Ask a Librarian

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Ask a Librarian is Florida's statewide collaborative live virtual reference service and is administered by the Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC). Ask a Librarian began as a partnership between the College Center for Library Automation (CCLA) and TBLC. Ask a Librarian was funded initially in 2002-2003 with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds as a pilot project of the Florida Electronic Library. Ask a Librarian is currently an official service of the Florida Electronic Library.

The service was activated on July 28, 2003.[1] Tampa-area libraries were the first to participate, with Pasco County libraries joining shortly afterward.[2] Within the first year, "nearly 7,500 Floridians" had used the service to get answers from a librarian.[3][4]

Ask a Librarian currently has 130 participating libraries (with 3 additional members during the 2012-2013 year), including public libraries and library systems, K-12 libraries, and university, and college libraries.[5] [6] On August 19, 2007, Ask a Librarian answered its 100,000th question. As of February 2011, Ask a Librarian had logged over 274,000 live virtual reference sessions and e-mail questions.[1] In 2012, the service introduced a mobile-friendly interface for tablets and phones.[7][8]

The service provides all of Florida's citizens with live virtual reference services featuring live chat and text messaging via local library customized web sites and embedded widgets and Instant Invites from 10 am to midnight EST Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 am to 5 pm EST Friday and Saturday. Participating libraries utilize the software to provide local live virtual reference services to their patrons. An e-mail form is available to patrons 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. All e-mail is answered by the local participating library. Ask a Librarian Mobile debuted in January 2008. It provides chat, text, and email reference service to mobile devices.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "AskALibrarian.org: About". AskALibrarian.org. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Richardson, Rachel (4 August 2003). "Librarians' Help Offered On Web". The Tampa Tribune. p. 4. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Haase, Linda (25 August 2004). "Library offering live, on-line help with research". The Palm Beach Post. p. 1 (Neighborhood Post). Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Ward, J., & Barbier, P. (2010). Best Practices in Chat Reference Used by Florida's Ask a Librarian Virtual Reference Librarians. Reference Librarian, 51(1), 53-68. doi:10.1080/02763870903361854
  5. ^ "Participating Libraries". AskALibrarian.org. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "2012-2013 Fact Sheet". AskALibrarian.org. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Nunez, Varrick (6 March 2012). "Reference Questions Answered with Ask-A-Librarian". The Ledger. p. B9. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Bishop, B., Sachs-Silveira, D., & Avet, T. (2011). Populating a Knowledge Base with Local Knowledge for Florida's Ask a Librarian Reference Consortium. Reference Librarian, 52(3), 197-207. doi:10.1080/02763877.2011.555289

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