Reference Services Roundup: 2013 in Review
2013 started out on a high note with Reference receiving the prestigious Westword "Best Of" Award for Best Homework Help Concierge Service "Designed for middle-school, high-school or adult students, the Denver Public Library's one-on-one aid is the way to go when you can no longer fake it with quick Google or Wikipedia searches." Our student appointments team saw a 52.6% increase over 2012 through our assistance to students from community colleges, local universities, trade schools, public schools, and National History Day participants.
In July, we switched our virtual chat reference service from Ask Colorado to Ask Us, and our customers now have a wait time averaging less than a minute, with questions ranging from how to download an eBook to a Nook to help finding authoritative sources for a term paper. The yearly total was nearly 6000 chat reference sessions.
Reference's popular BizBoost service had a 25% increase in number of appointments in 2013, as we strive to help ambitious entrepreneurs find the data they need to start or expand a business, or write a business plan. In addition, librarian Dixie Malone won the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's 2013 David E. Bailey Award for Small Business Advocate of the Year for her work with BizBoost.
We had a 65% increase in appointments with customers seeking patent/trademark assistance - maybe because of the announcement of the new USPTO satellite office, scheduled to open later in the year, or possibly due to our PubWEST database, the public version of the online search tool used by USPTO’s patent examiners for more advanced searching.
We had over 100 Non-profit professionals visit the Non-Profit Resource Center, seeking information on potential funders, starting a 501(c)3 organization or grant proposal writing.
Finally, we answered 2,495 email reference questions.
Here are some highlights from our 2013 blog posts: