LibAnswers Platform: Chats, Zooms, Tickets, FAQs, Coops, Oh My!

Communication options (such as online chat and ticketing) are expanded via the LibAnswers platform since Springshare acquired QuestionPoint. While it may be difficult to distinguish between the different options, the synchronous and asynchronous communication possibilities are exciting and especially relevant at this time.


LibAnswers is a Springshare platform that includes a suite of cloud-based communication tools. These tools enable libraries to communicate with users through different online modalities. LibAnswers functions include:

  • LibChat - a synchronous instant messaging chat tool with video integration via Zoom.
    • This appears as a screen share option during a chat and greatly simplifies setting up a Zoom session with a student on the fly. It does not include the phone in option of Zoom meetings, and it times out after 40 minutes.
      Screenshare prompt
  • Tickets - an asynchronous communication tool (along with email, or in replacement of); can be initiated via forms, social media, and chat follow-up requests.
  • FAQs developed by your institution - a knowledgebase of questions and answers you create about your own library.
  • Quality of Service - initiates a survey for a percentage of tickets that have been closed. (New as of January 2021.)

The Consortium offers different options for CCC Libraries to utilize LibAnswers:

  1. LibAnswers - own platform OR shared platform (with other CCCs)
  2. Co-Op/Global - add-on subscription which provides provides after hours chat staffing by other colleges in California, and throughout the US and UK

If you have your own LibAnswers platform subscription, you have these additional functions:

  • Social Media management
  • Reference Analytics - in addition to tracking your tickets and chats, you can manage your in-person reference tally.

All of these services have good statistical analysis tools associated with them. Pricing is based on platform subscription type (individual account or shared CCC account), and coverage (access to the cooperatives or not). Given the features of this platform, the subscription pricing is reasonable for most CCC libraries.

Springshare has their own lingo about the products they provide, which can sometimes be confusing to new users. LibAnswers and its many customizations and possibilities can be overwhelming at first. But, Springshare also offers many webinars (in real time and pre-recorded) and ample customer service support. The swirl of information is an expression of the increased connections to students that is possible.

Component focus: LibChat (or online reference desk services)

Chat boxPerhaps the most useful (and well-known) of all the tools offered through the LibAnswers service is LibChat, which offers the ability to chat in real time, online with library users. The interface for chat is very similar to those you might see on an established business’ website. The main difference being that instead of chatting with a bot, your users can interact with a real librarian. As libraries continue to modify the way that they provide online services, the LibChat tool provides a powerful way to provide reference services online. With the addition of Global/Co-Op subscriptions and the ability to initiate a Zoom session on demand, this service becomes even more valuable.



The CCC Co-op is a group of 40+ California Community College libraries that offer backup service for each other. The benefit of this is your students will get their questions answered by California community college librarians (when you are not available).

There is also the Academic Global Cooperative. In any cooperative configuration, you can set up to have your student questions move through levels of cooperatives based on timing. For example, your student questions can come to your queue first. If some time passes and your library does not answer the student, it would next be offered up for CCC Co-op members to answer. If no CCC Co-Op member answers after a period of time, the student question could roll up to the global academic coverage level.


You can also pay for additional ticket queues for your LibAnswers platform. Some libraries have done this to offer a support option for other entities at their schools - for example, a ticket queue for tutoring folks to answer questions, or a queue for student services.


To sum up, the common LibAnswers platform subscription configurations are:

Individual Library LibAnswers Platform Subscription

Shared CCC LibAnswers Platform Account + CCC and/or Global Co-Op Subscription

Individual Library LibAnswers Platform + CCC and/or Global Co-Op Subscription

No 24/7 Librarian Support

24/7 Librarian Support

24/7 Librarian Support (if Global Co-op access is chosen)

Full Customization

Limited Customization

Full Customization

Integrated Zoom possible*

Integrated Zoom possible*

Integrated Zoom possible*

Quality of Service follow-up survey

Quality of Service follow-up survey

Quality of Service follow-up survey

Unlimited FAQs

1 Knowledgebase per college

Unlimited FAQs

Individual LibAnswers interface

Shared LibAnswers interface

Individual LibAnswers interface

Sees own system

In shared group system, shares queues / chat departments with group/coop system

See own system, but shares queues / chat departments with the group/coop system

SMS integration possible


SMS integration possible

Facebook/Twitter integration

No Social Media Integration

Facebook/Twitter integration

As of this writing, many CCCs opt for Co-op subscriptions, while only some subscribe to their own LibAnswers platform instance.

*Added 3/22/21: Zoom may or may not be included in your subscription - check with your Springshare rep for more information.


As with many of the SpringShare products, LibAnswers offers integration with different outside systems. These include:

  • Canvas - able to embed the LibChat widget into a Canvas shell
  • ExLibris Primo VE - add LibChat widget to the front interface
  • Social Media - Facebook and Twitter integration are possible if you have your own LibAnswers subscription.

Customer Support

Springshare offers a robust tool to get feedback from Customer Service representatives. Response times are usually within 24 hours. Representatives are familiar with library work and library culture.


VPAT evaluates functionality up to WCAG 2.1 AA.


For the purposes of statistics, LibAnswers tracks usage in the system. It also retains personally identifiable information for the library determined period of time. For example, if the same user returns to the chat again and again, their chat history is present. It is up to the library to determine the retention period for this information. For libraries in the shared CCC LibAnswers platform account, the retention period will be decided as a group. For more information, please see the Springshare privacy policy.

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If you have any experience with this product, please leave a comment and rate its appropriateness for use in a community college environment.

† The offers and trials information are password protected. Actual prices are confidential between the vendor and the consortium.

For access contact Amy Beadle, Library Consortium Director, 916.800.2175.

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