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LibAnswers Best Practices and Training: Get Started

This guide gives Library staff information on using LibAnswers to provide reference and circulation service to library patrons. The guide includes information on best practices for providing service to patrons virtually through the LibAnswers Dashboard an

About This Guide

This guide gives Library staff information on using LibAnswers to provide reference and circulation service to library patrons. The guide includes information on best practices for providing service to patrons virtually through the LibAnswers Dashboard and LibChat, including instructions on how to enter transactions into RefAnalytics.   

Department Responsibilities

In LibAnswers questions can come in to the AskUs system (displayed as The System), direct email to AskUs (The System), text message (SMS), and chat (Chat).

Questions are answered by staff with specialized training.

  • Chat questions: answered by the Chat Group. Chat staff do not pick up questions in the Dashboard.
  • Email and text questions: answered by the Email Reference Group and LibCircReply.
  • Circulation questions in the Dashboard: answered by Circulation staff.
  • Reference questions in the Dashboard: answered by ISR staff or Cataloguing associates.

Grey area questions that 'ride the line' between ISR and Circulation.

  • Some questions could be answered by either Circulation or ISR staff. For example, questions about RACER, where Circulation staff answer questions about general find and use of RACER, and ISR staff answer question on detailed searching in RACER.


Identify Patron Status and Handle Questions Accordingly

Primary patrons: University of Waterloo faculty, students, and staff.

  • Respond to questions in a similar manner to dealing with questions at the help desks. Refer questions as appropriate.

Secondary patrons: University of Waterloo alumni and community members.

  • Respond to questions and refer as appropriate. Depending on the question, you may have to refer the patron to other libraries, university departments, or a public library.

Others: Persons from outside the greater city area.

  • Try to provide some help or links using your judgement.
  • Use your discretion in helping non-University of Waterloo patrons.