Live Online Reference
Welcome to the Ask Now live online reference service! Is this the best way to find the answer to your question? Before you begin, please read the following guidelines:
- You will probably not be "chatting" with a librarian at your local library; this is a national network and the librarian may be on the other side of the country. Direct contact with your local library might be a more efficient way to find your answer.
- This service works best for brief factual questions, or general search assistance that can be done quickly and effectively using online resources.
- Questions should be brief, and answerable with documented information.
- Hypothetical questions and original research are beyond the scope of Ask Now.
- Knowing why you are asking the question and which sources you have already tried will help us find your answer. Please be prepared to answer a few simple questions about your needs and prior research.
- The librarian will not have access to library card records, nor will they be able to renew books for you.
- Legal and medical questions cannot be answered on this service. They may be referred to other sources, but this cannot be construed as advice.
- If your research requires a literature search, you should contact your local library for guidance.
- For homework assistance with grade 4 - 12 school assignments, San Francisco Public Library card holders should go directly to Live Homework Help (Tutor.com). Other libraries may offer Tutor.com for their own patrons; check your library's homepage or call them for this information.
- We cannot answer quiz or contest questions.
- Please allow us enough time to answer the question - there may be several sources we must examine to find the right answer for you. The typical question takes about 20 minutes to answer. If you are in a hurry, a call to your local library may be a better strategy for you.
If you need help that is beyond the scope of Ask Now, you may visit your local library, call us, or send us an email.