Management Council – December 17, 2009


Present: Rob Banks, Marie Pyko, Stephen Lusk, Donna Tryon, Stephanie Hall, David King, Paul Brennan, Susan Marchant, Brad Allen, Thad Hartman, Michael Perkins, LeAnn Sevy, Ruth Rodden, Nancy Overmyer & Cathy Cook (recording secretary)


Absent:  Gina Millsap, Nancy Watkins, Jim McHenry, Diana Friend, Greg Gaul, John Kugler, Sherry Best, Ann Newell & Ivan Johnson


Library-Wide IM Service Demo

Brad Allen


A brief history of live chat reference services @ TSCPL-handout:

We want our customers to have the same great user experience with our Digital Branch that they do in our building and on our bookmobiles. One way we can (and have been) accomplishing this is having a live chat help system available to online customers. When our online customers hit a stumbling block, or just have a question in general, they can chat online with our staff.

Our library made its initial foray into live chat reference services in June 2007. Our numbers have been slowly building since then. We began live chat using a Meebo widget. Seeing the limitations of Meebo, we began researching better solutions and switched to Library H3lp in February 2008. Currently, staff in Adult Services does the vast majority of the monitoring of our live chat service. We currently have the following service points online and able to handle live chat: the media desk, reference desk, telephone reference, The Edge, and the Topeka Room. Also, Adult Services staff monitors our chat service from their desk computers during off-desk time.

As mentioned above, our library currently uses Library H3lp for our live chat service. We have an ‘asktscpl’ queue that multiple operators can monitor simultaneously. When a question comes in through one of our chat widgets out on the Internet, the question is forwarded to all online operators. Once someone responds to the chat, the question is offline to the rest of the operators. Not only can we have multiple people monitoring our chat service, Library H3lp also allows us to transfer chats throughout the library. (Something we haven’t used much to this point.) We use the open-source chat client Pidgin to monitor Library H3lp.

We also have an ‘asktscpl’ account with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and MSN Messenger chat services. Customers can add us as a contact if they have an account with any of these providers. All of these instant messaging services connect to Library H3lp via a gateway so all of our chat services are completely integrated. This month, we launched our ‘Text a Librarian’ service. It runs through a Library H3lp gateway as well. (You can text the library at (785) 274-9494.)

It would be a great service to our customers if we expanded our live chat service more broadly throughout the organization. Circulation questions could be handled by someone in Circulation. Red Carpet questions by Red Carpet staff. Local history inquiries by the Topeka Room staff and so on. It is easy to set up Library H3lp accounts for staff and to install the free Pidgin software on our computers. The biggest challenge would be each department figuring out how best to keep operators online to answer questions. We would be better able to have the best person give customers the best answers to their questions—and do it in real time.


·         “Ask Now” button is on the front page of TSCPL’s public web page

·         Type in your question and you can chat live

·         Text a librarian launched this month

·         A fourth or maybe even a third of reference questions are being asked at “ask now”

·         100 chats a month have now increased to over 300 a month

·         Do we want to pilot this or expand library-wide?

·         This is a great tool for online chat clients

·         Do we want to pilot and set up accounts for Red Carpet, Special Collections, managers & supervisors?


Rob Banks

·         Consensus is to move forward with setting up accounts for Red Carpet, Special Collections, managers & supervisors for the live chat reference services

·         Brad Allen will send out instructions about library help accounts


Technology Plan

David King

·         Gina & David will present the Technology Plan at the board meeting today

·         Will share cost concerns & plan to cover the cost


Strategic Work Plans-review/changes


·         Marie will send Cathy the names of the librarians that need to be added to the strategic work plans


Nancy Overmyer

·         TSCPL did not receive the grant that was submitted under project: Working with partners to develop the tool kit for life (focused on financial education) index number: 2.4.1


Marie Pyko

·         Page 9 of internal goals index number 2.9.6 needs to be marked complete


Marie Pyko

·         A big thanks to Kari Zimmerman & all the volunteers that helped customers with the new reserve system

·         Press Release will be going out about mailings

·         Need feedback if there is confusion about online version saying holds, instead of mail it



Stephanie Hall

·         Point of sale in Red Carpet went well yesterday


Rob Banks

·         First day of closing with point of sale went well


Thad Hartman

·         Shifted the non-fiction DVD’s into the collection

·         On Friday will be moving the audio books to the shelves where the DVD’s were located


Rob Banks

·         What do we do with public comments on blog not related to a category?

·         David suggested we could answer the question or let them know someone will email them the answer, if we have their email address


Michael Perkins

·         A map of the neighborhoods will be posted in the catalog



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