New Staff/Volunteer Training (Updated)

3/14/19:   What are your initial thoughts on the redesigned, self-paced New Staff/Volunteer Training (NST)? 

  • What documentation is useful for staff to learn about AUN at their own pace?
  • What needs to be added in?  Removed?
  • Please contact Paul at with your questions and feedback.  Thanks!


New Staff/Volunteer Training

New Staff Training (NST) is currently redesigned to be as self-paced as possible for all Maryland Library staff and volunteers who want to provide the Maryland AskUsNow! (AUN) service. 

The Liaisons will oversee the NST.  The Liaisons and Provider will determine which training resources are best to access and review during the training process.

The Statewide Coordinator 1) can be consulted in the NST, or 2) asked to train staff, by request.  


Goals and Objectives for 6 Contact Hours (CEUs)

Goal:  AUN is the statewide, library chat reference service.  The participants in the NST will be 1) learning how to be chat librarians at AUN! by using the chat reference software and 2) applying their current background in reference and customer services to help library customers on chat.  


  • Navigate AUN's staff support website, the AUN Staff website:
  • Navigate the “My QuestionPoint” website while scheduled on chat and for professional development purposes.
  • Complete practice chat sessions using OCLC’s QuestionPoint.
  • Apply six model chat reference behaviors when providing chat on AUN.


NST To-Do List 

Define AUN

Officially starting as a statewide library service on March 17, 2003, Maryland AskUsNow! (AUN), accessible at or an AskUsNow! library's website, is a free, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, online library chat reference service.  AUN is 100% IMLS LSTA Grant-Funded, administered by the Maryland State Library, and coordinated at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/SLRC.  Maryland residents, students in Maryland schools and institutions, and people outside of Maryland who find the service have online conversations with chat librarians (i.e. Providers).  The chat customers 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.  Maryland librarians, or librarians from other states and countries who back up the service, provide the research and information help.  Customers may also receive referrals to services related to their questions.  Let's chat at Maryland AskUsNow!.        

Chat with a Librarian:  Ask a Research or Complex Library Services Question on AUN?  (Or an AUN Access Point on your library's website) 

  • What was outstanding about the chat?
  • What needs to be improved?
  • Please tell your Liaison about the AUN Chat Experience.

What is the AUN Staff Website? 

  • This website needs to be open while scheduled on chat.
  • Please become familiar with at least the following parts of the website.

Become Familiar with the Language (i.e. Jargon) of AUN

QuestionPoint (i.e. The Chat Reference Software Program)

The QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative provides an around-the-clock reference service, built by a cooperative of participating libraries (Maryland AskUsNow! libraries are members of the cooperative.). Libraries agree to answer questions for each other in real time using QuestionPoint software.
The Cooperative helps supplement libraries' hours of service by being available to library communities 24 hours a day, 7 a week, including holidays.  

Chat Reference Behaviors

Practice Chat Using QuestionPoint (and using the "Practice" Resolution Code)


Have You Completed the New Staff Training?  Please fill out the survey.


Do You Need a Contact Hours (CEU) Form?  Please contact Paul Chasen, the Statewide Coordinator of AUN, at


NST (Optional)

If interested in AUN data:


Being an AUN promoter in your community is beyond appreciatedWe're also on Twitter.

  • Tell customers visiting or contacting your library about how they can get help from a librarian at anytime of the day:
    • Conveniently: 
      • from anywhere with an Internet connection.
      • If they need to contact a librarian when the library is closed.
      • If they are unable to leave home (i.e. homebound), work, or somewhere else that is not near their library.  
    • Comfortably:  in an anonymous and secure online setting.  The customers decides on what they want to tell the customer about themselves.  
    • Cooperatively:  librarians are ready to help customers that are not from their local library.  It's best to tell customers about this important point about how AUN works.


Curious about what a Liaison does at AUN?