Hammermill Library adds chat services

Jill Barrile: System administrator Jennifer Harris answers students' questions by chatting with them online.Jill Barrile: System administrator Jennifer Harris answers students’ questions by chatting with them online.

The library has added two new features to the way it assists students: Ask a Librarian and Reference Chat.

Ask a Librarian refers to “any of the services we offer for reference,” said Jennifer Harris, who is a system administrator and teaching librarian. Ask a Librarian includes chat, phone, e-mail or office visit.

This feature is the actual chat part of the Reference Chat, allowing an instant way for students to get services. Harris said the library has always had Ask a Librarian, but the Reference Chat was added in the beginning of winter term.

“We receive quite a few questions daily, relating on how to finds books and articles, general questions like how long a book can be checked out for and where things are,” Harris said.

Harris said the reason for the addition is “students dealing with growing technology are looking for more instantaneous access, plus students are familiar with chat services.”

Several different libraries that Harris already researched had chat services like this, which encouraged her to take the necessary steps to create the Reference Chat.

Although students said they didn’t know about the new services, many said they will keep it in mind if and when they have a question about the services.

Sophomore Braden Greenawalt didn’t know about the chat, but said, “I suppose if it was something really important I would use the new service.”

Junior Randi Heitman agreed, saying, “I will be likely to ask them if I have a question.”

These features can be accessed at library.mercyhurst.edu.

Librarians are free to chat Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Mondays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

They can chat on Sundays from 6 to 9 p.m. as well.

If the librarians are not available during this time, they will respond within 24 hours.