Ask a Librarian is a virtual reference service that connects students, faculty and researchers from participating libraries with real-time research assistance through chat.
Users are served by librarians and library staff from participating Ontario universities along with mentees who are current students or recent graduates of Masters level programs in Information Studies.
Using LivePerson's chat software, library staff members and mentees engage with users to answer library and research related questions. During their shifts, Ask a Librarian operators also use an interactive staff space to communicate with each other to coordinate chat transfers and share knowledge when answering questions. When the service is closed, each question entered by a user is automatically routed to the library reference inbox.
During the fall and winter, Ask a Librarian operates:
Monday to Thursday 10am - 10pm
Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday to Sunday 12pm - 6pm
Multiple operators are scheduled for each shift. The number of operators and the hours of service are monitored and adjusted to best meet demand as the service is rolled out to more Ontario university libraries.
On September 12, 2011 the service launched at the following institutions:
University of Guelph
University of Guelph-Humber
University of Toronto - St.George
University of Toronto - Mississauga
University of Toronto - Scarborough
University of Windsor
University of Ontario Institute of Technology joined the service in July 2012.
The following institutions began offering the service in September 2012:
And in September 2013:
Click here to find out how your library can join Ask a Librarian.