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AskAway 2-3 Year Service Priorities and Activities

Fostering collaboration among participating institutions and service providers

Status: In Progress

Suggested Activities:

  • Highlight chat transcripts for quality assurance and to build supportive relationships in the community. For example, showcase transcripts that demonstrate excellence or areas of concern to inform training, professional development, mentoring, etc.; add a tag or exit survey for service providers to support transcript review and self-evaluation (e.g., “Were you able to help the user? Yes/No”). (Local coordinators and/or service providers, with support from the AskAway Administrative Centre).
  • Set-up a place where institutions will post high impact assignments and frequently asked questions. (Local coordinators with the Admin Centre).

Next Steps:

November 2023 (In progress): Offer learning opportunities to service providers throughout the year. Begin by identifying experts in the AskAway community who are available to offer relevant learning opportunities online, such as subject-specific training. (AskAway Admin Centre, with local coordinator and service provider contributions).

January 2024 (In progress): Raise awareness of the AskAway blog and mailing lists as forums for the community to share information and communicate with one another. (AskAway Admin Centre).

April 2025: Create a working group with the mandate of developing a sustainable and supportive program to train and mentor service providers based on AskAway chat transcripts. The working group should include service providers and local coordinators. (Local coordinators and service providers, with AskAway Admin Centre support).

Ensuring accessibility for all

Status: Planning

Suggested Acitivities:

  • Develop asynchronous training for service providers to chat with screen reader users. (Admin Centre in collaboration with volunteer service providers and potentially National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) / CAPER-BC).

Next Steps:

April 2025: Develop a project proposal for asychronous training for service providers to chat with screen reader users. (BC ELN student librarian or project librarian, with AskAway Coordinator support).

September 2025: Develop asychronous training for service providers to chat with screen reader users. (AskAway Admin Centre, in collaboration with volunteer service providers and potentially NNELS / CAPER-BC).

Leveraging technology to enhance the service

Status: In Progress

Suggested Activities:

  • Explore possibilities of screen-sharing with LibraryH3lp and other 3rd party integration. (Led by the Admin Centre).

  • Implement a queuing system for users and automate ‘swamped’ messaging to service providers when needed. (Local coordinators with the Admin Centre).

Next Steps:

June 2024: Create an AskAway Emerging Technologies Subcommittee that reports to the AskAway Advisory Committee, with the mandate to investigate and make recommendations for emerging technologies that impact the service. The Working Group will include 3-4 service providers and local coordinators from a diverse range of institutions and the AskAway Coordinator. Some of the first tasks of the Working Group might include exploring the impact of Generative AI on the service, investigating a queuing or load-balancing system for AskAway, or exploring screen-sharing. (Local coordinators and service providers, with AskAway Admin Centre support).

Maintaining or growing service levels

Status: Planning

Suggested Activities:

  • Collaboratively design a survey tool for institutions to use at their libraries to easily capture diverse perspectives from their learners, including users and non-users, in a standardized way. (Local coordinator / service provider task group for survey / focus group design; local coordinators for dissemination).

  • Advocate at the provincial level for more funding for AskAway, both for service providers and Admin Centre support. (BC ELN Executive Director and participating library directors).

Next Steps:

April 2024 (Complete): Secure bridge funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to support the service. (AskAway Executive Director).

May 2024: Review AskAway commitment models (AskAway Advisory Committee, with AskAway Admin Centre support).

April 2025: Explore removing barriers to AskAway participation for BC ELN partner libraries and First Nations-mandated institutions. (AskAway Admin Centre, with BC ELN Librarian support).

January 2026: Form a task group with the mandate to collaboratively develop a standardized, optional survey for libraries to gather feedback from both AskAway users and non-users. (Local coordinators, with AskAway Admin Centre support).