Ask a Librarian

Feb 09, 2006

The Ask a Librarian service has helped up to 150 people a month, but you won't find it by looking around the Parks Library Building. Whether you're reading this in Carver Hall or Chile, Ask a Librarian is just a click away, providing answers to students, faculty and staff of ISU, to the residents of the state of Iowa, and to the world. You'll find a link to it in the header bar at the top of this very web page, and on most others throughout the e-Library.

While the Ask a Librarian page provides contact information for all forms of reference service offered by the ISU Library, the fully online components are chat and e-mail reference. E-mail reference lets you send a question whenever you think of it and receive the answer once a librarian has taken the time to check good sources for answers. Chat reference involves a live conversation with a librarian, offering the chance to discuss the details of your information need.

Questions for both e-mail and chat reference span a wide range of topics; many center around how to find an online source for a journal or newspaper article, how to locate an ISU dissertation, or what library policies apply in a particular situation. Questions can be about topics focused on ISU, or covering issues or data involving any location or subject. We can't do your in-depth research for you, but we can help you with search strategies and connect you to the library expert on your topic.

To increase the number of hours when the ISU Library can provide chat reference, we have been working with librarians at the University of Southern California and the University of Arkansas since February 2005. Librarians at ISU and our partner libraries have worked to build experience with each others' campuses and information resources. In late February 2006, while we will continue to have our busiest hours staffed by librarians from ISU and our partner libraries, we will also begin to have all other hours covered by the 24-7 Academic Reference Cooperative. Day or night, throughout the week, you'll be able to "Ask a Librarian!"