chat services, virtual reference services


Our nation has been reeling since March 2020 when the stay-at-home orders were put into effect due to the spread of Covid-19. As a result, both public and academic libraries were closed to the public. There was a need for libraries to respond to their communities' calls for access to the internet, e-books, laptops, e-readers, e-textbooks, and more. The libraries' responses were remarkable. Wi-fi hotspots were set up, technology lending was put in place, mail to home and curbside services were expanded, craft kits were mailed, Zoom sessions of story hours and information literacy sessions were presented. In order to accomplish these tall orders, communication with our patrons was key and still is. One very important way that the public and college students reached out was through the Ask a Librarian chat service. The chat service allowed patrons easy access to real library professionals, making it a good way to get their questions answered accurately and conveniently.

The TBLC Ask a Librarian Quality Assurance group reads chats as part of their Exemplary Chat Awards process and has noticed patterns, trends, common subject matter, and volume changes. In this poster session learn how chat services evolved from March 2020 through December 2020 and how the libraries responded to the needs of the patrons. Learn how the service has adapted, addressed information needs, and impacted our communities during a global pandemic.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Kuhns, J. & Dockray, S. (2022, May 24). Chat services and COVID-19: Trends in Ask a Librarian [Poster presentation]. Florida Library Association Conference, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Document Type





Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Rosen College of Hospitality Management


University Libraries



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