As the Penn State University Libraries launched a new online reference service—“Ask A Librarian”—one of the chats answered between 1 and 2 a.m., the first week of fall semester, came in from a World Campus student in China. The continuous 24-hour live chat and email service, easily accessed through a tab appearing on the right of every library web page and in LionSearch, is available noon, Sunday through 5 p.m., Friday, during fall and spring semesters.
At times when live chat is not being monitored, patrons will be directed to http://ask.libraries.psu.edu, where they will be able to search a database of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or submit a question by email. Messages may also be sent directly to email@example.com for a response within hours and often within minutes.
All transactions within “Ask A Librarian” remain confidential and the Libraries protect this patron information in the same manner as all personal library records.
For questions or comments, submit to “Ask A Librarian” or call Public Relations and Marketing at 814-863-4240, during normal business hours
By Tom Reinsfelder, for the Online Reference Team
The new online reference system known as Ask A Librarian will be online beginning August 20. We need to thank everyone on CMS web development team for their hard work in helping to get everything ready before the start of the fall semester.
A few important items to note:
1. Although the system will be online and operational this week it will not be fully staffed until Monday August 26.
Beginning next week we will follow this Online Reference Schedule offering nearly 24 hour live chat coverage on week days.
2. The Ask A Librarian tab will appear on the right side of every page in the CMS and LionSearch. In the future this will be added to other locations including the CAT, Get It! pages, and ILLiad.
3. In addition to live chat, users may choose to submit questions by email using the form at http://ask.libraries.psu.edu or sending a message directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. At times when live chat is not being monitored users will be directed to http://ask.libraries.psu.edu where they will be able to search for their answer or submit a question by email.
5. Further information about the Online Reference Team is posted on our Intranet Page.
Any questions or feedback about this service may be directed to UL-REFERENCE-TEAM@lists.psu.edu