2018 09 - September 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

September 2018


By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1391 times, +351 from September 2017.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 810 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 368 times.
  • Statistical Sampling:  Q1 YTD:  5384 chat questions. 


Customers’ Comments:


Great to have the help of John.  Always great to work with knowledge based workers who initiate learning and not afraid to offer alternative ideas and thoughts.— The Baltimore City librarian gave a college student in Harford County useful referrals to find out what types of health care requirements library staff have to meet in his county or statewide.

Everything was answered very quickly. Nathan was very helpful!—The Calvert County librarian helped a Carroll County customer learn how to register for programs online, and determine if all programs had online registration.

Needs Improvement:

I was provided the information I needed, but the librarian came off as rude and eager to get our conversation over with. He/she had no time for pleasantries and ended the session abruptly.—The Baltimore City Librarian provided websites for an anonymous, Caroline County customer’s personal interest question.  After discussing the chat in more detail with the librarian’s supervisor, we determined that the resources should have been provided at a slower pace, with explanations of why they are authoritative, and give the customer time to review them.


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

  • Andrew Clash, Baltimore County Public Library
  • Mary Perdue, Calvert Library
  • Tracey Carter, Frederick County Public Libraries


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



Grant Activities:


  • Marketing to the General Public:  Social Media:
    • Twitter: 45 tweets engaged approximately 6585 users.
    • Social media posts covered back to school resources and research topics asked frequently during the month. 
    • The most popular Tweet of the month:  "Research help, free, 24/7.  https://www.askusnow.info." on a Thursday morning.
  • Marketing to Schools:  Paul and the Ellen Ruoff (Calvert Library) provided more details to the Calvert County Public Schools about the differences between getting help at Maryland AskUsNow!, and getting help at Brainfuse/HelpNow. 


  • New Staff:  Four, Montgomery County Public Libraries staff were trained on AUN.
  • LATIs:  Cameron Caswell (AACC) and Paul held five Google Hangouts for 28 LAs about virtual reference and AUN.

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

More News:

  • RUSA RSS Virtual Reference Committee:  Paul was selected and agreed to be co-chair of the committee.
  • QuestionPoint/Collaborative-VR:
    • The HTTPS Protocol will be completed on 10/7/18.
    • Webinars and virtual reference tips will be reinstated as early as January 2019.
    • The QuestionPoint Communication Committee:  The committee reached a consensus to get QuestionPoint monthly emails reinstated in October 2018, and to have a QuestionPoint User Group Forum in November 2018.    
  • Online VR Conference:  We are in the final stages of booking Miguel Figueroa at the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries as our Keynote Speaker.
  • Future Planning:  The partners reached a consensus with Paul to explore guest chat subject specialists who are not librarians with assistance from the Foundation Center and/or Maryland Nonprofits. 
  • Liaison Meeting:  The quarterly Liaison Meeting was hosted at the Waldorf West Branch of the Charles County Public Library.  The minutes are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/Minutes_September2018_AUNLiaisonMeeting.docx
  • Professional Development:  Paul attended a RUSA webinar:  Help Your Researchers Locate Primary Sources.


Submitted on 10/15/18 by PC