E-mail reference is carried out using RefChat 24/7 reference service software. Librarians respond to e-mail reference questions within 24 hours. If no librarian is scheduled on Sunday or if the library is closed on Sunday, e-mails received after 4:00 pm on Saturday will be answered on Monday. E-mails from patrons should contain the following information:
Librarians at LCC answer a variety of questions by e-mail. Primarily, the goals of e-mail reference are to:
In teaching information literacy, guide patrons to the source when the requested information can be found, rather than supplying the answer. Always provide directions on accessing the library's resources.
When receiving a reference question by e-mail, librarians may reply immediately to indicate that they have received the question and are working on it. Further information can be obtained by conducting a reference interview via e-mail. E-mail reference interviews can be tricky and time consuming. Remember the steps used in face to face interviewing (paraphrase, ask open questions, clarify, verify, get all needed information, follow up, and closure). Maintain good interpersonal communication during the process and call the patron if necessary.
Be concise and coherent with answers, but maintain a personable and friendly tone. Patrons should be guided to the full range of sources, both print and online. Make sure you inform the patron about resources available on the library's website.