After-Hours Service, Widgets and More

Posted on behalf of Kris Johnson:

Happy Spring. A few new things have been happening at AskColorado/AskAcademic since the start of the year that I thought library folks might be interested in hearing about:

1.       Our after-hours service is growing: Last February I started our own after-hours service, hiring librarians in the metro area to staff the service evenings, nights, and weekends. We started with a crew of nine librarians, and have grown to a current staff of fifteen. We *may* have some openings for part-time librarians coming-up. What we’re looking for are people with lots of reference experience, people who provide excellent customer service (no matter what!) and people with prior chat experience (preferably via AskColorado/AskAcademic.) If you’re interested, send me an e-mail (contact details below.)

2.       We have a client –  In an effort to create additional revenue streams for the organization, we have started a partnership that is moving us in that direction. In January, our AskAcademic and After-Hours librarians have been answering questions for our first client: Jones International University (JIU). JIU is based out of Centennial, CO, and has online students across the U.S. enrolled in bachelors, masters, and PhD degree programs. Our librarians field all of their chat reference questions, then refer them onto JIU specialists if needed. This is a pilot project and we hope to be able to take on similar clients in the future.

3.       Our member libraries now have access to a widget! Launched within the past few weeks, but in the works for several months, AskColorado and AskAcademic member libraries now have a Meebo-like widget. The widget acts as an entry-point that gets our customers connected a wee bit quicker to a librarian than going though the usual entry points ( A couple of libraries have implemented the widgets already, including Denver Public Library (go to and click on ASK US in the right-hand column) and Red Rocks Community College ( – look in the right-hand column.) Special thanks go out to our NRS programmer, Steve Gregory, for his expertise in programming these widgets for us. Great job Steve!

Please let me know if you have any questions about these new initiatives, or anything else related to AskColorado or its partner queue, AskAcademic.

Kris Johnson, Coordinator
Colorado State Library

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