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LibAnswers (Ask Us!) Guide for Library Staff & Librarians: About LibAnswers

Getting Started on your Virtual Reference Shift

Welcome!

Cat meme saying welcome to libanswers i'll be your guide

Welcome to this training guide for LibAnswers (Ask Us!). 

Here you'll find quick links, tips, and documentation to help you succeed in virtual reference as you are being trained by someone at your campus. If you don't already have an account and have just been sent this link, please email the LibAnswers Admin, Amanda Ross, at amanda.ross87@tulsacc.edu. Don't forget the 87! 

This training is for both library staff AND librarians! Refer back to it at any time from the LibAnswers Dashboard.

Navigate through each tab at the top and read through the information. Toward the bottom of each page is an embedded quiz/tutorial that you should take to practice your skillz. There are 4 quizzes total. You won't be scored, but the LibAnswers Admin will be notified each time you complete one. Make sure you see the submission complete screen after you're done with a quiz!

Why We Like LibAnswers:

  • Similar look and feel to LibGuides -- all part of the LibApps suite of products!
  • A way to connect with library users and answer their questions via their points of need
  • Helps us work remotely 
  • Track user search activity and can log information about their virtual reference questions for analytics 
  • A way of offering information about other departments/collaborating with other departments 
  • Reuse answers in various ways to save time 
  • You can Google how to use this product! Example keyword search for an issue: "Springshare create ticket from chat"  
  • Librarians can insert a LibAnswers widget into a LibGuide to help researchers find specific help like in the Humanities LibGuide (opens in new window). There are actually 3 LibAnswers widgets on the homepage (4 if you count the systems widget on all Library pages!). Can you spot them all? 

Quick Links For Later!

These pages will assist you in providing Virtual Reference. Refer back to them as needed (ie you might want to bookmark these!):

(these open in a new window)

Research Guides - AKA "LibGuides." A list of research guides on specific subjects made by librarians. You can link to one of these guides during a chat session to offer more information, particularly if it's a research question and there's no librarian available to help immediately.

Permalinks for E-Resources - Please make sure you're using the permalinks when you want to send a patron to a specific database or other e-resource. (Click on the 'Share' link to the right of each database here to copy the permalink or look for a permalink icon when searching these). Some links you send will time out for a patron and not give them access without a permalink.

TCC Library Staff Directory - a direct link to our librarian and full-time staff list, so that you can easily identify librarians and staff at various campuses. You can give this contact information out as well to the patron. Clicking on the name of a librarian will get a direct link to their profile you can also send. Many librarians have a direct chat button on their profiles where a chat will go directly to them if they are online.

Tutoring help for students - This is a private research guide, but it is linked in the FAQ entry about tutoring. You can send it to patrons who have tutoring questions.

FAQ entries - You can link to an FAQ entry during a chat session or copy and paste an answer from one if the question has been asked before. 

New schedule for campus-based coverage. As of August 2021, LMT (Library Management Team) has implemented this. You will log in specific days of the week. For every day of the week we are open, two libraries will offer coverage of chat for that day and their librarians will be available to answer tickets. If your staff is experiencing shortages and you are a librarian, you are expected to still log into chat as you are able.

What is LibAnswers?

What Does it Look Like for Patrons (Students, Faculty, and Non-Library Staff)?

Breaking Down the Jargon

Take this tutorial! Don't worry - it's just 3 questions. :)

 

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