Benefits to your library users
- Provide library service beyond your library hours
- Meet your library users online when they need search help
- Offer statewide support for your library users’ information needs
Benefits to your library
- Enjoy a higher profile in your community and the state
- Be part of an innovative and popular statewide collaboration
- Reach new library users
- Add another reference point for higher use statistics
Benefits to your staff
- Offer cutting-edge reference skills for library staff members
- Improve staff reference skills through training, mentoring, and collaboration
- Connect with hundreds of reference staff throughout Pennsylvania
- Get access to subject experts for those challenging questions
Benefits to Participating Libraries
Libraries that contribute a few hours of staff time a week receive several benefits. They can:
- Obtain a full online reference management system along with a customizable e-mail submission form;
- Obtain a unique online chat interface that captures local reference statistics via links from their web site;
- Provide a new online library service cost-effectively;
- Reach new patrons and improve service for current patrons;
- Train staff to provide a traditional service using up-to-date methods.
In addition, libraries that contribute a few hours of staff time a week have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to provide library service to Pennsylvania residents.
What libraries say about CHAT
The appeal to most students, of course, is that the live chat is available 24/7 from anywhere they have Internet access. Our library is not open 24 hours a day, so I think that makes this service even more appealing to students who tend to do their work late at night. I have noticed in looking over the questions that a lot of students doing specific research assignments will take advantage of [CHAT, formerly Ask Here PA]. Plus, we have many distance learners. Our users seem to really like the service, so I think they probably spread it around by word of mouth.
We are very happy with CHAT, and our reference librarians enjoy staffing it. We feel it is a great service for Pennsylvania, and we enjoying contributing to this service and interacting with a wide variety of users.