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Monitoring Chat: Reference Basics: The Basics

Use this guide to triage basic reference questions asked through the library's chat service.

Using LibChat

Once you have logged into LibChat using the Circulation username and password, click Sign In to be brought to the chat screen.



If you need to leave your desk at any time, remember to click the Set Away box.  This will send an automated message to any user that attempts to initiate a chat during that time, letting them know that the chat service is temporarily unavailable.


It is very important that you log off of LibChat at the end of your shift, so that chat patrons are not waiting indefinitely for a response to their chat.  You can do this by clicking the Offline button at the top of the page.


Questions to ask the Chat Patron

  • What is the topic that you're researching?
  • What class is this for?
  • What kind of sources do you need?

Use the patron's answers to direct them toward a LibGuide in their subject area.  If they are looking for articles, direct them to the tab on their LibGuide page that lists useful databases for that subject area.

Referrals to Reference Librarians

If you do not feel comfortable walking a chat patron through the research process, refer them to a reference librarian.  Provide them with a link to make an appointment.  You can also direct them to a specialist in that particular subject, if you wish.  Here are their subject specialties:

Joe Middleton: Business, Economics, Health Care Administration

Trish McPherson: Foreign Languages, Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Religion

Heather Perry: Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Education, English, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Writing

Jane Swiszcz: Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Visual & Performing Arts

Lindsay Boezi: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education


Reference and Access Services Assistant

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Lindsay Boezi
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