February 17, 2018

LC Launches Live Chat Patron Reference Service

By LJ Staff

The Library of Congress’s (LC) Public Service Collections Directorate has
launched a “live chat” reference service. Librarians in selected LC reading
rooms will monitor chat from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, M-F. Access to this service will
be provided from LC’s online reference service called, “Ask a Librarian…“. The service will
be handled by the LC’s new QuestionPoint software, which supports a
collaborative network of reference librarians located throughout the world.

The live chat feature, similar to instant messaging, enables patrons to
discuss their information needs with LC reference librarians. Service will
initially involve reference staff from Serial and Government Publications,
Prints and Photographs, Local History and Genealogy, Humanities and Social
Sciences, Science and Technology, and Business. The number of reading rooms in
the service may expand in the future, as well as hours of availability.
Questions will also be taken regarding LC’s American Memory online historical