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:


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.


  • 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:


  • 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.


  • 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