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LibAnswers/Chat Best Practices


This guide will provide you with CSUSM Library-specific workflows and tips for monitoring LibAnswers and LibChat. 

Go to 
Ask Springshare for their robust instructions, screen captures, and live and recorded training(s) on how to use this product in general.


The hierarchy of how the different programs work within Springshare.

LibAnswers is a full-featured online reference platform made by the company Springshare. Key features include:

  • Question management (tickets) through multiple channels, including an online question form, dedicated email address, SMS, Facebook, and Twitter

  • Online chat reference (LibChat) with 24/7 Co-Op membership available

  • A searchable knowledge base of FAQs by group and topic

  • Reference analytics to track in-person or phone transactions

LibAnswers: Common Terms and Features

Ticket: When a question is sent to a queue, it becomes a ticket. It has a time stamp and an ID number and other metadata.

Queue: Think of this like an inbox of questions. People are assigned to specific queues.  In our library we have two queues, RHD and User Services.  The software view can be set up for you so that you only see your own queue. See instructions for setting up the queue.  

FAQ: A collection of questions with their answers that can be shared publicly. Organized into groups.

Claim a ticket: If you click on a question this means you 'claimed' the question and will add your name to the ticket.  if you mistakenly did this you can unclaim it.

Preview a ticket: You can look at a ticket without 'claiming' it by using the eyeball icon next to a question preview icon. Best practice is to do this first so you can decide if you want to claim it.

Create a Reply tab: Sends a reply to the original 'questioner' in whichever form it was asked (SMS or email). If the questioner responds back, you will then receive a message in Outlook as well as on the LibAnswers interface.  You can reply to a question using Outlook but it is preferred to use the LibAnswers interface to respond to tickets.

Users and Patrons: In the Dashboard, there is a column called "Last Message From" that shows who sent the most recent message on the ticket. User means users of LibAnswers or Library employees. Patron means our users or people asking the questions.

​Internal Note tabUSE WITH CAUTION! Though Internal notes don't appear in patron's email when replying from LibAnswers system, they DO appear in patron's email when replying from Outlook!  In other words, don't put anything in Internal Notes that you wouldn't want your patron to see.

Assign/Transfer Tab: Assign/transfer tickets to LibAnswers users or queues.  You might want this if transferring to a Subject Specialist or to a different department entirely.

CC Answer to: Add relevant email addresses/shared mailboxes.  It can be used as an FYI.

Analytics: When closing a ticket, select appropriate queue to record analytics

Tags: Tags are short phrases or keywords that describe a ticket. This is optional so add them if you want but otherwise you can leave it blank.

FAQ groups: FAQs are collections of questions and answers that we have created.  When you are answering a question in LibAnswers you can Reuse an FAQ. 

Submission options when you 'take action' on a ticket: When you 'submit' your response by 'creating a reply', sending an 'internal note' or assigning a ticket to someone else, you must choose a ticket status. A ticket's status also displays on the Dashboard. Below are the definitions of each status.

  • New: ticket has not been replied to
  • Open: you need to get back to the patron
  • Pending: waiting for patron to get back to you
  • Closed: no further interaction expected but if a patron responds it will reopen the ticket.

Credit to Carnegie Mellon University for their detailed explanation.