WA Secretary of State Blogs

Ref22: Mastering the Reference Interview

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Ref22-Logo Did you miss out on the live Ref22 webinar this week? Never fear! All Ref22 sessions are archived and available on the website at Ref22: Archived Sessions.

For our October session we had Christa Werle  from Sno-Isle Libraries talking about mastering the reference interview. Check it out!

Whatever our official status, our users think of us all simply as “the librarian.” Join us during October’s Ref22 to discuss how library staff of all levels can engage (and sometimes disengage) our users to best meet their information needs.

Sno-Isle Libraries offers this training quarterly to all staff that work at a public information or customer service desk. The training is a mix of “Reference 101″ (for paraprofessionals) and “Reference Refresher” (for librarians).

With a focus on working as a team, this training reminds us of our best practices in how to be a community doorway to reading, resources, and lifelong learning.

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Thoughts on Innovation in Reference Services

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Last Friday I had the pleasure of [virtually] being part of a panel at the WLA / PNLA conference in Victoria. The panel was called “Reference Service Innovations: Present and Future”, and my fellow panelists and I were given some excellent questions to consider.

Since I wasn’t sure how the technology would play out (I was a virtual presenter on a panel that was otherwise physically present AT the conference), I recorded the questions with my answers and sent them along so that I could be represented even if the technology failed. Thankfully, it didn’t, and I’m happy to have my thoughts recorded so that I can share them here with you.

The questions were provided by Heather McLeland-Wieser at the Seattle Public Library. These answers represent some of my thoughts on the future of reference service. I hope they’re of interest, and that you’ll share your thoughts as well in the comments.

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WSL Updates for August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 Posted in For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates | No Comments »


Volume 6, August 12, 2010 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) ASK-WA LAUNCHES SMART PHONE APP

2) FULL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR DENVER LIBRARY CONFERENCE

3) TRANSFORMING LIFE AFTER 50

4) ACTIVATE YOUR LYRASIS MEMBERSHIP NOW

5) FALL BOOK BUZZ 2010

6) FREE FUNDRAISING E-BOOK

7) FREE ONLINE CE EVENTS NEXT WEEK

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Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Dec 2009

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | 2 Comments »


Ask-WA Statistics – December, 2009

December Survey Comments WordcloudDecember tends to be a slower month for Ask-WA, mainly because academic traffic drops off so sharply during the holiday breaks. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 3319
  • Chat sessions requested: 3474
  • Chat sessions accepted: 2883
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 791 (22.8%)

On a positive note, our answering percentage rose from its dangerously low 74% last month up to 83% in December, which is ideal. The best part is that this higher ratio is due to every cooperative maintaining a good ratio in December (as opposed to one group doing super-well and raising the rest up). Qwidget requests, as a percentage, rose from November to come back up to their average 20-25% level.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout December. Some great words this month include: amazing, awesome, prompt, kind, helpful, useful, and wonderful.

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Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Nov 2009

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | No Comments »


Ask-WA Statistics – November, 2009

November Survey Comments Wordcloud Ask-WA slowed down a bit in November compared to October, but since we were super-extra busy in October, that isn’t saying too much. November numbers were still well ahead of September, August, and July numbers, especially in terms of chat sessions requested. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 3743
  • Chat sessions requested: 4912
  • Chat sessions accepted: 3645
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 965 (19.6%)

As a cooperative we maintained an answering percentage of 74% for the month, which is down significantly from previous months, and falls just below our goal percentage of 75%. This is due to some drag in the public cooperative, but I’m sure we can dust ourselves off and bring the numbers back up! Chat continues to dominate email, though both services remain well-used. Qwidget traffic dropped this month to just under 20%, down from a fairly consistent 25% in previous months.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout November. Some great words this month include: wonderful, excellent, fast, quick, great, impressed, and love.

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Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Oct 2009

Monday, November 16th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | No Comments »


October Survey Comments Wordcloud Ask-WA Statistics – October, 2009

Ask-WA picked up significantly in October, beating September and August in every category. Except Qwidget requests, which remained about even, percentage-wise. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 4287
  • Chat sessions requested: 5303
  • Chat sessions accepted: 4343
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 1282 (24.2%)

As a cooperative we maintained an answering percentage of 81.9% for the month, which is down nearly 5% from September (probably because of the increased traffic), but remains well over the goal rate of 75%. Keep up the good work! The email aspect of the service continues to enjoy plenty of traffic, though the chat service blossomed this month and beat email by over 1,000 questions. Qwidget traffic remains consistent at around 1/4th of the total chat traffic.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout October. The larger the word, the more it was used, so it’s nice to be able to easily pick out (because of their size), words like: great, helpful, wonderful, excellent, useful, impressed, nice, easy, and love.

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Ask-WA Goes Primetime

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, For the Public, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


image Ask-WA had its television debut last Friday night on Komo News! All the video they took was from the UW, but they covered the service well, and in a very good light, and mentioned all the key points. Check it out!

If you’re not in the know, Ask-WA is a statewide cooperative of libraries – academics, publics, and specials – offering 24/7 virtual reference service to all the residents of Washington State. If you want to give it a try, go to the Ask-WA website at http://ask.wa.gov.

Check out the text of the story and more on the KomoNews.com website.

Ask-WA(tch): Stats, Kudos and Comments for Sept 2009

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries | No Comments »


Ask-WA Statistics – September, 2009

September Survey Comments WordcloudAsk-WA maintained a busy service during the month of September, and chat picked up slightly over August as schools came back into session. In numbers:

  • Email questions received: 3707
  • Chat sessions requested: 3457
  • Chat sessions accepted: 2993
  • Qwidget requests (% of total): 848 (24.5%)

As a cooperative we maintained an answering percentage of 86.6% for the month, which is a good 2% over last month, and remains well over the goal rate of 75%. Keep up the good work! The email aspect of the service remains robust, and continues to outpace chat ever-so-slightly. Qwidget traffic remains around 1/4th of the total chat traffic.

The word cloud highlights some of the most-used words left in survey comments throughout September.

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Ref22: Using Screencasts in Virtual Reference

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Training and Continuing Education | No Comments »


Ref22 Word Cloud What: Ref22: “Using Screencasts in Virtual Reference”
When: Tuesday, October 13th, 8:30 – 9:30 am PST
Where: Wimba WA_TrainingRoom1

Tuesday, October 13th, we will host our very first webinar in what will be a monthly series called Ref22 (it’s “22” because it’s the 2nd Tuesday of every month). Ref22 is meant for reference and virtual reference librarians in particular, and will cover a variety of interesting and practical topics.

This month we are happy to feature Lauren Ray, Educational Outreach Services Librarian at the University of Washington Libraries, who will present on “Using Screencasts in Virtual Reference”.

The webinar will begin at 8:30am, and will last approximately one hour (including time for questions). It will take place via Wimba, and an archived version will be available if you can’t make the live session.

Instructions for Wimba are here: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/library/libraries/training/wimba.aspx.

If you have speakers or topics you’d like covered in future sessions, please get in touch. In the meantime, hope to see you there!

Join Ask-WA for Free in 2010

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 Posted in Articles, For Libraries, Technology and Resources | No Comments »


AskWa_WSVRC Dear libraries of Washington State,

Are your users on the internet? I’m willing to bet that a lot of them are.

Do they use chat software to communicate? IM tools like ICQ and AIM have been around since 1996/1997 (respectively), and companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! all provide IM services. Chat and IM aren’t new, and lots of people use them to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues.

Chat and email are probably the two most-used methods for online communication.

So, can your users employ these methods to contact your library? To ask you questions? To tap into your expertise?

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