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AskAway Library Commitment Models

The AskAway Advisory Committee has endorsed the following cost-sharing and collaborative staffing commitment models to support the AskAway chat reference service. These commitment models enable BC post-secondary libraries to provide 73 hours of AskAway service per week.

These models are based on funded FTEs. BC ELN uses funded FTEs for all its FTE models, and these numbers are obtained from the budget letters released annually by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. See below for your institution's current AskAway FTE Tier.

In accordance with the models, each participating library contributes the following:

  • Base service support fees,
  • Base staffing commitments, and
  • Flexible service support contributions.

In addition to these commitments, some participating libraries contribute staffing hours to the collaborative schedule on a volunteer basis.

Base Service Support Fees

Participating libraries contribute a service support fee to help cover infrastructure and operational costs. Service support fees include an annual inflationary increase of 2% to 5%. The amount of this increase is set each year by the Advisory Committee. This increase applies only to the base service support fee, which is capped at $10,000.

April 2024 to March 2025

Tier FTE Range Base service support fee, per library
1 0 - 2,999 $1,093.00
2 3,000 - 7,999 $1,813.00
3 8,000 - 14,999 $2,536.00
4 15,000 - 24,999 $5,792.00
5 25,000 + $10,000.00

Base Staffing Commitments

Participating libraries provide appropriate staffing as set out in the current base staffing commitment model below. These commitments are contributed in staffing hours and not in funds. Actively staffing AskAway keeps the service healthy by ensuring a truly collaborative schedule and maintaining community among participating library staff. It is up to institutions how they will hire staff to meet their commitment, but the expectation is that service providers meet AskAway Competencies as laid out in the Service Guidelines.

Base Staffing Commitment Model (weekly staff hours per library)

For scheduling purposes, the year is divided up into four sections.

Tier FTE Range Section 1 (Sep-Dec) Section 2 (Jan-Apr) Section 3 (May-Jun) Section 4 (Jul-Aug)
1 0 - 2,999 3 3 2 0
2 3,000 - 7,999 5 5 3 2
3 8,000 - 14,999 7 7 5 5
4 15,000 - 24,999 16 16 14 14
5 25,000 + 34 34 30 34

Flexible Service Support Contributions

Flexible service support contributions were instituted in 2014, on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee with the agreement of all participating libraries, to manage the transition to a fully member-supported service. Flexible support contributions are a permanent part of each institution's AskAway commitment.

Flexible support contributions may be made in one of the following ways:

  • by contributing funds,
  • by contributing additional evening or weekend staffing (i.e. in addition to base staffing commitments), or
  • by contributing a combination of funds and additional evening or weekend staffing.

Each additional evening (weekdays after 5pm PT) or weekend (Saturday or Sunday) hour contributed in any section reduces an institution's flexible support contribution by $250. For example, if a Tier 2 institution contributes two weekend hours in addition to their Base staffing commitments in Section 1 (Sep-Dec), this reduces their Flexible support contribution by $500 for a total of $935.

Institutions may handle the allocation of hours and funds differently from year to year. At the beginning of each year, the Admin Centre sends a message to all participating libraries to ask how they want to allocate their flexible support contributions for the coming year.

April 2024 to March 2025

Tier FTE Range Flexible support contribution, per library
(each additional evening or weekend hour reduces fee by $250)
1 0 - 2,999 $865.00
2 3,000 - 7,999 $1,435.00
3 8,000 - 14,999 $2,010.00
4 15,000 - 24,999 $4,595.00
5 25,000 + $4,975.00

Volunteer Contributions

In addition to Base Staffing Commitments and Flexible Service Support Contributions, participating libraries contribute staffing hours to the collaborative schedule on a volunteer basis. Several institutions contribute volunteer hours on an on-going basis and others contribute as needed, for example, for one summer term only. Each hour that an institution can volunteer helps other service providers on that shift, keeps the schedule truly collaborative, and keeps costs down for the service.


Tier 1

Alexander College
Coast Mountain College
College of the Rockies
Columbia College
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Justice Institute of BC
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
North Island College
Northern Lights College
Selkirk College
Yukon University

Tier 2

Camosun College
Capilano University
College of New Caledonia
Langara College
Okanagan College
Trinity Western University
University of Northern British Columbia
University of the Fraser Valley
Vancouver Community College

Tier 3

British Columbia Institute of Technology
Douglas College
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Thompson Rivers University
University Canada West

Tier 4

Simon Fraser University
University of Victoria

Tier 5

University of British Columbia