Library offers around the clock reference help

November 18, 2002

It’s 2 a.m., the Library’s closed and a weary undergraduate needs some research assistance for a paper that’s due in a few hours. But there’s no need to panic – help is just a mouse click away through a new collaboration between 10 New England colleges and universities.

Starting this week, the campus Library system began offering professional librarian reference assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week in real time via the World Wide Web. The service, known as BLC ASK 24/7, is made possible through the joint efforts of members of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC).

Along with the Amherst and Boston campuses, other BLC members participating in the program are Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, and Williams College.

The BLC ASK 24/7 service is staffed by professional reference librarians located in the BLC member libraries and by professional reference librarians from around the world. Librarians from the BLC participating libraries will cover the BLC ASK 24/7 service weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The live reference service offers an educational alternative to the Web search engines used by researchers and students working at odd hours of the day or night.

Founded in 1970, the Boston Library Consortium is a cooperative association of 19 academic and research libraries. Its purpose is to share human and information resources so that the collective strengths of the group advance the research and learning of the members’ constituents. The BLC supports resource sharing and enhancement of services to users through programs in cooperative collecting, access to electronic resources, access to physical collections, and enhanced interlibrary loan and document delivery.

For more information about the BLC ASK 24/7 service, contact Anne C. Moore, Reference Services, 5-0148 or by e-mail (

Library users can access the service from the “Ask a Librarian” Web page