Krueger Library introduces new live chat

Allison Mueller

Maddie Swenson / Winonan

Last semester, the Darrel W. Krueger Library on the Winona State University campus released its new live chat service, or LibChat, to its website, with the hopes of being able to further help students with research.

Web and Digital Service Librarian Stewart Van Cleve said the LibChat service is “especially good for students who don’t want to come into the library or are distance learners,” as well as those who may find it intimidating to ask for help in the middle of the library.

There are a few ways to access the live LibChat feature. One way is through the library’s main website, by clicking “ask a question,” and the other is through D2L if an instructor chooses to incorporate it into their course page. If a question is asked after the hours listed, students can still ask their question, and the answer to the question will be sent to them via email or text when the chat is live again.

Another way to access it is through one of the databases. For example, while in the Academic Search Premier, which is one of the most popular databases according to Van Cleve, the chat service is on the right-hand side.

If students are struggling with the databases, the librarians are able to send video tutorials on how to use the databases. This includes the different databases and encyclopedias.

The chat is available every day of the week at different times. These hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to  8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to  8 p.m.

Van Cleve does recommend coming into the library when doing in-depth research as well as asking for assistance from the librarians.

According to Van Cleve, the librarians are a great asset to student research.

“ [If] you are doing a number of searches we can give you some recommendations,” Van Cleve said.

Many of the librarians at the university also worked on the project to bring the chat groups to the university.

Tammi Owens, who was Van Cleve’s predecessor, was the staff member who started the work on the project. Many libraries have this function, and the Krueger library wanted to be one that had it as well, Van Cleve said.

Coordinator of Reference Services Allison Quam was able to get the program to a place where everyone could start to work on it, according to Van Cleve, who discussed how he then took over the project.

According to Van Cleve, the librarians are looking for feedback on the LibChat service so they can improve it for future students.

By Maddie Swenson

Corrections to this article were made on Feb. 15.