Event Title

Three Library Chat Vendors in as Many Years: "Going the Distance" to Find the Right Fit

Session Format

Presentation

Conference Tracks

Library Instruction and Instruction Design; Outreach, Services, and Programs

Start Date

2020 12:00 AM

Short Description

This presentation will help librarians integrate library chat services into assignments and scale chat services for online programs. We will share some of the unexpected consequences we experienced from implementing a required chat assignment and walk you through designing measurable learning objectives to foster student use of library supports. Our goal is to help other libraries reflect on their library chat service needs and learn best practices for collaborating with their vendors for optimal student experience by leveraging our unique and valuable experience working with three different library chat providers in three years.

Long Description

This presentation guides librarians through the process of selecting a vendor to provide library chat services and embedding those services as part of a graded assignment. We serve an online, for-profit educational institution, and believe our experience in switching library chat vendors can be valuable to anyone that is trying to scale their library services for online programs. Our story marries two of the main tracks of this conference- instruction and outreach. While we had a successful library chat program in place for some years, integrating this service into high enrollment, general education courses, profoundly changed what we needed from a chat vendor.

Previous success with requiring writing center services in courses piqued library interest in working with faculty to develop a similar assignment requiring library reference intervention through 24/7 chat. The goal of this assignment was to destigmatize support services, orient students to a valuable tool, and increase usage. To achieve these affective, behavioral goals, we designed measurable learning assessments that translated our goals into learning objectives. Throughout the design and deployment, we encountered several issues that helped inform our current library chat needs. Some of these issues were so critical that we had to seek out new vendor options. Our search resulted in the unique and valuable experience of working with three different vendors in less than three years.

By sharing the issues we identified and our steps to overcome them, we hope this presentation will help other libraries be aware of the practical concerns of integrating library chat so they can make the right choice in vendor for their needs. In addition to assisting others in identifying their library chat needs in order to select the right chat partner, we’ll offer guidance on how to collaborate with vendors to create an optimal partnership to serve students.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify practical knowledge and tips about the challenges and opportunities of switching chat vendors

  • Determine your library's chat needs

  • Identify best practices for collaborating with the vendor to create the optimal partnership to serve your students

  • Demonstrate how to design a successful library chat assignment for online asynchronous students

  • Explain the benefit of embedding chat services in first-year courses as a library outreach mechanism

Comments

This presentation will be authored by four librarians, but we will be selecting one or two as presenters for the conference.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Three Library Chat Vendors in as Many Years: "Going the Distance" to Find the Right Fit

This presentation will help librarians integrate library chat services into assignments and scale chat services for online programs. We will share some of the unexpected consequences we experienced from implementing a required chat assignment and walk you through designing measurable learning objectives to foster student use of library supports. Our goal is to help other libraries reflect on their library chat service needs and learn best practices for collaborating with their vendors for optimal student experience by leveraging our unique and valuable experience working with three different library chat providers in three years.