Chat with a Librarian

Many libraries now have a ‘chat with a librarian’ option. This allows the patron to connect with a librarian in a chat, and ask questions and receive answers.

I am currently on chat, asking a question. It took my librarian 5 minutes already to enter the chat room and read my questions. Still waiting for a response…ok. So I am apparently connected to a librarian who is not from my system, she is from a company that helps out when my librarians are too busy to chat. While that would normally be fine, she doesn’t seem to know the answer to my question. That might be because it is a question about how my system works, and she doesn’t know…

Ok, so my first experience with chat was a bad one. Not sure if I will do that again.



  1. As more instances like your own add up, less users will return. Then if money is afforded to keep a librarian at the online desk, there may be no users.


    • That’s part of the problem. When libraries begin providing a new service, they can’t do it halfway. They can start small, but they should balance it better.
      If I had been given a choice I would not have been so disappointed. It could be done very simply i.e. “at the moment, the only available librarian is not from the system, you can choose to speak with her now, of we will get back to you shortly with a librarian from the system, sorry for the inconvenience…”


  2. Try and try again. Chatting with a librarian can be a pleasant experience. Sometimes it does take a while for someone to come on and that’s annoying. This happens inside and outside of whatever system you are chatting on. I’ve had fast responses with the Library of Congress and a not so quick response time with a local provider. I think it’s a good tool that needs refining and like you say more funding.


  3. I had a similar experience using librarian chat. I was not impressed.

    I think the technology has potential, but funding needs to be there to ensure that there is always a librarian available who is also fully trained in using the chat software.


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