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Ask Ethel v. 3.0: Chat with a Librarian

January 13th, 2015 by jimm wetherbee in Announcements, Reference

Ask EthelThe Ethel K. Smith Library in association with Springshare is launching version three of its chat feature, Ask Ethel.

Feature in the new Ask Ethel you can:

  • Ask a question of a librarian any time, even when there isn’t a librarian online.  Now you can submit your question, and the next librarian on duty will pick it up.
  • E-mail and text to Ask Ethel
  • Get a transcript of your live chats.

A feature that you will soon see is a list of frequently asked questions.  The librarians will start to categorize and enter questions that have been previously complied into Ask Ethel.  This way, you may be able find what you even before you open a chat.

You can start an online chat with a librarian either from the Library Homepage or LibGuides. From the Library Homepage, click on the Ask Ethel image.  This will bring you to the Ask Ethel page.  If a reference librarian is available, the chat screen will come up.  Please enter your name and question and then click on the “Start Chat” button.

Normally a reference librarian is only available during Reference Desk Hours (usually 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays).  Even if a librarian isn’t on the desk, you can still leave a message.  You can type in a question and click the “Search” button.  If there are no matches, the question will go into the queue for the next available librarian.

Contact Page

You don’t have even search, should a librarian not be available.  The the left is a contact box.  This will allow you to text or message a librarian.  These will also go into the queue and will answered by the next available librarian.  You can also phone us.  There is often a librarian within earshot of the phone during regular library hours.



The homepage is not the only place where you can go to Ask Ethel.  Many of the LibGuides also have a Chat Box where you Ask Ethel Oncan ask a reference librarian a question.  Ask Ethel OffIf a librarian is available, you will see that the chat box includes a place for your name and a question.  It works just like the Ask Ethel page.  If a a librarian is not, just click on the link that reads “Search our Knowledgebase and/or submit your question.”  This will take you to the full Ask Ethel page.

Tip of the Week

September 10th, 2012 by Isaac Meadows in Announcements, Reference

Tip of the WeekHave a question but can’t get to the Library?

Use our Ask Ethel Chat service to ask questions online!

Make Ethel Your Buddy

November 23rd, 2009 by jimm wetherbee in Reference

The instant messaging reference service, Ask Ethel, is expanding beyond the library website.  Meebo users have always been able add “ekslibrary” to their buddylists so that they could call up the reference librarians anytime they logged onto their Meebo accounts.  Now AOL and Yahoo users can do the same.

Just add ekslibrary as a buddy to your AIM, Yahoo, or Meebo IM account and you too can Ask Ethel about how to find the information you need without even having to go the library home page.  Just to make things even easier, you might want to put ekslibrary in a special group, such as Library or Wingate or Reasearch.

Got Questions? Ask Ethel!

October 15th, 2009 by Isaac Meadows in Announcements, Reference

Ask Ethel is a new link on the Library’s homepage offering Reference help via Meebo Instant Messaging, E-mail, or Phone. If ekslibrary is online, just type your question at the bottom of the IM widget. If no librarian is online, use the E-mail or Phone tabs to contact a librarian.

Already a Meebo user? Add ekslibrary to your buddy list for handy reference!

Ask Ethel