Yes, there's a new canned message available to all service providers in LibraryH3lp. You can send this to students who may have non-library related questions about COVID-19 changes at their college or university:
"For information on your institution's response to COVID-19, please check the institution's website. This is your best source of up to date information about any changes to services, courses, exams, or registration."
Tip: To pull this script up quickly using LibraryH3lp's typeahead feature, simply begin typing COVID-19 into the text area of your chat.
If possible, please direct the student to this information as well.
If students have questions about services at their library, please see this FAQ for more information.
To help capture these chat sessions, apply the "covid-19" tag (note: this tag was previously titled "other").
When to use this tag:
Use this tag for questions about using the library and its services during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. can I access print books at the library right now?)
Questions that we wouldn't typically see coming into AskAway but that are being asked due to current circumstances (e.g. will summer courses be in-person or online?)
Note: When appropriate, please also add a regular tag that describes the type of question asked. For example, if the question is about returning a book during building closures, add the "covid-19" tag AND the "circulation" tag.
Institutional queues supplement the collaborative AskAway queue. When you're staffing the collaborative AskAway service, institutional queues allow you to see and respond to questions coming from your institution first. When you sign on for your shift and select both the "askaway" queue and your institutional queue, you will see and can claim students from your institution first. If you're busy, these questions will seamlessly roll-up to the collaborative service after 40 seconds for an AskAway colleague to pick-up.
To provide additional support for students, an institution may choose to staff their institutional queue only in addition to shifts on the collaborative service.
If you're staffing only your institutional queue, you may be wondering how you can switch to staffing the entire service for your regularly scheduled AskAway shift. Or maybe you've been staffing AskAway and would like to return to staffing only your institutional queue.
It's easy, and you can make the switch without losing any ongoing chat sessions. A few things to keep in mind when you're making the switch:
If you're staffing AskAway, remember to login to Campfire
If you're switching from AskAway to your institutional queue only, please leave the Campfire chat room (see this FAQ)
Switch from staffing your institutional queue to staffing the collaborative AskAway queue
1) Click "I'm Staffing" in the left-hand panel
2) Select the "askaway" queue, in addition to your institutional queue
3) Click "Guests & Contacts" to return to the main view
Switch from staffing the collaborative AskAway queue to staffing your institutional queue
Follow the same steps as above but deselect the "askaway" queue.
All library policy pages should now include a link at the very top that points to information on updates and changes to library services due to COVID-19.
If you notice that a library does not have this information on their policy page, please let us know.
If a link to this information is not readily available on the policy page, please check the library's website and/or their official social media accounts (e.g. Twitter) for the most up to date information.
For the time being, if you're staffing only your institutional queue, please don't login to Campfire.
AskAway's Campfire account has a limit of 12 people in the chat room at one time, and we would easily reach that limit if everyone staffing their queues entered the chat room. When the limit of 12 is reached, those who are coming on for their AskAway shift can't enter the room.
For now, we'd like to keep Campfire available only for those who are staffing their regular AskAway shifts.
As library services shift in response to COVID-19, you may receive new types of questions from patrons. As always, we don't ask patrons for any personally identifiable information, including email address, name, phone number, student number, etc. This applies to all chat sessions, including those coming in through your institutional queue.
If you would like the patron to follow-up with you, you can choose to give them your own professional contact information, but this is up to you. You can also refer them to the appropriate contact at their library or institution.
Under the current circumstances, you may feel tempted to send patrons full-text articles to provide easier or faster access to information.
Please do not send any full-text articles or other licensed resources to patrons through the AskAway service. On AskAway, we are unable to verify patrons’ institutional affiliations and as such, cannot guarantee that we are respecting our licensing agreements when sending full-text files.
If possible, send permalinks or guide patrons through the steps to access these resources instead. Patrons should be required to use their institutional credentials when accessing licensed materials.
To review how to send other types of files and images, please see this FAQ.
Institutional queues supplement the collaborative AskAway queue. They allow those staffing the provincial AskAway service to see and respond to questions coming from their institution first.
To see and work with students from their institution first, service providers should select both their institutional queue and the general AskAway queue when signing on for their shift (see this FAQ). If service providers are busy, questions from their institution will seamlessly roll-up to the collaborative service after 40 seconds for an AskAway colleague to pick-up.
LibraryH3lp institutional queues are not designed to act as a standalone service: they're not available when the AskAway service is closed (the current schedule and operating hours are available here), separate statistics on how many questions are answered via the institutional queues are not captured, and those staffing only their institutional queues are not connected to their AskAway colleagues to arrange transfers or consult on questions.
For additional support for students, an institution may choose to staff their institutional queue in addition to their shifts on the collaborative service. These shifts do not count towards AskAway staffing commitments.