FAQ content

LibChat: Chatting and screensharing with other online staff via an internal chat session

In this article

Internal chatting explained

Not only can you use the LibChat dashboard for chatting with patrons, but you can also use it for chatting with coworkers. Under the Chats tab, you'll find the Internal Chat section. Or if you would like, you can enable an Internal tab in your dashboard to keep your staff and patron chats separate.

From either area, you can:

For example, if you have a thorny reference question, you could ping the entire Reference department for help or suggestions. Users in that department who are currently online will be notified and can chime in. Similarly, you can use the All Staff chat to ask questions or post announcements to all staff members at once.

LibChat keeps the history of these internal chats, allowing you to view past activity. That way, you can catch up on anything you missed or jog your memory about a discussion from the other day. It's also possible to scrub the internal chat history if you and your staff don't want to staff chat logs indefinitely. Admins can adjust the scrub from Admin > LibChat Set-up > Settings tab > Scrub Internal Chat Messages box.

Using LibChat screensharing for internal meetings and webinars

If you've added the LibChat Screensharing & Webinars module to LibAnswers, it will not only allow you to assist patrons using interactive screensharing sessions, but you can also use it to host meetings with your colleagues -- without having to leave your desk!

  • When chatting with another operator, you can start a one-on-one screensharing session. Not only does this allow you to share your screen with the other user, but it also allows you to communicate with them over a high-quality audio connection.
  • You can even start a group screensharing session with an entire department, or even all online staff members. This is especially useful if a colleague is out of the office and wants to join in from a meeting remotely.
  • Once you've started a screensharing session, you can send invitations to other people via email, allowing external users to join your meeting rooms. This can come in handy for things like webinars, search committee interviews, presentations with colleagues from other libraries, etc.

Department chats

Each chat department has its own ongoing internal chat, allowing all members of the department to chat as a group.

  1. To chat with a department you're monitoring, click on its name in the Departments list under the Chats tab. The most recent chat history for that department will appear in the chat pane.
    1. If you see a numbered badge next to a department's name, that means you have unread messages from others in the department.
    2. To view a list of all users assigned to a department, along with their online status, click on its Members button. (Note: if your own status is Offline, members of each department will appear as offline, too.)
A department name with an unread messages badge
  1. Use the text box to write out your message.
    1. Click on the Load more history... button to view earlier messages.
    2. Use the buttons above the text box to format and send files with your message
      • Click on the B to bold the text.
      • Click on the I to italicize the text.
      • Click on the U to underline the text.
      • Click on the () button to insert a link via hyperlinked text.
        • Note: you can also copy and paste links directly into the chat window if you don't need/want to use hyperlinked text.
      • Click on the emoji (πŸ˜€) button if you'd like to insert an emoji into your message.
      • Click on the paperclip () button if you'd like to send a file to others in the department.
    3. Click the FAQs button to search for and share FAQs from within your public FAQ groups.
  2. Click the Send Message button. If users are signed in and have notifications enabled, they'll be notified of the new chat. Regardless, users will see a badge indicating the number of unread messages next to the department name.
Sending messages to a department

Starting a departmental meeting room

To start an online meeting room with everyone in a department for a group meeting:

  1. Log into LibChat and, under the Chats tab, click on the name of the department you want to chat with under Departments.
  2. While chatting, click on the Request Screenshare button below the message text box.
    • This will create a group meeting room using your system-level screensharing account.
    • Please note that each system-level screensharing account cannot be used to host multiple meetings at the same time (e.g. if the Circulation department is using it, then the Reference department cannot start their own meeting until they've finished).
  3. To start the meeting as the host, click on the Launch button that appears in the automated system message.
  4. All other users in the department will receive a message inviting them to the meeting, with a link they can click to join the session.

When each user clicks the link to start/join the session, a new browser tab will open prompting them to either download and/or launch the meeting software. Learn more about how to join the meeting audio, share your screen, and other meeting tools.

The Request Screenshare button in a department chat window

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Operator-to-operator chats

You can chat one-on-one with any other online operator. This is a great way to communicate directly with coworkers, even if they are not monitoring the same departments as you.

  1. To chat with another operator, click on their name in the Operators list under the Chats tab. The most recent chat history with that user will appear in the chat pane.
    1. If you see a numbered badge next to an operator's name, that means you have unread messages from that user.
    2. The timestamp next to an operator's name indicates the time that they signed onto the LibChat dashboard.
An operator name with an unread messages badge
  1. Use the text box to write out your message.
    1. Click on the Load more history... button to view earlier messages.
    2. Use the buttons above the text box to format and send files with your message
      • Click on the B to bold the text.
      • Click on the I to italicize the text.
      • Click on the U to underline the text.
      • Click on the () button to insert a link via hyperlinked text.
        • Note: you can also copy and paste links directly into the chat window if you don't need/want to use hyperlinked text.
      • Click on the emoji (πŸ˜€) button if you'd like to insert an emoji into your message.
      • Click on the paperclip () button if you'd like to send a file to the user.
    3. Click the FAQs button to search for and share FAQs from within your public FAQ groups.
  2. Click the Send Message button. If users are signed in and have notifications enabled, they'll be notified of the new chat. Regardless, users will see a badge indicating the number of unread messages next to the operator's name.
Sending messages to an operator

Starting a one-on-one meeting room

To start an online meeting room with another online staff member for a one-on-one meeting:

  1. Log into LibChat and, under the Chats tab, click on the name of the person you want to chat with under Operators.
  2. While chatting, click on the Request Screenshare button below the message text box.
    • This will create a meeting room using the Zoom account ID associated with your LibAnswers user account.
    • If the LibChat Screensharing & Webinars module has been enabled for your system but you do not see the Request Screenshare button, please contact your local LibChat admin so they can associate a Zoom account ID with your LibAnswers account.
  3. To start the meeting as the host, click on the Launch button that appears in the automated system message.
  4. The other operator will also receive a message inviting them to the meeting, with a link they can click to join the session.

When each user clicks the link to start/join the session, a new browser tab will open prompting them to either download and/or launch the meeting software. Learn more about how to join the meeting audio, share your screen, and other meeting tools.

The Request Screenshare button in an operator chat window

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All staff chat

Each system has its own ongoing internal chat, allowing all staff members to chat together as a group, regardless of whether they are assigned to a department.

  1. To chat with all users, click on the All Staff operator. The most recent chat history for the group will appear in the chat pane.
    1. If you see a numbered badge next to the All Staff name, that means you have unread messages that are intended for all staff members.
All staff chat with an unread messages badge
  1. Use the text box to write out your message.
    1. Click on the Load more history... button to view earlier messages.
    2. Use the buttons above the text box to format and send files with your message
      • Click on the B to bold the text.
      • Click on the I to italicize the text.
      • Click on the U to underline the text.
      • Click on the () button to insert a link via hyperlinked text.
        • Note: you can also copy and paste links directly into the chat window if you don't need/want to use hyperlinked text.
      • Click on the emoji (πŸ˜€) button if you'd like to insert an emoji into your message.
      • Click on the paperclip () button if you'd like to send a file to everyone.
    3. Click the FAQs button to search for and share FAQs from within your public FAQ groups.
  2. Click the Send Message button. If users are signed in and have notifications enabled, they'll be notified of the new chat. Regardless, users will see a badge indicating the number of unread messages next to the All Staff name.
Sending messages to all staff

Starting an all-staff meeting room

To start an online meeting room with all other online operators for a group meeting:

  1. Log into LibChat and, under the Chats tab, click on All Staff under Operators.
  2. While chatting, click on the Request Screenshare button below the message text box.
    • This will create a group meeting room using your system-level screensharing account.
    • Please note that each system-level screensharing account can only host one meeting at a time (e.g. if the Circulation department is using it, then the Reference department cannot start their own meeting until they've finished).
  3. ​To start the meeting as the host, click on the Launch button that appears in the automated system message.
  4. The other user will also receive a message inviting them to the meeting, with a link they can click to join the session.

When each user clicks the link to start/join the session, a new browser tab will open prompting them to either download and/or launch the meeting software. Learn more about how to join the meeting audio, share your screen, and other meeting tools.

The Request Screenshare button in the all staff chat window

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Inviting external participants to your meeting room

If a user does not have an account in your LibAnswers system, you can still invite them to an internal screensharing session.

  1. Once the host has started the meeting session, click on Invite Others in the meeting window (or Invite in the meeting toolbar). 
The Invite Others and Invite buttons
  1. In the Invite people to join meeting window, you'll have a few options:
    1. Click on Default Email to launch the default email app on your device and send an email invitation to one or more people.
    2. If you use Gmail, click on the Gmail button to open Gmail in your browser and send an email invitation.
    3. If you use Yahoo Mail, click on the Yahoo Mail button to open Yahoo Mail in your browser and send an email invitation.
    4. Click on the Copy URL button to copy just the meeting URL to your clipboard, which you can then send to other people so they can join the meeting.
    5. Click on the Copy Invitation button to copy the text of the invitation email to your clipboard, which you can then send to other people so they can join the meeting. This is helpful if you do not have an email app set up on your computer and do not use either Gmail or Yahoo Mail.
Email, Copy URL, and Copy Invitation options

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