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Ask Us - Chat: Overview

About the Ask Us - Chat Service

Ask Us! - Chat is a service using chat software from SpringShare to answer questions from the MIT community. 

The service runs 10-5 pm, M-F. 

The e-mail list for participants is

The calendar resources is Lib: Ask Chat. The slack channel is #ask_chat

Chat Staffing Guidelines

  1. Staffing pool includes all ACE staff. Anyone that works directly with the MIT community and has adequate knowledge of MIT Libraries has the capability to participate in the chat service. Other staff from across the library willing to make the time commitment and training can volunteer with managerial support. All staff with liaison roles participate in reference services.
  2. In any schedule period (typically 6 months), the participant list for chat should include at least 23 people drawing from LIRS, DSS (2 minimum) and ID&LA (4 minimum). The chat coordinator will weigh many factors when choosing the participant list out of the staffing pool. 
    • RATIONALE: Staffing budget of 23 is roughly 2 hours per person with additional staff for schedule flexibility. 
      1. Current hours 10-5, M-F = 35 hours, 1 staff member per hour
      2. Each full-time staff member contributes no fewer than 2 hours per week = 20 people
      3. We have found that 4 hours of service is considered a burden.
      4. In order to prevent too many assigned hours due to illness, vacation coverage, or departures: 2-3 additional people are recommended.
      5. Part-time staff or staff with less than full time liaison responsibilities can determine their contribution with their supervisor and the chat coordinator; a minimum contribution of 1 hour a week is recommended. 
      6. Staff in the pool but not currently participating may be called on to join chat if there is a need.
      7. In order to run a smooth service it is helpful to have 6 weeks notice prior to an upcoming schedule period of any necessary hiatus or schedule change.
  3. New chat participants will be provided with training to ensure their success; training typically takes 4 hours. 

Ask Us - Chat participants

Name Phone E-mail Library/location
Albaugh, Nick 21510 nalbaugh Dewey
Ayers, Phoebe 34442 psayers Barker
Boutin, Anna 66600 boutin Rotch
Chan, Tina  55160 tinachan Dewey
Crummett, Courtney 48290 crummett Hayden
Graham, Anne 37744 grahama Barker
Kohler, Stephanie 35698 skohler Hayden 
McInerney, Molly 31837 mcinerne Barker
Alena McNamara 85593 amcnamar Rotch
McReynolds, Georgiana 39349 gmac Dewey
Murack, Jennie 86680 murack Rotch
Rodrigues, Maria 36724 mariar Hayden
Ruiz, Monica 89138 moniruiz Barker/Rotch
Sharma, Shikha 35670 sharmash Dewey
Sherratt, Chris 35648 gcsherra Hayden
Silver, Howard (lurker) 39319 hsilver Hayden
Szarko, Mark 88022 szarko  Hayden
Willison, Margaret 35676 willison Dewey
Wilson, Jaclyn 44283 jdwilso Barker
Zieman, Jessica    36040 jmzieman Document Services