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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ask a Librarian – At the Library of Congress


The library discontinued its Ask a Librarian virtual reference service in December due to budget cuts. But the Library of Congress has stepped in to provide help with research questions by e-mail for Fairfax County residents. To see what subject matters Library of Congress librarians can address, visit the Ask A Librarian page. Library of Congress librarians can answer reference or research questions. If your question is specific to services at Fairfax County Public Library please visit a branch or look on our Web site. We also have a frequently asked questions page that may answer your question.

Mary Mulrenan
Fairfax County Public Library

Image is public domain.

3 comments:

GeorgeW6 said...

Well, I tried a couple of times and there was no librarian online, as far as I could tell. Are there certain hours or something?
At the top of the page there is the word “chat” but it did not link to anyone or any new page.
The LC lists of available resources are fantastic, although I could not find my answer.
Eventually, I was in the Reston Branch and your ref librarian helped me find the info I needed.
Do you still accept phone calls for information? If you do, it seems to me that accepting emails might be an option too, since emails can be answered later on.
Well, if you can answer these comments, I will appreciate the help. Thanks.

Fairfax County Public Library said...

I am sorry to hear about your trouble accessing the Library of Congress service. I will look into that. I am glad to hear the staff at Reston was able to help. Reference questions can be answered in the branch or by phone. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to answer reference quesions via e-mail.

Fairfax County Public Library said...

The Fairfax County Public Library's own Ask A Librarian service, which included chat, e-mail and text message services, closed January 1, 2010 due to budget cuts. The two part-time librarians were reassigned to other duties.

In March, the Library of Congress' Ask a librarian service offered to assist Fairfax County Public Library customers by answering research questions. They specified they could accept questions only by e-mail; not by chat.

The service hours for the Library of Congress' Ask a librarian chat service is narrow:
Monday through Friday
2:00 - 3:00 PM
Eastern Time
(except Federal Holidays)
As you noted, the e-mail option allows greater flexibility in posing questions and receiving responses.

Please continue to visit or call any library branch of the Fairfax County Public Library for help with research. We're happy to be able to continue to offer both these options and grateful to the Library of Congress for extending their researchers and collections to Fairfax customers.