When COVID numbers began to climb in our community in Winter 2020, the University of Alberta plunged into the unknown world that was study/work from home. The University of Alberta Library was able to seamlessly transfer one aspect of our services out-of-office without missing a beat: our Ask Us! Library online chat service. This valuable service kept us connected to our library users, which saw an increase in users after our first Fall semester away. We continue to help our community through this valuable online medium. Read on to find out what makes this chat service so awesome, besides the people who staff it!
Our library chat service is staffed by our Information Service Specialists, Public Service Assistants, and SLIS student staffers. We are here to support patrons with any library-related questions or inquiries they may have. Anyone can ask us a question online during our chat hours, it doesn’t matter if you’re affiliated with the U of A as a student, staff, or instructor, or if you’re alumni or member of the public!
Our goal is to provide tips and tricks on where to find the answers you need that will allow you to comfortably navigate our systems on your own. That being said, we know that snags can happen (we experience them ourselves), and we are always here to help you with whatever question you may have – big or small!
Our most common questions usually involve how to search our website for a textbook, article, or database. We direct folks to our library subject guides for discipline-specific resources, as well as refer more in-depth questions to our librarians for 1:1 support. Another brilliant resource that we have at our fingertips is our citation guides to help ensure folks get their reference lists correct according to citation style.
That being said, we know that sometimes folks don’t know where they can ask a random question and while some of our inquiries are not library-related, we will do our best to get you headed in the right direction. Our U of A Google skills are pretty exemplary and we have directed folks to our colleagues at the Registrar’s Office, Students Union, Health & Wellness Support and more!
We are here for you! If you are in need of library support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our chat service (or pop into any of our locations and see us in person)! We have a chat box on our main page, a pop-up that will appear on the upper right corner of your screen on any of our library site pages, as well a chat box on our Ask Us! page that will also show additional contact options and chat service hours.