Biochemistry and molecular biology major Adam Kalawi ’14 starts a chat with Doug Dechow, Ph.D., science librarian at Leatherby Libraries.

Do you ever feel the need to talk with a reference librarian when you’re off campus? Or maybe you’ve scored your favorite study spot on the third floor of Leatherby Libraries and you really don’t want to pack up all your gear and trot down to the first-floor reference desk.

Now there’s no reason to stress anymore thanks to a new online live chat service called LibChat.


Dechow and Kalawi’s real time conversation leads the student to additional resources available through Leatherby Libraries’ databases.

Leatherby Libraries unveiled the service this spring so that students and faculty can “talk” with one of the many experienced reference librarians whenever the reference desk is open. Users simply access the LibChat window on the
library’s website
and type their question into the chat box to start the session. A librarian will respond with the needed answer or advice.

What kind of help is available on LibChat? The short answer is, just about anything. Reference librarians can help select a database to find articles for class papers, check availability of materials or suggest strategies for focusing a broad research topic. The librarians can even offer basic information about hours and library policies.

LibChat is available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.