Become a Partner Library

About partnerships

Answerland relies on partner libraries working together to provide service. While all Oregon libraries are welcome to connect their library to Answerland, partner libraries reap additional benefits in return for their contributions to the service.

There are two types of partnership:

  • Full Partners: Staff participate in the live chat service, and help answer general reference questions.
  • Referral Partners: Staff respond to questions sent to them via email, and help answer general reference questions.

Why become a Full Partner Library?

Enhance Your Library’s Reference Service

  • Expanded reference service beyond the limitations of library building hours and traditional hours of service.
  • Risk avoidance: in the event of a disaster, access to reference service is continued even if local service is compromised.
  • Librarians can enhance their skills through training and by participating in a collaborative environment that facilitates sharing of expertise, virtual reference trends, and best practices.

Get Access to the Software

In return for staffing the statewide chat service, your library is able to use the Answerland chat software tools for free to help your patrons. Full partners get:

  • A QuestionPoint subscription.
  • A unique patron entry point identifying users as yours.
  • Training on the service and software.
  • Technical assistance on the software.
  • Detailed usage statistics based upon entry point usage.
  • 24/7 backup from the QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative.*
* QuestionPoint’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative provides around-the-clock reference service, built by a cooperative of participating libraries that agree to answer questions for each other. The Cooperative helps supplement hours of service by being available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Save Time and Money

  • Cost-savings in staff time: shared staffing means each library staffs only a few hours per week in return for 24/7/365 reference service.
  • Cost-savings through group purchase of software and marketing materials.
  • Many hours of staff time saved by eliminating the need for each library to schedule, train, market, and coordinate their own virtual reference service. The State Library provides administrative coordination of the service; promotional materials; training; a website to facilitate communication and provide support; and a listserv for communications.

What does a Full Partner Library have to do?

Appoint a project liaison to facilitate communication between the Answerland service and the library. Duties of the liaison include, but are not limited to:

  • Joining and participating in the Answerland email discussion list.
  • Identifying staff to provide service and having them participate in necessary training.
  • Coordinating staff scheduling at the local level.
  • Coordinating the library’s schedule with the Answerland coordinator.
  • Maintaining currency of the library’s software account (profile, policy page, librarian accounts,  etc.).
  • Reporting local needs to the Answerland Coordinator.

Provide statewide reference service. This includes:

  • Staffing the statewide chat queue on a regular basis. The number of hours contributed will be negotiated between the liaison and Answerland Coordinator, taking into account the library’s staff availability and institution size; the minimum is two hours per week. Alternative contributions are possible if needed.
  • Responding to questions from your library’s patrons in a timely manner.
  • Helping to answer general reference questions.
  • Contributing to QuestionPoint’s 24/7 Cooperative by staffing either the public or academic queue at least 2 hours per week.** This can be staffed at the same time as the statewide queue.
  • Helping to cover unfilled shifts.
**  As part of the 24/7 Reference Cooperative, Answerland is required to spend at least 40 hours per week to answering chat questions from the Cooperative queues. We must also adhere to the 24/7 Reference Cooperative Policies; follow the 24/7 Best Practices; check-in and check-out of chat shifts, so the Cooperative can log our contribution; and keep policy pages up-to-date.

Assist with promotion and assessment of Answerland by:

  • Making the service visible on the library’s website. This may be accomplished by posting the Answerland logo and providing a link to the service. If the library’s branding is required for local virtual reference service, there must at least be written acknowledgement that the service is provided in partnership with Answerland.
  • Including a link in chat and email messages to the statewide survey.
  • Providing input and feedback to continually improve the Answerland service.

Why become a Referral Partner Library?

  • Enhance your librarians’ skills by participating in a collaborative environment that facilitates sharing of expertise, virtual reference trends, and best practices.
  • Help serve the citizens of Oregon by contributing subject matter expertise for questions that need more specialized information.
  • Communicate directly with reference librarians statewide via the email discussion list.

What does a Referral Partner Library have to do?

Appoint a project liaison to facilitate communication between the Answerland service and the library. Duties of the liaison include, but are not limited to:

  • Joining and participating in the Answerland email discussion list.
  • Identifying staff to provide service.
  • Reporting local needs to the Answerland Coordinator.

Answer reference referrals. This includes:

  • Responding to questions in a timely manner.
  • Contributing answers to general reference questions.

Assist with promotion and assessment of Answerland by:

  • Making the service visible on the library’s website. This may be accomplished by posting the Answerland logo and providing a link to the service.
  • Providing input and feedback to continually improve the Answerland service.

What steps do I take to become a Partner Library?

  1. Decide if you want to become a Full Partner Library or Referral Partner Library.
  2. If you want to become a Full Partner Library, contact the Answerland Coordinator (information below) to discuss your participation arrangement.
  3. Fill out, sign, and submit the appropriate Letter of Agreement:

Questions?

Contact the Answerland Coordinator.