Last week’s Quality Tip discussed using the importance of sending an IM message FIRST, as part of the transfer process. This week we’ll look in more detail at who you can transfer to, and when it’s appropriate to do so.
The general rule is when you pick up a patron, stick with him. Thanks to our Policy Pages, most questions – even local ones – can be handled by any librarian in the Cooperative. But there are times when transferring will result in better service to the patron, such as the following scenarios:
- You (the chatting librarian) suddenly have an emergency and must end the session. Rather than leave the patron in the lurch, find another librarian monitoring the Cooperative queues who is not already busy and send an IM requesting permission to transfer. If you don’t have time for that, or the Coop librarian doesn’t respond to your IM, then transfer the session to the After Hours queue. Note: Be sure a librarian is monitoring the Cooperative before transferring a Coop question! If the librarian is monitoring less than 50 queues, she probably isn’t monitoring the Cooperative (she may just be monitoring her local service).
- End of shift: generally you should try to finish the session or offer the patron the option of a follow-up from the local library. However, if the session is not at a good stopping point and you must leave, transfer to a librarian monitoring the Cooperative. Note: if you are ending your shift, chances are many of the other Coop librarians are too. Try to pick someone who is (1) monitoring the Coop queues and (2) hasn’t been logged in for long – a good indication that person has just started their shift, rather than just ending it.
- Patron does need very local information (and you can find nothing on the policy page or via a web search) and you see the local librarian online, then send that local librarian an IM message and see if they are available for transfer.
- Academic librarian with a public patron/public librarian with an academic patron: Transfer is possible to any librarian monitoring the same queues that you are. Some Coop groups do cross-sector monitoring, in other words academic librarians monitor for their state’s public queues, and vice versa. For example, an easy way for an academic librarian to see if any public librarians are available for transfer:
- Go to the Librarians Tab
- Click the Queue column header to sort by queue. This will sort all public librarians at the top and all academic libraries following
- Send an IM to the librarian you’ve selected, to get permission for the transfer.