Network Speeds- Tips

One aspect of a regional service, with AskAwayers assisting patrons from all over BC and from Yukon, is that there are small technical differences between libraries which lead to varying network speeds.  There are also differences that may vary day-to-day, and affect some institutions sometimes and not other times. Due to differing speeds, it’s not  unusual for one service provider to be made aware of a patron before another service provider.  Here are a few tips, for AskAwayers who suspect they have network speeds at the higher or lower end of the spectrum, and for others who work with them.

If you notice you’re picking up calls more frequently than others, you may have a higher network speed, and may become aware of the patron several seconds before other AskAwayers. It can be difficult to hold back when you know there is a patron waiting for assistance, but it’s quite possible that holding back could help to provide a better AskAway experience; take the time to check which institution the patron is from, it may be the same as one of your AskAway colleagues. Though all service providers can often help all patrons, a librarian from the same institution as the patron may be able to offer some local knowledge.

If you notice you are unable to pick up calls because they have been claimed before you had the opportunity to pick them up, it’s likely that you have a slightly slower network speed. Even a small lag can make a big difference when hearing calls come in. In this situation, it works to use Campfire to let other AskAwayers know that you suspect their network speed is faster than yours, and ask them to hold back a moment to let you pick up calls.

Transferring calls is always an option as well; if you are missing calls due to slow network speeds, you can use Campfire to let your colleagues know that they can transfer a call to you. Conversely, if you are juggling a few calls and believe you may have been a little quick to pick up the last one, don’t be shy to ask another service provider if they would mind accepting a transfer.

BC ELN AskAway librarian Myfanwy Postgate compiled a great list of tips last year, many relevant to this situation:

  1. Hold-back a moment! When a new question appears check the institution it’s from and hold back a few seconds for the patron’s institutional librarian to pick-up… if one is available.
  2. Read the question! Take a moment to hover over and read the new question before picking up – this will give every librarian a moment to check it out.
  3. Transfer if needed. If they’re currently occupied or haven’t picked up within 30-60 seconds then go ahead and grab the question. You can always transfer it at the patron or librarian’s request.

If you’re interested, feel free to take a (second) look the full 10 Tips for Picking Up Patrons

Cheers! Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


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