New 24/7 Reference service is about to be launched
If all goes to plan, on March 24th, the UMD Library will be offering our students, faculty, and staff extended 24/7 online reference assistance via the new Minnesota statewide cooperative know as "AskMN." (See press release below). UMD Library patrons will still access our reference librarians at any time the Reference Desk is open via our Instant Messaging Chat service. That will remain the same. However, during the hours our Reference Desk is closed, people who have need for information can use the new AskMN service.
As part of UMD's contribution to the cooperative, Sunshine Carter, Pam Enrici, and Jim Vileta will be answering AskMN questions at certain hours each week, as will librarians from the other cooperating institutions. In return, these institutions will be receiving 24/7 reference service from OCLC's QuestionPoint service via AskMN.
AskMN librarians are still receiving training from Minitex staff and we are hopeful that we can meet the March 24th start date. If not, the launch will be very close to that date.
The new service will require changes to our "AskUs" page and to the UMD Library Home page. Doreen Hansen will be providing our AskMN team web and other technical assistance.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Jim Vileta.
January 10, 2008
AskMN: Minnesota's Statewide Cooperative Virtual Reference Service
MINITEX Library Information Network, working in collaboration with eight participating libraries, is delighted to announce the creation of AskMN: The Librarian Is In, Minnesota's new statewide cooperative virtual reference service!
In December, eight academic and public libraries came together to discuss the issues involved in cooperatively creating and running a Minnesota statewide virtual reference service. It was decided to move forward with the initiative to provide quality reference service and assistance online to all Minnesota residents with the use and support from the ELM databases (elm4you.org). Initially, the service will be operated by the eight libraries: Hennepin County Library -- Suburban and Minneapolis locations; Rochester Public Library; Minnesota State University, Mankato; St. Cloud State University; Joint Libraries of the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University; College of St. Catherine; and University of Minnesota, Duluth, as well as MINITEX Reference Services, with plans to extend participation to many more interested libraries in the near future.
The service will use OCLC's QuestionPoint virtual reference management software, which is well suited to handle multiple-library and cooperatively run programs like Minnesota's. Staff members of participating libraries will work together to answer questions from residents during selected hours Monday-Saturday with backup service provided by the QuestionPoint national cooperative virtual reference program to give us 24/7 coverage for anywhere, anytime answers. The service will be launched sometime this Spring.
Submitted by Jim