Category Archives: chat reference

Welcome back!

Welcome to all of our new and returning students, staff and faculty.

The library is offering a series of workshops about library services and resources for all interested students in 2017.  Please see our website for more details and to register:

There is help available at the Wesbter and Vanier reference desks and on ask-a-librarian live chat:

Please note, Webster’s LB4 is now closed and is set to reopen in Fall 2017.  The books from LB4 are being sent to offsite storage, from which faculty, staff and students can request their retrieval, starting Jan 12, 2017.  For more details about the LB4 book move and storage, please consult our website:

A reminder that details about all library renovations are available on the Webster Library Transformation blog: 

We hope you have a great winter semester!

“Chat with a librarian” — popular option

You wrote:

I love the chat-option with librarians- it’s a quick, convenient way to get assistance, and it has been really helpful. However- there needs to be more than one librarian on it at a time. There have been times when I’ve been told they are ‘with a student and will be right back’, leaving me to wonder where are all the other librarians? Must this system shut down because one librarian is occupied with a student? A bit silly, don’t you think? Particularly if this is a used service, shouldn’t more be placed on the chatting option to accommodate the demand?

Thank you for your suggestion. It’s great to hear that our “chat with a librarian” service is well received.

We are aware that sometimes users have to wait to be served on chat …. and sometimes they have to wait in line to be served at the reference desk in the library …. or at almost every other kind of service point in their everyday lives. Although it would be nice to provide instantaneous service, everywhere, at all times, it simply cannot be. The benefit of chat is that at least the user is comfortably sitting somewhere and can continue to do their work while waiting.

Chat is only one way that students may communicate with a librarian: we also provide help by email, by telephone and, yes,  in person! 🙂 All of our Ask-a-Librarian services are well-used and although the popularity of the chat service has been increasing steadily over the years, it only counts for about 5% of the total number of questions we get.

As for “where are all the other librarians”?  In addition to helping students at the reference desk or on chat reference, reference librarians are often teaching, providing in-depth assistance to students and professors, selecting library materials, and working on special projects to constantly improve our services and collections.  Librarians also participate in various library and university committees and research projects.

We are always looking for ways to improve and we definitely will keep in  mind your comments when scheduling for all these service points.  Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Your Suggestions Make a Difference

Though we can’t  always act on each question or comment we receive, here is a quick progress report on some of  recent library developments directly related to your Suggestion Box input: 

Electrical outlets
There have been many pleas for more electrical outlets in the libraries for all those students with laptops. Though we reported that the electrical system at Webster would be upgraded and that outlets would be installed throughout both libraries over the summer, work delays beyond our control have slowed this process down. We did want to let you know that this issue is still a top priority and that the renovation work will definitely be completed this semester. Special thanks go to the CSU Library Services Fund Committee for its support and funding of this improvement project, which will result in about 800 additional electrical outlets in the Libraries.

Keyboard Languages
Though there has been no blog post about this until now, we  received requests one-on-one  that additional keyboard languages be made available on the library computers so that students could more easily write their papers in languages other than English and French.  You might have noticed in our What’s New that almost all library workstations now make the following available, in accordance with the language programs offered at Concordia:  English (Canada & U.S.), French (Canada), Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Russian, Spanish.

Dirty Keyboards
Also off the blog so far, we received comments about dirt and germs on keyboards at some of the computer workstations at Webster. We have now initiated a more regular cleaning program for the keyboards of all computers in the library,  and hope that this should improve the situation. Do note, however, that:  a) unusually dirty keyboards or work areas can always be reported to the nearest service desk, and b) computer keyboards in a public area like ours will never be germ-free, no matter how often they are cleaned, so be sure to take proper hygiene into your own hands.

Ask a Wizard
We received more than one plea to get rid of the Ask a Librarian “wizard” that popped up and flew around on public workstations at every login.  Now that the Ask a Librarian service is featured  more prominently through other avenues, we’ve decided to go with the flow and bid the wizard adieu.

What’s New With Noise
You very recently asked what new initiatives we have implemented regarding noise reduction in the library. We didn’t mention it in the post but would now like to highlight that last month, the rubber-like linoleum floor covering in the Webster library entrance area was completely replaced by carpet, which should be much better suited for the important task of noise absorption.

Thanks for your contributions! Let us know if you are curious about the status of any other items you’ve seen mentioned on the blog.

The Ask a Wizard

You wrote:

This is just a quick suggestion, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the little wizard extremely annoying. He pops on the screen every time I try to use the internet. I have to chase him around with the mouse: “ASK A LIBRIANBLAHBLAH” he shouts, flying around the screen. Click. No, Right Click. Hide. He disappears into his cape, finally. I, presumably along with most University students, are perfectly capable of finding the “Ask a librarian” button by our own devices. The talking wizard is just a nuisance.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can see how this chase could be frustrating, especially when in a hurry. We are currently testing out ways of making the Ask a Librarian link more prominent on our web site itself.  Once we have finalized those changes and made them public, we will indeed be seriously considering the removal of the flying wizard from the public workstations.

Need to reach us quickly? Chat with us!

You wrote:

Please make it possible for me to make a noise complaint via email or SMS text.  I would like to alert the library authorities of noise policy violations without having to pack up my things and displace myself.

Thank you for your suggestion.  If you have anything to communicate, you can chat with us from wherever you are.  Simply click on the Ask a librarian  button that is available throughout the libraries’ website. 

A chat widget also appears in many of our databases.  It looks like this:

All of our “Ask a librarian” services, including chat, are listed here

Thank you for writing to us.

Chat with a librarian

You said:
“First time I used the chat reference service and it was a success. The person that I chatted with was extremely patient, and help me to track a very hard to find article.”

Jean-Marc Edwards, Assistant Director, User Services replied:
Thank you for using our online reference service. We also offer assistance over email, phone, at the Reference desk, and consultations on appointment. Check our Ask-a-librarian service.