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CSU Library Training Guide

Welcome to Unit III!

Now it's time to become familiar with the processes and procedures that guide the library's services. In this unit, you will learn about:

  • The Reference Interview
  • Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Emails
  • Research Appointments
  • Tracking and Assessing Reference Interactions

The Reference Interview

Our students often come into the library feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Our response as a librarian sets the tone for the entire interaction, so it is important that we are approachable and seek to make the student feel comfortable. Reviewing the guidelines below can help prepare you for a successful reference interview, where both you and the student feel satisfied with its outcome.


The CSU Library uses LibraryH3lp as our chat platform. CSU librarians manage the chat during regular operating hours. ChatStaff, an experienced team of ALA-accredited librarians, facilitates chat after-hours and as a back-up option for our library's overflow.

Review our chat queue sign-in instructions, chat procedures, and information about setting up canned messages below.

Chat Queue Sign-In

  1. Login to Library H3lp Web Client (Sign in - LibraryH3lp Webclient)
  2. Select "Available" to become active in the chat queue. 
  3. When logging out of the chat queue or going on break, select "Away." 

TechSmith Capture

The Library uses TechSmith Capture to easily share screenshots with library patrons on chat and within emails. Technical Support can assist with installing the program on your computer.

Phone Calls

We use the RingCentral platform to make and receive both internal and external phone calls. Students may reach us by phone through our rotation number at 1-877-268-8046, or they may be transferred to us internally through our rotation extension: 6555. You will also be assigned an individual extension that will be used to communicate with CSU personnel.

Review the phone call guide below for the procedures we use to ensure effective and consistent phone call etiquette. Below you will also find a copy of the phone call reference log you can use to record information about the phone calls you have with students.


We receive emails from students through our library inbox in Outlook (look for the library inbox below your personal inbox in Outlook). The library email address is In general, whichever librarian sees an email in the inbox first tags and answers the email (see below for more information on tagging emails in the library inbox).

Best Practices for Answering Emails

  • Thank the student for contacting the CSU Library.
  • Offer at least 1-2 search suggestions with screenshots.
  • Encourage the student to reply back if they have questions.
  • If using a recycled email, remember to take out all identifying information for the existing email.

See an example email reply below:

Categorizing Emails in Outlook

Each email in the library inbox is housed in a relevant folder once the interaction is considered complete. Each email is tagged with the librarian's name and other relevant category label(s).

You can view a screenshot example here for clarification on applying categories to emails.

There are 56 email categories in the library Outlook account, including librarian names. View the full list of email categories below:

Research Appointments

When students have in-depth research questions, they may request a research appointment to meet individually with a librarian. Although students at any level of study may request a research appointment, this service is most often utilized by doctoral students. Librarians are assigned research appointment requests according to their liaison areas; appointments are conducted via video conference within the RingCentral platform.

Review the resources below to familiarize yourself with the processes and procedures related to conducting research appointments.

Tracking and Assessing Reference Interactions

Each reference interaction is both tracked and assessed to ensure ongoing quality service and to help us plan for future endeavors. Review our tracking procedures below, and utilize the last two documents daily to help you track and assess your reference interactions.

Note:  Sometimes reference interactions that begin as chats turn into emails or phone calls. Reference interactions that include several modes of communication are only counted as one interaction, recorded as the first mode of communication used.

S-Drive Tracking Sheets

  • 04_Phone, Email and F2F > Access current sheet
  • 08_Reference > Assessment > Access current folder
  • For Research Appointments Only:  08_Reference > Research Appointments > Tracking > Access current sheet

Unit III Assignment

Ready to assess your reference interactions? Test your knowledge by completing this quiz!

Unit III Homework

We would like to know your hobbies! Submit 5-10 of them in the form below. These will be added to your LibConnect profile in the Team tab.