Over the past two years, visitors to the library’s website might have noticed a new interactive feature – an “Ask Us” chat button. This little button often on the side of the screen offers a big help, allowing anyone to reach out to our librarians for instant research support. Whether browsing the library’s homepage or searching through one of our many databases, users can chat live with a librarian ready to answer their research questions.
The LibChat feature has been popular among students since it began in Fall 2015. It’s a convenient way to get research help right when you need it, whether studying in the dorm or on vacation halfway across the world.
But Cedarville librarians are always looking for new ways to improve services, and last semester changed the chat button to an interactive pop-up window on the library’s homepage. Since this seemingly minor modification, online chats have increased dramatically – about 150% over the last semester!
Not only have chats increased, but the new pop-up has opened opportunities to better reach Cedarville’s diverse community of library users, especially distance learners. From high schoolers enrolled in the College Now program, to commuters, to online graduate students, to off-campus pharmacy students, LibChat is becoming an essential tool for library support. The library has even seen chats increase from alumni and local pastors over the past few months. Regardless of the information need – whether something as simple accessing databases to something as complex as in-depth research – our librarians are prepared to help, and our users are grateful for the assistance. “Extremely helpful and timely!” wrote one student. Another commented “This librarian helped me a ton with my research” after their chat.
Perhaps next time you picture a librarian, rather than envisioning someone shushing in every corner of the library, think of a friendly expert ready to chat online and help you with your research needs!