Summer 2022
AskAway Gets Lift with One-Time Funding
$60,000 in funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has been granted to AskAway and WriteAway. These funds support service participants as they adjust to increased student usage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As participating libraries return to pre-pandemic staffing commitments, this bridge funding will ensure AskAway staffing stays in stride with usage.

Thank you to the Ministry for providing this much-needed funding, which recognizes the value of our continued collaboration. Additional thanks go out to all AskAway participants who have stepped up to volunteer hours, answered those swamped calls, and continue to provide excellent service to students!
New and Refreshed Tools
Redesigned Service Provider Training
Icon of a computer screen with an open training manual and a cursor pointing to the manual.
New service providers can now complete a portion of the AskAway training online, at their own pace. A new flexible and accessible asynchronous Canvas training module offers trainees an overview of the collaborative service and chat reference best practices. In the live training session, trainees can then take a deep dive into the collaborative staffing tools and gain hands-on experience answering practice questions with AskAway colleagues.

Live training sessions are scheduled three times a year: January, May, and September. For those unable to attend, self-guided training is available year-round.
Three New Chat Tags
Icon of a chat transcript with two tags in the lower right corner.
Service providers have three new tags to choose from when categorizing chat sessions:
  • Copyright,
  • Course Reserves, and
  • Open Education.

Members of the AskAway community saw the need to add these tags so that the service and libraries can better understand student trends in these areas.

Read more on the AskAway blog.
Self-Serve Statistics and Session Data
Icon of a hand pointing to a mobile device with statistics on the screen.
Local coordinators can now customize the data they would like to view and download for their institution via self-serve statistics. By logging into the LibraryH3lp dashboard, libraries can retrieve data that is focused on the factors and timelines that best suit their needs. For example, your library can run usage reports within almost any date range, such as a term or a year. Or, you can conduct an advanced search of chat session data, for example limiting by tag and timeline, and then export your results.

Rolling Out Proactive Chat
Friendly and Effective Service
Icon of two chat bubbles, one with a smiling face.
"They were truly helpful, educated, and inspiring. Offered great suggestions and most importantly offered guidance on how to efficiently find resources." Camosun College student

"Thank you for having fun with me learning something new." North Island College student

"The person who assisted me was quick and helpful and provided the information I needed." Yukon University student

"I was offered a helpful perspective to re-evaluate my online search :)" Simon Fraser University student

"I loved how quick the service provider responded to me and how concise and accurate their information was." University of British Columbia graduate student

"The AskAway staff are always very speedy and helpful! Thank you for this wonderful service!" Northern Lights College faculty or staff
Student Spotlight
Sydney Brogden
BC ELN regularly welcomes students from the UBC iSchool and Langara College's Library & Information Technology Program to work with us. This summer and fall, Sydney Brogden, iSchool student, will be staffing AskAway and providing support to the AskAway Administrative Centre. Welcome Sydney!
Photograph of Sydney Brogden standing underneath a cherry tree and smiling.
What are you working on at BC ELN?
My time with BC ELN has been dedicated to AskAway. Whether I’m staffing the service or providing support in the Admin Centre, it’s great to be involved with this branch of BC ELN. Staffing AskAway is a rewarding experience, especially when providing research guidance to those who are new to the joys of conducting research through their library. My contributions with the Admin Centre include refreshing documentation, updates to the AskAway website, and compiling data from the service evaluation tools.

How has your time at BC ELN helped to inform your career aspirations?
My time at BC ELN has broadened my understanding of what ‘counts’ as library work and demonstrated the wide range of necessary roles. It is inspiring to witness the collaboration and leadership of the BC ELN team as the surprisingly large range of tools and services are developed, supported, and maintained. This work has drawn me in to a greater appreciation for the teamwork and service mindset.

What is one surprising thing you've learned about AskAway?
One thing I was pleasantly surprised to learn about was the cooperative nature of relations between different library consortia, from service development to conference planning. It’s encouraging to know that best practices are shared and compared across differing environments by librarians in similar roles.

Tell us something interesting about yourself...
During my time at the iSchool I’ve had the chance to take on some fascinating projects through coursework. My favourite project to date has been the digitization of the Sointula Scuttlebutt – a newsletter created by high school students at Malcolm Island Superior High School in the mid 20th century. The newsletter presented interesting challenges. The physical state of the pages led to many, many hours of work to enhance visual clarity. The content of the newsletters was a product of its time, which was communicated in the humour. Overall, the experience was a great motivator to reflect on the time and effort digitization requires and a great way to witness how values, humour, and community interactions change over time. For anyone interested, the collection is available for viewing in both ContentDM and Arca.
2021 AskAway Actions & Achievements
Cover of the AskAway Actions and Achievements Report.
AskAway's annual report provides a summary of AskAway's collaborative activities and accomplishments over the year. The report also includes a financial summary and a look ahead.

Read the report and share!

AskAway is a service of the BC Electronic Library Network.
Questions? Contact the AskAway Administrative Centre.