Summer 2023

Summer Gratitude

Contributing Institutions:

  • Alexander College
  • Columbia College
  • Douglas College
  • Langara College
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Vancouver Community College
  • University of British Columbia

The AskAway Community and the Admin Centre would like to thank the institutions that have volunteered to take on an additional hour or two on the summer schedules. These generous contributions allow AskAway to continue to meet users at their point of need through the busy summer terms.

Thank you!

Thoughts from AskAway Users

"[W]hoever was helping me was very relational.  They answered my question in a very genuine and warm manner; despite it being an online tool the interaction was very positive and felt 'real'.  Thank you!"

-BCIT student

“I love how I was assisted today. I might not have gotten the exact help I needed, but I was given a next step to move forward.”

-KPU grad student

Shared-Shift Collaborative Scheduling

This summer, AskAway tried out a new approach to collaborative scheduling. For gaps in the summer schedule that needed coverage, partner institutions were asked to take on week-to-week coverage rather than committing to that shift for the whole term. We’ve received a flurry of feedback letting us know that this approach provides several advantages for partner institutions! Keep an eye out for future opportunities to provide week-to-week gap coverage in the AskAway scheduling process.

Libraries shared that this approach:

  • Makes it more manageable to commit to a week of coverage than the entire term 
  • Allows partner institutions to support AskAway without overwhelming Library staff with commitments 
  • Creates opportunities to contribute at the level of the individual 
  • Enables flexibility during summer months when library staff may already be managing vacation and professional development schedules 

Thanks to our partners at BCIT, Emily Carr University, Langara College, and SFU libraries for filling gaps in the schedule with this new process.

What's New?

BC ELN recently launched the BC ELN Orientation Series to help new and existing partners of the consortia learn more about the services we offer and how to get involved. The series begins with a Key Module on BC ELN and will expand to include orientations for each of the service areas, like the recently added AskAway Orientation Module. The AskAway module provides an overview of collaborative chat reference, explores who participates in and uses the service, describes governance, funding and staffing models, and more! Check out these resources, and be sure to share your feedback!

This Orientation Series provides an introduction and overview of BC ELN service areas. For upcoming training opportunities, connect with your institution's Local Coordinator!

Collaborative AskAway Research

A screenshot of a research article titled 'Chat Transcripts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Chats from the AskAway Consortia'

Recently, a collaborative team of researchers from the AskAway community came together to publish the paper Chat Transcripts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Chats from the AskAway Consortiain the University of Alberta journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. The team was led by Barbara Sobol at UBC’s Okanagan Campus with representation from across the AskAway Community. Their key findings demonstrate that the content of questions asked via AskAway did not change significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the increased levels of traffic and increased demand for online learning supports. The researchers conclude that while the service faced increased demand related to closure of physical spaces, AskAway helped academic libraries remain well situated to support their patrons during a time of great uncertainty.

What's Next?

Farewell Anita, BC ELN Executive Director

The AskAway community is celebrating BC ELN Executive Director Anita Cocchia’s retirement. From initial plans for rolling out AskAway, Anita has been there every step of the way to guide and support the AskAway community.

Best wishes and enjoy your retirement, Anita!  

AskAway participants and BC ELN Student Librarians Sydney, Sasha and Laura celebrating with Anita.

2022 AskAway Actions & Achievements

AskAway's annual report provides a summary of AskAway's collaborative activities and accomplishments over the course of the year, a financial summary, and a peek at activities and priorities for the year ahead.

Read the report and share!

View an accessible version.

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