2017/2018 Maryland AskUsNow! Intern and Volunteer Chat Librarians

Maryland AskUsNow! Intern and Volunteer Chat Librarians

 

What is Maryland AskUsNow!?

Maryland AskUsNow!, www.askusnow.info, is a free, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, online library chat service.  Maryland residents, students in Maryland schools and institutions, and people outside of Maryland who find the service, ask questions anonymously or by identifying themselves with email addresses, with or without a library card, to get quick or in-depth, research and information help in online conversations.  Maryland librarians, or librarians from other states and countries who back up the service, provide the research and information help.  Customers may receive referrals to services related to their questions.  The customers also have the option to get more research and information help from a local librarian or subject specialist by email.  Let's chat at www.askusnow.info.   
 

To participate as an intern or volunteer at AskUsNow!, an individual must:

  • think "people first:"  help out customers on chat or email as best as possible on their reference and information needs, and be open to collaborating with your library colleagues.      
  • (For Interns Only) take on a project:  what will you do to enhance AskUsNow!?  develop marketing strategies?  make training materials?  introduce your colleagues to new online resources?  Let's apply our current skill set to a project that will lead to new skills.
  • do what current AskUsNow! chat librarians do:  complete the Maryland AskUsNow! New Staff Training.
  • treat the internship or volunteer experience like a job:  this simply means not having your other employment and school obligations interfere.
  • commit to at least one semester or 6 months:  if you end up finding out that you have found your calling in the library world thanks to AskUsNow!, then we can explore future opportunities with the service. 

Interns and Volunteers are expected to:

  • hold themselves accountable:  provide chat during your scheduled times (at least one chat hour/week), and make up chat hours if the unexpected happens.
  • fill in for AskUsNow! colleagues, when available.
  • update the AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator, or designated staff, on AskUsNow! projects, when applicable.
  • ask questions, or comment, on their chat experiences with customers from in and out of Maryland with the Statewide Coordinator or AskUsNow! community.  
  • apply the virtual reference behaviors and software (please have a computer with internet access.) to great use.

 

Prospective interns and volunteers must complete an application and background check form.  

When an intern or volunteer has completed their time at Maryland AskUsNow!, or chooses to leave the service after the minimum time completed, a “Certificate of Providing Service with Maryland AskUsNow!” will be sent to them.  If an intern or volunteer leaves, or is removed before completing a minimum amount of time, no certificate will be issued.  Interns and volunteers may arrange for references for potential employers on an individual basis with the Statewide Coordinator.

No AskUsNow! partner library is required to accept an intern or volunteer.  Interns and volunteers providing service through a sponsoring library will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Statewide Coordinator.

The Statewide Coordinator must agree to have the individual participate as an intern or volunteer.  The Statewide Coordinator, or a sponsoring library’s liaison, directly oversees the intern or volunteer’s service as they would any other AskUsNow! chat librarian at their library.

Maryland AskUsNow! and the partner library where the intern and volunteer relationship exists reserve the right to change, modify, delete, and supplement these requirements based on the needs of the libraries.

 

To learn more about Maryland AskUsNow, try out chat at www.askusnow.info or get more in-depth information about the service at http://askusnow.info/staff/.  Interested?  Learn more about interning or volunteering at Maryland AskUsNow! by contacting Paul Chasen, Statewide Coordinator of Maryland AskUsNow!, at pchasen@prattlibrary.org or 443-984-4955.

 

Revised and Updated on October 5, 2017