our larger institutions a more careful "orchestration" for referring and handling of questions. It's a back-end decentralizing of the service allowing the patron to come in from one service point with a question and then referring it out to the correct department. Even if the question is answered by the initial point of contact the subject department is always cc'd on correspondences to stay in the loop and assure for quality control. 

 

What is the future of library chat reference?

…quality control is kept strong

Marketing is not forgotten

We are aware of the newer technologies and how these can help us offer better service to our  customers.

We continue to work as a cooperative unit

I think we are going to be asked a lot more access questions and the informational questions will be fewer but more complex

Because there are limits in copy right access to resources from different libraries it can be hard to guide a patron through a process they need help with. I can see technologies such as join.me being integrated better, so librarians could potentially “control” the patrons end to show them where things are

We are in the process of testing out a proactive chat widget where the user is prompted if they need help after about 10-15 seconds of visiting our website. We haven't gone live with this yet, still testing it. QP was unable to work with us on this so we are doing this on our own. The coding has proven to be a little tricky but we are getting close to implementation. I think this will become easier in time and more vendors will have this as part of the service package. It is being widely used in the commercial market (think Lands End website, more retailers have this)

Another thing for the future of the service will be more responsive and mobile-friendly chat tools - a qwidget/widget will easily morph or transition between text/chat/email depending on the patron's preference. More intuitive options, such as the proactive chat widget - an example - instead of just prompting a patron to chat after staying on a webpage for a certain length of time there will be prompts for help after a failed search in the catalog, "I see you are looking for..." "Didn't find what you're looking for?"

I also think the service will continue to grow as a way to track types of usage and trending issues - getting a lot of questions about ebooks, tailor ebooks information to those questions, bring ebook guides and help more to the surface. While we may have the information the patron is seeking on our website it may not be easy for the them to find. We can get a better understanding of layout design and placement of links and how patrons respond to those. This will continually be shaped by our changing collections and services.

I think that there needs to be an app for AskUsNow! since many of our students connect and access library resources from a mobile device. You can make a link that acts like an app but it isn’t truly an app.

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Qwidget Implementation: Libraries Go Live!

Here's our running list of who's got the Qwidget and when they went live with it.

As of May 2018:  19 libraries

 

 

Anne Arundel Community College

Live in April 2017 on the library's LibAnswers page.

Calvert Library

Live August 1, 2015 on the homepage.

Caroline County Public Library

Live February 2013 on their homepage and database page.

Carroll County Public Library

Live May 2, 2016 on the LibAnswers page and Boopsie App.

Charles County Public Library

Live in April 2017 on the library's home and contact pages.

Community College of Baltimore County

Live in April 2017 on the library's homepage.  The Qwidget requires an email.

Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC

Live February 5, 2013:

Frederick County Public Libraries

Live July 2017 on the "Learn" and "Download" services pages.

Frostburg State University

Live July 2013 on their LibGuides and database pages.

Hagerstown Community College

Live August 2016 on the library's homepage.

Harford County Public Library

Live July 2013:

Montgomery College

Live April 2016 on their LibFAQs.

Montgomery County Public Libraries

Our pioneers!   MCPL been using the Qwidget locally since 2008.

Prince George's County Memorial Library System

Live February 5, 2013:

Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Live March 1, 2013 on the left side under the branch names on most of the pages.

St. Mary's County Library

Live October 26, 2015 on their Ask A Librarian website.  The Qwidget requires an email.

Towson University

Live July 2013 on their homepage.  The Qwidget rolls up after the Towson University Librarians are offline.

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Live August 2015 on just about every page including the homepage.

Washington County Free Library

Live January 15, 2013

Qwidget Implementation: Summary

Examples of Qwidget Implementation and Brand Language

AskUsNow! Homepage:  http://www.askusnow.info

Caroline County Public Library: 

Frostburg State University: 

Harford County Public Library:

 

Implementation:

Libraries Go Live with Qwidget!:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/libraries_go_live

Qwidget Implementation:  A Guide for Partner Libraries:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget

​Qwidget:  Mobile Tracking v. Not Tracking:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/mobiletracking

Qwidget Implementation: A Guide for Maryland Schools:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/schools

QuestionPoint Qwidget Roll Up Pilot:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/roll_up_pilot

Service Expansion Initiative:  Embedded Widgets & Mobile Access:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/ServiceExpansionInitiative_AskUsNow.pdf

What Does the Qwidget Code Look Like?:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/qwidgetcode

 

Presentations:

2015 MLA/DLA Conference Poster Session:  Qwidget Implementation Project:  More Information:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/mladlapostersession

​Qwidget Presentation to MAPLA - 1/23/13:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/mapla

 

Usage:

Maryland AskUsNow! (AUN) Customer Qwidget Usage:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/qwidgetusage

​Qwidget Implementation Means Increase Usage:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/CompiledQwidgetStats_2013.pdf

 

Training:

Qwidget from the Customer and Librarian's Viewpoints:  http://askusnow.info/staff/qwidget/customer_librarian_viewpoints

 

Further Reading:

Extending IM beyond the Reference Desk: A Case Study on the Integration of Chat Reference and Library-Wide Instant Messaging Network

Location, Location, Location:  The Impact of IM Widget Placement (see attachment)

Prevalence of widget applications on library websites:  an analytical study (see attachment)

Proactive chat reference:  Getting in the users’ space

Increase Awareness for Virtual Reference Services: Best Practices for Link Placement

Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User and Librarian Perspectives

AttachmentSize
112614ImpactQwidgetPlacement_AUNArticle.pdf1.7 MB
desarkarQwidget.pdf222.36 KB
extendedbeyondQwidget.pdf1013.21 KB

Social Media Statistics and Updates

In January 2015, Maryland AskUsNow! began a targeted effort to boost its visibility on social media. Since the refresh began, AskUsNow! has boasted a steady increase in social media engagement.

Social Media: FY2016

Social Media Committee (7 members):  http://askusnow.info/staff/committees/socialmedia

  • Tracy Miller, Harford County Public Library (through December 2016)
  • Dale Pastor, Montgomery County Public Library (through December 2016)
  • James Neal, Prince George's County Memorial Library (through October 2016)
  • Joyce Garczynski, Towson University (through December 2016)
  • Megan Kellner, AskUsNow! Volunteer (through June 2016)
  • Becca Starr, Admin and Co-Chair
  • Paul Chasen, Admin and Co-Chair

FY 2016 Goals

  • Consistently develop content for AskUsNow!'s social media outlets that increases reach and engagement from our target audiences.
  • Craft pre-made social media posts for partner libraries that promote AskUsNow! to communities.
  • Launch an AskUsNow! Instagram account. 

Pre-Made Social Media Posts:  http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/socialmediaposts

Outcomes:

  • Facebook 
    • Total Posts:  347 
    • Average Reach: 75 users/post
  • Twitter 
    • Total Posts:  894 
    • Average Reach: 99 users/tweet
  • Six Facebook Posts/Week
  • Eighteen Tweets/Week
  • Pre-made social media posts created and used by 15% of the full partner libraries; 20% full partner libraries retweeted or shared posts/tweets

 

Monthly Updates

June 2016

  • Facebook 
    • Total Posts: 28
    • Average Reach: 186 users/post
  • Twitter 
    • Total Tweets: 77
    • Average Reach: 103 users/post
  • Instagram 
    • Total Posts:  13
    • 8 Users Engaged
  • Posting Strategies
    • Popular posts/tweets were about homework help and promoting NOAA’s Ask-A-Librarian service.

May 2016

  • Facebook 
    • Total Posts: 26
    • Average Reach: 146 users/post
  • Twitter 
    • Total Tweets: 93
    • Average Reach: 137 users/post
  • Instagram 
    • Total Posts:  13
    • 7 Users Engaged
  • Posting Strategies
    • Twitter saw a large increase in engagement, with our average post reach doubling from April. Our most popular tweets mentioned current events and homework help/research services.
    • We have also received key retweets from other large Twitter accounts, such as Calvert Library, boosting our visibility.

April 2016

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts: 30
    • Average Reach: 116 users/post
  • Twitter 
    • Total Tweets: 81
    • Average Reach: 95 users/post
  • Instagram 
    • Total Posts: 13 
    • 12 Users Engaged
  • Posting Strategies
    • Popular posts/tweets were about the Maryland primary election and genealogy.
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts increased.

March 2016

  • Facebook 
    • Total Posts: 28
    • Average Reach: 115 users/post
  • Twitter
    • ​Total Tweets: 88
    • Average Reach: 77 users/post
  • Instagram
    • Total Posts: 13
    • 19 Users Engaged
  • Post Strategies
    • More Facebook likes and shares doubled our engagement from last month. The current posting strategy - pairing a current event post with a royalty-free photo – will be in place to monitor the engagement levels.
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts remained steady at nine clicks. 

February 2016

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts: 24
    • Average Reach: 67 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets: 84
    • Average Reach: 95 users/Tweet 
  • Instagram
    • Total Posts: 13 
    • 13 Users Engaged
  • Post Strategies
    • Developed a week-long campaign to celebrate Engineers Week (2/21-2/27), highlighting how AskUsNow! provides career resources and STEM support. 
    • Link clicks for askusnow.info in Twitter posts remained steady, with nine clicks total. Twitter users are compelled to view our website based on our social media content. 

January 2016

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts: 28
    • Average Reach: 68 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets: 85
    • Average Reach: 100 users/Tweet 
  • Instagram
    • Total Posts: 12 
    • 7 Users Engaged
  • Post Strategies
    • AskUsNow! launched an "availability" campaign from 1/25-1/31.  The posts focused on how AskUsNow! can assist customers in finding affordable assistance (personal interest, business, and community resource-based) in their communities.  The most popular posts had to do with “no free money” resources and taking affordable college classes without enrolling at a college.  
    • The AskUsNow! Instagram account launched on 1/4/16.  The charges of Instagram are to post photos 3 times/week that focus on different areas of research, connect with statewide Instagram and MD library accounts, and find out which photos receive more of a reach than others.

December 2015

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts: 30 
    • Average Reach: 31 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets: 86
    • Average Reach: 118 users/Tweet 
  • Post Strategies
    • AskUsNow!'s recent guest blog posts at the Maryland Humanities Council and Maryland Nonprofits increased our total mentions by other social media accounts.  Partner libraries utilized our ready-made social media posts during holiday closings, also increasing our mentions and reach.
    • AskUsNow! began strategically linking to applicable SLRC resources - along with the link to askusnow.info - to cross-promote relevant information sources.

November 2015

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts: 25
    • Average Reach: 15 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets: 79
    • Average Reach: 193 users/Tweet (200% increase)
  • Post Strategies
    • AskUsNow! increased the number of posts that highlight our special partners -- such as NOAA, Maryland State Law Library, and Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped -- including the link to their mobile AskUsNow! page.
    • AskUsNow! developed a targeted social media plan during Maryland STEM Fest, combining #mdstem with posts about STEM-related topics and prior chat assistance on STEM topics. This effort resulted in various retweets by Maryland Public Schools, Maryland STEM Fest, and other educators.

October 2015

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts:  23
    • Average Reach: 17 users/post
  • Twitter 
    • Total Tweets:  70
    • Average Reach:  82 users/Tweet
  • Post strategies
    • Had a tremendous increase in Twitter engagement:  the tweets that received the most engagement started with "Did you know..." "Looking for..." or "Need..." and included 1) help with homework and 2) Edgar Allan Poe.
    • Promoting and cross-promoting "statewide library and nonprofit services."

September 2015

  • Facebook
    • Total Posts:  35
    • Average Reach: 63 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets:  31
    • Average Reach:  27 users/Tweet
  • Post strategies
    • Launched a two-week campaign to welcome back students to school. School districts and relevant school groups - such as the Maryland Homeschool Association - were tagged on Facebook and Twitter with a short message reminding students that AskUsNow! can assist them with their school projects.
    • Create "Pre-Made Posts for Social Media Use:"  http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/socialmediaposts

August 2015

  • The Social Media Committee began posting ideas and inspiration on a Padlet wall.
  • Facebook
    • ​Total Posts: 31
    • Average Reach: 41 users/post
  • Twitter
    • Total Tweets: 31
    • Average Reach: 69 users/Tweet
  • Post strategies
    • Began #tbt campaign to highlight questions from years prior (2006 to approximately 2013) that are quirky, showcase obsolete technology, or have a fun, trivia-like answer. Some posts include a question posted in the early afternoon and its answer posted later that evening. These posts have generated interest and interaction by users.
    • Used meme posts strategically to include a photo and brief statement promoting AskUsNow!. 

July 2015

  •  The AskUsNow! Social Media Committee met online to discuss committee expectations and strategies to engage our audience.
  • Facebook
    • ​Total Posts: 39
    • Average Reach: 35 users/post
  • Twitter
    • ​Total Tweets: 39
    • Average Reach: 97 users/Tweet

Social Media: FY2017

Social Media Committee (5 members):  http://askusnow.info/staff/committees/socialmedia

  • Karen Skirchak, Calvert Library (January 2017-Present)
  • Eden Parks, Towson University (January 2017-Present)
  • Ashley Jones, Worcester County Library (January 2017-Present)
  • Tracy Miller, Harford County Public Library (through December 2016)
  • Dale Pastor, Montgomery County Public Library (through December 2016)
  • James Neal, Prince George's County Memorial Library (through October 2016)
  • Joyce Garczynski, Towson University (through December 2016)
  • Megan Kellner, AskUsNow! Volunteer (through June 2016)
  • Becca Starr, Admin and Co-Chair
  • Paul Chasen, Admin and Co-Chair

Goals:

  • Advise the Admins on creating daily content and sporadic campaigns for AskUsNow!’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Review social media analytics and revise content based on identified trends.
  • Research and recommend additional (or replacement) social media platforms to reach our target audience.

Pre-Made Social Media Posts:  http://askusnow.info/staff/marketing/socialmediaposts 

June 2017

  • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 3,000 users.
  • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 6,400 users.
  • Strategies: Posts for June focused on health awareness (including nutrition and exercise), family history research, and job searching. Posts covering various facets of genealogy research received the most impressions. AskUsNow! also received 19 responses to our survey for social media ("What are you reading?") from providers. These will be posted throughout the month of July on Twitter and Facebook.The Social Media Committee met for its quarterly meeting. The committee brainstormed ideas for future campaigns and topics for Fall 2018.

May 2017

  • Facebook: 30 posts reached approximately 5,800 users.
  • Twitter: 97 tweets engaged approximately 6,100 users.
  • Strategies: May's social media posts covered oceans and other bodies of water (including drinking water), fitness, and war history. AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators. We also received two research questions via Twitter, which gave us an opportunity to highlight the type of assistance we give on the service (and end each post with the suggested referral to askusnow.info).      

April 2017

  • Facebook: 26 posts reached approximately 7,000 users (267 users per post).
  • Twitter: 88 tweets engaged approximately 7,400 users (260 users per post).
  • Strategies: AskUsNow!'s social media engagement remains steady; posts in April covered topics showcasing Maryland history, Financial Literacy Month, and poetry. Our posts on publishing poetry and finding financial literacy tools for students performed well. We're also continuing to see active engagement with Maryland's schools via social media; schools and educators from Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County all interacted with our social media content.        

March 2017

  • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 7,600 users (283 users per post).
  • Twitter: 95 tweets engaged approximately 7,600 users (272 users per post).
  • Strategies: Social media in March saw a slight increase in engagement, particularly with school library social media accounts. Schools and educators from Baltimore County, Calvert, Frederick, and Montgomery interacted with our social media accounts. March's social media topics included Women's History Month, Space and Science Fiction, and Goal Achievement. Posts focusing on women's history in Maryland -- as well as posts highlighting the late-night hours of the service -- performed well.

February 2017

  • Facebook: 25 posts reached approximately 5,300 users (213 users per post).
  • Twitter: 84 tweets engaged approximately 7,200 users (289 users per post).
  • Strategies: February's social media posts focused on civics research and topics, African American History, and teen identity. Despite February being a shorter month, engagement remains steady, with a slight increase in activity on AskUsNow!'s Facebook page. On February 28, the new Social Media Committee met on Blackboard to discuss current social media trends and ideas for outreach to schools and educators through our social media accounts. The new committee -- which contains two former grade-school teachers -- offered invaluable advice for communicating with teachers, both through social media and in-person marketing initiatives.

January 2017

  • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 6,000 users (203 users per post).
  • Twitter: 95 tweets engaged approximately 10,000 users (351 users per post).
  • Strategies: Social media engagement saw some of its highest engagement numbers, with marked increases in reactions and retweets. Posts in January focused on finding and using eReader materials, civil rights research, and questions regarding journalism's ethics and history. After staff changes in some of our partner libraries resulted in departures from our Social Media Committee, AskUsNow! reenergized the group with three new members from Towson University, Worcester County Library, and Calvert Library. The committee will meet again in late February to discuss new social media initiatives.

December 2016

  • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 7,500 users (258 users per post).
  • Twitter: 91 tweets engaged approximately 7,500 users (308 users per post).
  • Strategies: Using posts discussing research wrap-up, final semester projects, and holiday shopping, AskUsNow! saw a slight increase in engagement for December. In order to align with Twitter posting guidelines, AskUsNow! will also be decreasing the number of askusnow.info links inserted into posts during the second half of the fiscal year. This strategy will allow us to try posts of increased length and examine the effectiveness of including the URL in our social media posts. 

November 2016

  • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 6,900 users (280 users per post).
  • Twitter: 86 tweets engaged approximately 7,700 users (238 users per post).
  • Strategies: AskUsNow! tested a variety of topics, focusing on National Novel Writing Month, research for National History Day, and holiday travel. 
    AskUsNow! also reviewed social media trends so far from FY17. Findings included:
    • Postings about specific topics receive the most engagement (For example, posting about National History Day help over the general "assignment help").
    • Student and school interest topics tend to receive the most engagement. This includes assignment help, research, and professional development for educators.
    • Social media is random and changes quickly. AskUsNow! will continue to adjust its social media approach.          

October 2016

  • Facebook: 29 posts reached approximately 7,200 users (248 users per post).
  • Twitter: 99 tweets engaged approximately 9,500 users (353 users per post).
  • Strategies: AskUsNow! remained steady with engagement, focusing on posts related to test prep for students of all ages, professional development (particularly opportunities available online), and topics related to health literacy. Posts covering personal interest topics - such as exercise and community activities - garnered the most engagement on Facebook.
    AskUsNow! also continued their concerted effort to connect with Maryland school and library media specialist accounts on Twitter.                

September 2016

  • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 6,800 users (565 users per post).
  • Twitter: 103 tweets engaged approximately 10,300 users (359 users per post).
  • Strategies: AskUsNow! saw a sharp increase in total impressions in both social media channels. Posts on Twitter during September received four times more engagement as compared to August, while Facebook received double the engagement. As we continue to market to educators and schools, posts covering back to school -- for children and adults -- received a high number of clicks. However, even general promotional posts and personal interest topics performed well. 

August 2016

  • Facebook:  24 posts reached approximately 6,400 users (267 users per post).
  • Twitter:  97 tweets reached approximately 7,400 users (77 users per post).
  • Strategies: Posts focused on Olympic current events and history, literature, and promotion of the newest SAILOR databases. AskUsNow! saw self-initiated promotion from Prince George's County Public Library, Worcester County Library, and Washington County Public Schools. 

July 2016

  • Facebook: 31 posts reached approximately 7,100 users (227 users per post).
  • Twitter: 97 tweets reached approximately 8,900 users (91 users per post).
  • Strategies: Focused on summer learning opportunities, including teacher professional development and summer reading. We also focused on weather, with posts covering weather patterns and maps receiving steady engagement. Posts covering school and education topics led to the most link clicks, with posts on Praxis study guides, teacher blogs, and quiet study spots all obtaining link clicks.

Social Media: FY2018

Updated on 7/3/18​

Social Media Committee:  http://askusnow.info/staff/committees/socialmedia

  • Meg Faller, Calvert Library
  • Tracey Carter, Frederick County Public Library
  • Eden Parks, Towson University  
  • Talibah Chikwendu, Volunteer
  • Paul Chasen, Maryland AskUsNow!

Goals:

  • Advise the Admins on creating daily content and sporadic campaigns for AskUsNow!’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Review social media analytics and revise content based on identified trends.
  • Research and recommend additional (or replacement) social media platforms to reach our target audiences.

 

June 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 63 tweets engaged approximately 5083 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered early literacy resources and research topics asked frequently during the month.  The most popular Tweet of the month:  Don't forget that Maryland public libraries have officially started their Summer Reading programs and events.  Get a head start on the reading festivities, even if the school year isn't quite over yet.   Need more info?  Or reading suggestions?  http://www.askusnow.info  

May 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 64 tweets engaged approximately 6995 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered job and career resources and research topics asked frequently during the month.  The most popular Tweet of the month:  Interested in seasonal employment?  Chat with a librarian to find out if your library offers it, or if nearby businesses offer them.  http://www.askusnow.info  

April 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 62 tweets engaged approximately 8161 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered Financial Literacy Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.

March 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 51 tweets engaged approximately 4664 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered Women's History Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.  

February 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 44 tweets engaged approximately 4482 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered Black History Month and research topics asked frequently during the month.

January 2018

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 61 tweets engaged approximately 6613 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights resources, and digital services provided by Maryland libraries.

December 2017

  • Facebook: Postponed due to a vacancy in the Support for Operations
  • Twitter: 49 tweets engaged approximately 5396 users.
  • Strategies​​:  Social media posts covered Open Access Journals and Holiday reading and viewing advisory services.  The most popular post was about finding primary and secondary sources from university and college libraries’ digital collections.

November 2017

  • Facebook:  21 posts reached approximately 956 users.
  • Twitter: 76 tweets engaged approximately 8800 users.
  • Strategies:  Social media posts covered National History Day resources, National Novel Writing Month, and Job & Career Resources.  AskUsNow! also continued to locate and follow key social media accounts for schools and educators.

October 2017

  • Facebook: 27 posts reached approximately 1700 users.
  • Twitter: 88 tweets engaged approximately 9800 users.
  • StrategiesThe Social Media Committee met on October 26. Discussion topics included past and future provider social media campaigns, strategic posting, and upcoming social media topics. AskUsNow! also launched its second provider social media campaign: "What's your favorite scary read?" We received seven responses. For future campaigns, AskUsNow! will focus on more general questions to draw more responses.

September 2017

  • Facebook: 26 posts reached approximately 1700 users.
  • Twitter: 95 tweets engaged approximately 11,000 users.
  • StrategiesAskUsNow! focused on back-to-school topics, including History Day resources, college prep, and resources for educators to find and discuss resources with other educators. With the start of the school year, engagement with partner libraries and educators increased. AskUsNow!'s Twitter account saw engagement with Frederick County, Towson, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Charles County, and Prince George's County.

August 2017

  • Facebook: 25 posts reached approximately 3000 users.
  • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 11,500 users.
  • Strategies: August's Twitter engagement numbers increased from July 2017 and August 2016. Posts covering back to school, "new" classics, and resources for older generations generated a lot of interest. AskUsNow! also saw an increase in referrals from 8 to 17 for Facebook and Twitter to askusnow.info; our content is driving more users to view our website.
    High interest topics -- such as One Maryland, One Book and the eclipse -- also helped to boost engagement numbers.

July 2017

  • Facebook: 25 posts reached approximately 3100 users.
  • Twitter: 94 tweets engaged approximately 7,100 users.
  • Strategies: Posts this month focused on summer reading, school year preparation, and resources that are free to use and access, both inside and outside of the library.
    • Social Media Campaign: This month, AskUsNow! tested its first social media campaign with provider-involvement in post material. 
      • Provider engagement in this fun activity was high; we received 19 responses from providers to the question, "What are you reading?" 
      • Overall engagement did not see a significant boost with the addition of personalized content. Statistics show a decrease from July 2016, but also show a slight increase from June 2017. Some posts from the campaign were our top-ranked posts for the month; five posts in our top ten were from this campaign.
      • There was not enough engagement to justify the time in creating a monthly campaign; however, the campaign could be a positive tool for provider and social media engagement if used intermittently. Future campaigns would also have to address a high-interest question, both to social media users and our providers. 

Social Media: FY2019

Social Media (3+ members):  http://askusnow.info/staff/committees/socialmedia

  • Meg Faller, Calvert Library (April 2018-Present)
  • Eden Parks, Towson University (January 2017-Present)
  • Tracey Carter, Frederick County Public Library (September 2017-Present)
  • Talibah Chikwendu, Maryland AskUsNow! Volunteer (January 2018-Present)
  • Paul Chasen, Statewide Coordinator, Maryland AskUsNow!, Chair

Goals:

  • Advise the Statewide Coordinator on creating content for AskUsNow!’s Twitter account.
  • Review social media analytics and revise content based on identified trends.
  • Connect with Maryland Twitter accounts that share educational and/or reference & information service goals.

June 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

May 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

April 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

March 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

February 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

January 2018

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

December 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

November 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

October 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

September 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

August 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

July 2017

  • Twitter
  • Strategies​​:  

Statistical Sampling

FY16 Statistical Sampling Weeks: Statewide

FY16

Level 1

(1)

Level 2

(1)

Level 3

(1.5)

Level 4

(2.5)

Total Questions Total AUN Chat Sessions Questions Per Session
Week 1:  8/9-8/15 104 156 153 95 508 240 2.12
Week 1:  Level of Questions (%) 20.49 30.74 30.05 18.72      
Week 2:  9/6-9/12 68 130 201 90 489 202 2.42
Week 2:  Level of Questions (%) 13.91 26.58 41.10 18.40      
Week 3:  9/13-9/19 85 131 171 135 522 265 1.97
Week 3:  Level of Questions (%) 16.28 25.10 32.76 25.86      
Week 4:  10/4-10/10 74 147 168 186 575 267 2.15
Week 4: Level of Questions (%) 12.87 25.57 29.22 32.35      
Week 5:  10/25-10/31 77 130 197 240 644 319 2.02
Week 5: Level of Questions (%) 11.97 20.20 30.54 37.30      
Week 6:  11/8-11/14 81 109 222 276 688 301 2.28
Week 6: Level of Questions (%) 11.77 15.84 32.27 40.12      
Week 7:  11/22-11/28 57 84 106 150 397 201 1.97
Week 7: Level of Questions (%) 14.36 21.16 26.70 37.78      
Week 8:  1/10-1/16 87 150 213 283 733 365 2.01
Week 8: Level of Questions (%) 11.87 20.46 29.06 38.61      
Week 9:  3/6-3/12 106 113 184 131 532 276 1.93
Week 9: Level of Questions (%) 19.92 21.25 34.03 24.62      
Week 10:  3/13-3/19 120 116 252 148 636 281 2.26
Week 10: Level of Questions (%) 19.44 18.44 38.37 23.75      
Week 11:  3/27-4/2 112 104 122 85 423 231 1.83
Week 11: Level of Questions (%) 26.48 24.57 28.85 20.10      
Week 12:  4/3-4/9 94 141 174 90 499 258 1.93
Week 12: Level of Questions (%) 18.84 28.26 34.86 18.04      
Week 13:  4/17-4/23 151 98 128 110 487 242 2.01
Week 13: Level of Questions (%) 31.01 20.12 26.28 22.59      
Week 14:  5/15-5/21 102 142 125 128 497 231 2.15
Week 14: Level of Questions (%) 20.52 28.57 25.15 25.75      
Non-Weighted Totals 1318 1751 2416 2147 7632 3679 2.07
Non-Weighted Types of Questions (%) 17.27 22.94 31.66 28.13      

 

Weighted FY16 Totals:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY16_StatisticalSamplingREADScaleTotals.pdf  

More information about FY16 Statistical Sampling is available at http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling/FY16

FY17 Statistical Sampling Weeks: Statewide

Week Directional* Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Questions** Sessions Questions per Session
Week 1: 7/24-7/30 46 54 122 149 90 415 205 2.02

Week 1: Questions (%)

10.00 11.74 26.52 32.28 19.46 ---- ---- ----
Week 2: 8/21-8/27 42 53 124 186 60 423 233 1.82
Week 2: Questions (%) 9.03 11.40 26.67 40.00 12.90 ---- ---- ----
Week 3: 9/18-9/24 54 62 118 228 230 638 312 2.04
Week 3: Questions (%) 7.80 8.96 17.05 32.95 33.24 ---- ---- ----
Week 4: 9/25-10/1 45 56 125 236 195 612 298 2.05
Week 4: Questions (%) 6.85 8.53 19.04 35.87 29.70 ---- ---- ----
Week 5: 10/16-10/22 45 71 160 203 198 632 308 2.05
Week 5: Questions (%) 6.66 10.50 23.67 29.96 29.22 ---- ---- ----
Week 6: 11/20-11/26 17 39 61 161 185 446 237 1.88
Week 6: Questions (%) 3.68 8.43 13.19 34.70 40.00 ---- ---- ----
Week 7: 12/11-12/17 41 34 93 201 243 571 294 1.94
Week 7: Questions (%) 6.70 5.56 15.21 32.87 39.66 ---- ---- ----
Week 8: 1/15-1/21 31 38 97 125 73 332 198 1.68
Week 8: Questions (%) 8.54 10.47 26.72 34.30 19.97 ---- ---- ----
Week 9: 2/5-2/11 18 53 81 139 178 445 256 1.74
Week 9: Questions (%) 3.89 11.32 17.31 29.59 37.93 ---- ---- ----
Week 10: 3/12-3/18 14 31 80 96 103 310 171 1.81
Week 10: Questions (%) 4.33 9.58 24.73 29.68 31.68 ---- ---- ----
Week 11: 4/2-4/8 42 39 103 104 120 366 234 1.56
Week 11: Questions (%) 10.31 9.57 25.28 25.40 29.45 ---- ---- ----
Week 12: 4/9-4/15 29 29 101 95 128 352 182 1.93
Week 12: Questions (%) 7.61 7.61 26.51 24.80 33.46 ---- ---- ----
Week 13: 5/21-5/27 26 41 83 142 130 396 231 1.71
Week 13: Questions (%) 6.16 9.72 19.67 33.65 30.81 ---- ---- ----
Week 14: 6/11-6/17 36 48 86 87 73 294 159 1.85
Week 14: Questions (%) 10.93 14.57 26.10 26.40 22.00 ---- ---- ----
Non-Weighted Total Questions: 486 648 1434 2152 2006 6240 3318 1.88
Non-Weighted Total:  Questions (%) 7.03 9.38 21.08 32.29 30.22 (6726)    

 

Weighted FY17 Q1 YTD Totals:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY17_Q1YTD_Total.pdf

Weighted FY17 Q2 YTD Totals:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY17_Q2YTD_Total.pdf

Dashboard Q2 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUN_Dashboard_FY17_Q2YTD.pdf    

Weighted FY17 Q3 YTD Totals:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY17_Q3YTD_Total.pdf  

Weighted FY17 Q4 YTD Totals:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY17_Q4YTD_Total.pdf  

Dashboard Q4 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUN_Dashboard_FY17_Q4YTD.pdf    

*Directional questions count for the percentage of questions, but not the total "Questions" reported in statewide and grant reports.

**"Questions" equal Levels 1-4.

More information on FY17 statistical sampling can be found here:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling/FY17

 

FY18 Statistical Sampling Weeks: Statewide

Week Directional* Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Questions** Sessions Questions per Session
Week 1: 7/2-7/8 33 60 116 68 20 264 157 1.68
Week 1: Questions (%) 11.13 20.24 39.12 22.77 6.75 ---- ---- ----
Week 2: 9/10-9/16 33 63 134 116 103 416 228 1.82
Week 2: Questions (%) 7.37 14.06 29.91 25.78 22.88 ---- ---- ----
Week 3: 9/24-9/30 45 53 133 132 100 418 234 1.79
Week 3: Questions (%) 9.72 11.45 28.73 28.51 21.60 ---- ---- ----
Week 4: 10/1-10/7 31 39 103 144 133 419 235 1.78
Week 4: Questions (%) 6.90 8.68 22.91 32.04 29.48 ---- ---- ----
Week 5: 10/15-10/21 51 46 111 176 175 508 263 1.93
Week 5: Questions (%) 9.13 8.24 19.87 31.42 31.33 ---- ---- ----
Week 6: 11/26-12/2 34 33 95 254 265 647 331 1.95
Week 6: Questions (%) 5.00 4.85 13.96 37.25 38.94 ---- ---- ----
Week 7: 12/3-12/9 34 56 106 215 216 593 311 1.91
Week 7: Questions (%) 5.43 8.95 16.93 34.27 34.42 ---- ---- ----
Week 8: 1/14-1/20 30 38 77 125 163 402 219 1.84
Week 8: Questions (%) 6.94 8.80 17.82 28.82 37.62 ---- ---- ----
Week 9: 3/4-3/10 30 45 110 147 145 447 230 1.94
Week 9: Questions (%) 6.29 9.43 23.06 30.82 30.40 ---- ---- ----
Week 10: 3/11-3/17 35 41 104 146 85 376 209 1.80
Week 10: Questions (%) 8.53 9.99 25.33 35.44 20.71 ---- ---- ----
Week 11: 4/8-4/14 38 61 121 150 140 472 226 2.09
Week 11: Questions (%) 7.45 11.96 23.73 29.41 27.45 ---- ---- ----
Week 12: 4/29-5/5 17 25 85 159 118 387 211 1.83
Week 12: Questions (%) 4.21 6.20 21.07 39.41 29.12 ---- ---- ----
Week 13: 5/13-5/19 25 30 91 203 143 466 281 1.66
Week 13: Questions (%) 5.09 6.11 18.53 41.24 29.02 ---- ---- ----
Week 14: 6/10-6/16 20 56 103 87 78 324 181 1.79
Week 14: Questions (%) 5.82 16.30 29.99 25.33 22.56 ---- ---- ----
Non-Weighted Total Questions: 456 646 1489 2122 1884 6139 3316 1.85
Non-Weighted Total:  Questions (%)   10.51 24.24 34.56 30.69    

 

Weighted Q1:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY18_Q1YTD_Total.pdf 

Weighted Q2 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY18_Q2YTD_Total.pdf

Weighted Q3 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/FY18_Q3YTD_Total.pdf    

Weighted Q4 YTD:

Dashboard Q1:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q1.pdf  

Dashboard Q2 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q2YTD.pdf  

Dashboard Q3 YTD:  http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/AUNDashboardFY18Q3YTD.pdf  

Dashboard Q4 YTD:

Please go to http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling/FY18 for more information

*Directional questions count for the percentage of questions, but not the total "Questions" reported in statewide and grant reports.

**"Questions" equal Levels 1-4.

FY19 Statistical Sampling Weeks: Statewide

Week Directional* Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Questions** Sessions Questions per Session
Week 1: 7/15-7/21                
Week 1: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 2: 8/12-8/18                
Week 2: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 3: 8/26-9/1                
Week 3: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 4: 9/23-9/29                
Week 4: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 5: 10/7-10/13                
Week 5: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 6: 11/4-11/10                
Week 6: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 7: 11/11-11/17                
Week 7: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 8: 2/17-2/23                
Week 8: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 9: 3/3-3/9                
Week 9: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 10: 3/17-3/23                
Week 10: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 11: 3/31-4/6                
Week 11: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 12: 4/14-4/20                
Week 12: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 13: 5/19-5/25                
Week 13: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Week 14: 6/16-6/22                
Week 14: Questions (%)           ---- ---- ----
Non-Weighted Total Questions:                
Non-Weighted Total:  Questions (%)              

 

Weighted Q1:  

Weighted Q2 YTD:  

Weighted Q3 YTD:  

Weighted Q4 YTD:

Dashboard Q1:  

Dashboard Q2 YTD:  

Dashboard Q3 YTD:  

Dashboard Q4 YTD:

Please go to http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/statisticalsampling/FY19 for more information

*Directional questions count for the percentage of questions, but not the total "Questions" reported in statewide and grant reports.

**"Questions" equal Levels 1-4.