To outline the goals, objectives, and scope of the Blake Library Electronic Reference Service.  

(Adapted from “The New York Public Library – Ask Librarians Online” pages)  


I.   Introduction

Blake Library’s Ask-A-Librarian service allows the university and community patrons to obtain help from a librarian through either the chat service or email service. It is the library staff’s intention to help guide users in the quest for information and independent use of research methods.

II. Description of Services                          

A. Chat : Chat services allows for real-time interaction and is the most immediate form of electronic reference help.             

B. Email: Email service provides a means for patrons to send questions at anytime and Library staff responds within a reasonable time of receiving the message.

III.   Who can use the service

Both the live and email modes of Ask-A-Librarian are available to the University of Maine at Fort Kent community, the Valley community, and UMFK’s distance learners. All others may be referred to the patron’s local library if reference staff is unable to answer the question. 

IV. Types of questions answered through both modes                          

A. Ready reference (quick research and answer).                           

B. Instruction and answer questions in the use of the online catalog, indexes and databases, Brightspace, IT, library services, etc.                           

C. More in depth questions are handled through email mode only.                          

V.   What is not answered through either mode      

A. Medical or law related advice                          

B. Product evaluations, appraisals, etc.            

C. Any other question asking for personal advice or opinions.     

VI.   Days and Times of Service   

Available hours are typically the same during the fall and spring semester. Hours may change according to need. Service will not be available during holidays, school closings, or other circumstances the library staff determines necessary. Evening hours will be available during fall and spring semesters only. Refer to the Ask-the-Librarian page for a current schedule.