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LibChat Practices and Procedures: II. Chat Settings

A guide to best practices and common procedures for LibChat.


Chat – An immediate, interactive instant messaging session with a patron. Chats originate from the “Get Help” tab on the library home page.

Ticket – A session with a patron that allows for follow-up after the patron has left the initial interaction. Tickets are created automatically when a patron submits an email, or texts a question via SMS.

Transferring a Chat – The process of handing the chat off to another operator.

Operator – An individual with a LibAnswers account. Operators can be Librarians, Library Specialists, Library Managers, Instructional Associates, Directors, and Assistant Directors.

Department – A group of Operators who work in the same TCC department like the library, writing center, learning labs, etc.

Shift Settings

  1. Begin a shift by navigating your web browser to the login page for LibApps.  The web address is:    You  may want to bookmark this page for future use.

  1. Once you are logged in, use the drop-down menu under LibApps and select LibAnswers.

  1. From the LibAnswers page, you should see the LibChat feature, with your status shown.  If you are currently “offline,” then there will be an option for you to Sign In and join LibChat.  Click Sign In to begin your session.

You have the option to change your status and availability, throughout the course of your shift on LibChat.  In the upper, left corner of the screen, you should see four different options to choose from.  It is important to keep an eye on this feature during your shift and insure that your availability is accurately reflected.

A. OFFLINE  -  You remain logged into the LibChat service, but are unavailable to receive chat requests from either patrons or staff.  Use this option if you are going to be away from your computer for an extended period of time.  Under the list of Operators, your name will have a red dot.

B. INTERNAL  -  This means that you are only available to answer and accept chat requests from other staff within your organization.  You will not see or be notified of new chat requests from patrons / customers and, to outside users, you will appear to be Offline.  Use this option if you are still working at your computer, but prefer not to answer patron questions at this time.  Under the list of Operators, your name will have a green dot.

C. ONLINE  -  This means that you are available to answer and accept chat requests from any Department that you’re assigned to.  Your status can also be seen by any other staff who are logged into LibChat, so you may receive internal chats, public chats, and ticket notifications from those departments / queues.  Under the list of Operators, your name will have a green dot.

D. AWAY  -  Use this check-box option to indicate that you are still online and generally available, but that you have stepped away from your computer for a short period of time.  Other staff will see you as “Away” but can still send you internal chats.  The service will still be available to patrons, but if you are the only one monitoring a particular chat department, then they will receive an “Away” response when they try to contact you.  Under the list of Operators, your name will have a yellow dot.  Please be sure to un-check this box, once you have returned to your computer.

When the time has come to end your shift on the LibChat virtual service desk, you will want to make certain to sign completely out of the service, so that patrons and other staff don’t see you listed as still active / online.

  1. Begin by closing out the browser tab that shows your open LibChat screen.  If you click the X to close this tab, then you may be prompted to confirm that you are closing this tab on purpose with a “Leave Site?” pop-up box.  Click the blue “Leave” button to confirm.


  1. This should return you to the LibAnswers dashboard page.  If you are not working on any other related Springshare programs that day (such as LibGuides, Statistics, Analytics, etc.),  then please be sure to Log Out completely from the website.


  1. This should bring you to the LibApps Logout screen, as shown below.  You are now free to close your browser.


Features and Statistics

Recording statistics for a chat:

  • When closing a chat, the statistics window will appear automatically. The window will give you drop-down boxes asking for more information about:
    • The question type:
      • Reference: these are questions relating to research, circulation, library functions.
      • Information: these are questions about the college or other general questions that are non-library related
      • Password help: these are questions regarding the patron’s password
      • WEPA: hopefully non one gets a WEPA question
      • Technology: these are questions relating to technology such as Blackboard, Webadvisor, or online resources.
      • Online: these questions are about any online resources that the patron needed assistance with
    • How long you chatted
    • Where you were while you talked

Recording statistics for a ticket:

  • When closing a ticket, the statistics window will not appear automatically
    • At the bottom of the ticket, above the button for closing the ticket will be ‘Add to Analytics’
    • Click the drop-down menu and select which campus’ analytics you want to add the ticket to.

One option available within LibChat is to use pre-prepared or “canned” messages during your chats with patrons / students.You may find this particularly helpful with standard messages that are a common part of any chat…such as the initial greeting, letting a patron know that you are going to refer their question to another staff member, or standard answers to any Frequently Asked Questions, etc.

The TCC LibChat already has a number of Canned Message options available, but you have the opportunity to create your own.To do this, you will want to….

1. Navigate to the LibAnswers dashboard screen and find the drop-down menu for LibChat

2. Select the option for “Canned Messages.”


3. Locate the button on the left-hand side of the screen that says “+ Add Canned Message.”


4. Type in a “Display Name” that will show on your list of message options, as well as the text of the prepared “Canned Message” that you want your patrons / students to see.  Be sure to click Save.

  • Tickets will be created and submitted by students
  • For the tickets that you need to create for yourself, you will click on ‘Answers’ at the top of the Springshare page. This is next to the ‘Dashboard’ tab.
    • Once you click ‘Answers’ it will drop down a menu asking to ‘Create’ or ‘Tickets’.
    • Click ‘Create’ and fill out the necessary information in the form that is provided.
    • Once you have finished filling out the form, click ‘Create Ticket’ at the bottom of the page
    • This ticket will then be added to the Dashboard for other librarians to view and claim.
  • As you are chatting with a patron, you will be selecting ‘Submit as Open’ for each reply. This will keep the ticket open for the patron to continue talking with us.
  • When you are finished with the ticket and the patron is satisfied with the care they received, you will select ‘Submit as Closed’ This will close the ticket and remove it from the dashboard.