Providing a Statewide Service for Delaware Libraries
Here’s how it works:
Delaware libraries have collaborated to provide online reference services to students and patrons as part of the Delaware Library Consortium. Patrons can reach out at any time via email (by submitting a webform on the patron portal page), SMS text, direct message on select Delaware Libraries’ Facebook pages, or voicemail message. We let patrons know that their library will get back to them within 2-3 regular business days but aim to respond within 24 hours from when the patron first submits a question.
For frequently asked questions, Ask a Librarian Delaware provides numerous quick answers to help patrons find the exact info they need. Many of these FAQs give ‘how to’ information with links and visual aides. FAQs are added by the Statewide Coordinator and accessible by the Ask a Librarian Delaware Reference Services Liaisons (when logged into your LibAnswers account, you can see the list of FAQs). Patrons can search FAQs by topic or keyword to find what they are looking for on the patron portal page.
Delaware Libraries’ staff often assist each other with questions from patrons around the state. For example, if a patron from Lewes is looking for genealogy assistance, staff may use the “Reuse Answers” area to see if there is a FAQ or if another Delaware library staff answered a similar type question. Question relevance is enhanced through tagging questions when staff is answering them.
If a patron’s question is ‘person-specific’ (such as questions regarding a patron’s account) then it can be referred to the appropriate staff member for follow up. While we all represent Delaware libraries to our patrons, each library can work with their community of patrons while sharing in the Delaware library reference service, learning and offering expertise statewide.
Question-answering consistency and excellence is a standard shared by all who participate in the Delaware Libraries’ reference service. Question-answering follows the RUSA guidelines.
Please see this Delaware Virtual Reference Services Manual for further guidance.
Here is additional information:
Interested in participating with Ask a Librarian Delaware? Please Contact the Statewide Coordinator.