On the main page, when you click on your library, you'll be taken to the area where you can put in your name, email and question. You can use the service anonymously, but providing an email address will help us respond back to you if you need additional resources or assistance after your chat session has ended.
After you've sent your message, a librarian from Maryland or one of our cooperative member libraries from around the world, will pick up your question as soon as possible and based on the level of business, and send you a welcome message, and, most times, ask you for more information about what you're looking for. If using our regular desktop interface, your chat conversation will appear on the left side of your screen with the right side of the screen free for any websites that the librarian might show you. If you are joining us via our mobile interface, any websites the librarians sends you will show up as links you can click on to open.
When you're finished, you can click on the "End Session" link. When you or the librarian ends the session, you will see the full transcript of your session including any links for resources that were sent to you. If you entered with an email address, you will automatically get a copy of the transcript when your session is over. If you came in anonymously or without an email address, you will have an option to email it to yourself; we do not keep any record of the email addresses entered in this area after chat.
Communicating in chat
- There's no need to be formal with our librarians, but please be courteous.
- Use short replies and hit the send button between sentences.
- Expect what might seem like delays. Some questions require the librarian to search in several places to find exactly what you need.
- If you have to leave the computer for any reason, please politely let the librarian know: e.g. "Sorry, I have to go now - the computer lab is closing. Please e-mail me whatever you find at [your e-mail address]. Thanks!"
Session Transcripts and Follow-up via Email
Transcripts and any follow-up that may be needed to help answer your question will come AskALibrarian@oclc.org. Please add this email address to your email "safe list" as sometimes we can get caught in spam filters.
Did you get disconnected?
If you get disconnected from your librarian, you can try hitting the BACK button on your browser. Sometimes, your session will be automatically reinstated, but if it isn't, go ahead and enter your question again at askusnow.info. Most times, the librarian you had before will be on the look-out for you and you'll be able to pick up where you left off. If you are connected to a new librarian, let them know who was helping you when you were disconnected; they may be able to reconnect you.
If you experience other technical issues, please let us know about them so we can make the experience better for you and others.