To support the university’s move to online classes, the library has more than doubled the live chat component of Ask Yale Library, from 45 to 91 hours a week. The expanded hours and a new pop-up chat box on the library’s home page are drawing many new users.
“Between March 16, when we increased the hours, and March 24, we fielded 391 questions, of which 263 came through chat,” said Laura Sider, Associate Director of Frontline Services, who manages the service. "During the same eight-day period last year, Ask Yale Library received just 91 questions, 42 via chat."
Eighteen library staff, all working from home, are covering the expanded chat hours.
In the past week, students and other library users have been popping in to chat with questions that include how to access the VPN, where to return library materials, and how to get late fines and fees removed from student bills. With the onset of classes, questions about how to find and access specific articles and books online are on the rise.
As of March 24, chat hours are: Sunday, noon to midnight; Monday- Thursday, 8:30 am – midnight; Friday, 8:30 am – 7 pm; and Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm. As the semester unfolds, the hours may be adjusted, Sider said, depending on demand as well as ongoing availability of staff.