2018 06 - June 2018 Monthly Report

Maryland AskUsNow! Monthly Report

June 2018


By the Numbers:

  • Maryland library customers logged into chat 1008 times; +42 from June 2017.
  • Maryland librarians answered questions in 776 chat sessions from Maryland and global customers; +75 from June 2017.  
  • Maryland librarians followed up by email to customers’ chat questions 347 times.


Customers’ Comments:


Joseph was very helpful, thank you for providing this service!!!—The UMES Librarian gave search strategies and database suggestions to a Frostburg State student working on her nursing class project.  The student was successfully able to narrow down search results to full-text and peer-reviewed only.

Thank you for taking the time to assist me to find an attorney to help my friend whose primary language is Spanish.  What you did to today made a difference in several lives.— The Baltimore City librarian helped an Anne Arundel County customer get a list of attorneys who are fluent in Spanish.

Needs Improvement:

the site that I'm looking for probably doesn't exist and i accept that—The Charles County customer wanted a website that gives every local, state, and federal voting record in the history of the U.S.  The Baltimore City librarian provided resources that will help the customer find all of these types of records, but not a “one-stop shop” like the customer wanted.  The customer acknowledged that the quality was still high for the chat.


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

  • Kate Niemczyk, Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC
  • Annette Gaskins, Harford County Public Library
  • Alice Paterra, Worcester County Library.


  • The Exceptional Transcript Committee decided on three outstanding chats (Please see “Chat Librarian Recognition.”).    
  • Mea Lee (Anne Arundel Community College) joined the Exceptional Transcript Review Committee.   


Grant Activities:


  • Based on marketing strategies promoting the public portal (www.askusnow.info), FY18 total chats accessed from different locations are available:  http://askusnow.info/staff/reports/chatlocation/fy18.  The top five locations with the most chats are 1) Prince George’s County, 2) Montgomery County, 3) Baltimore City, 4) Calvert County, and 5) Queen Anne’s County.
  • Social Media:
    • Twitter: 63 tweets engaged approximately 5083 users.
    • Social media posts covered literacy resources and customers’ reactions to their most popular chat experiences.
    • 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?  www.askusnow.info.

Training:  18 library staff attended “Tips and Tricks with Working with Difficult Customers on Chat” on Blackboard Collaborate.  The training focused on applying Erving Goffman’s face-time communication theory to chat reference.

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

More News:

  • Paul presented concerns in collaboration with eight statewide and regional coordinators of virtual reference services about 1) OCLC’s lack of communication to the QuestionPoint 24/7 Cooperative and 2) delayed virtual reference software enhancements to OCLC administrators and QuestionPoint management.  OCLC and QuestionPoint will be presenting steps to improve the communication and get a visible software enhancement timeline in place in July and August 2018.
  • Paul attended the MSL’s Futuring, Trends, and Forecasts Workshop.
  • The Montgomery College Library hosted the June 2018 Liaison Meeting.  Minutes are available at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/Minutes_June2018_AUNLiaisonMeeting.pdf.
  • Five AUN Partner Libraries (AACC, Cecil County, Frederick County, Hagerstown Community College, and Montgomery College) took the initiative to voluntarily participate in a peer-review, policy page project with libraries in CA, MN, OR, and WA.
  • The Fairfax County Public Library (VA) continued to receive guidance from Paul on developing virtual reference service training documentation for their staff.


Submitted on 7/16/18 by PC