KnowItNow: Chat With A Librarian Live Online Even After Your Library Has Closed
Did you know you can chat with a Librarian live online during regular Library hours and even after your nearest Lorain Public Library System Library building (LPLS) is closed?
Introducing: KnowItNow, Ohio’s Online Reference Service. It is a collaboration of multiple Libraries and independent qualified Reference Librarians throughout the State of Ohio – working to answer your questions online.
“It’s like having a Librarian at your fingertips,” said Cheri Campbell, Lorain Public Library System Librarian, “This is a service for convenience. If your Library is not open, here we are online,” she said.
Get answers to all kinds of questions. Available Reference Librarians will help you find resources for homework, help you in your research, suggest books to read, and just answer questions that satisfy your general curiosity.
You may submit questions online through either real-time live chat or email, and via your mobile phone’s text messaging. You may also access KnowItNow via a mobile phone application.
To send a text message, text knowitnow to 66746.
Librarians are waiting for your questions on KnowItNow all seven days of the week, except for certain holidays, from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m.
You may submit questions after hours via email from 1 a.m. until 7 a.m., and the next assigned Librarian will answer your questions.
Access KnowItNow online via the Lorain Public Library System website: www.lorainpubliclibrary.org. Click on the KnowItNow 24/7 button on the right side of our website, or find KnowItNow online at: www.knowitnow.org
Over 60 public and academic Libraries in Ohio participate in KnowItNow.
KnowItNow was founded by the Cleveland Public Library in 2001. It expanded to all CLEVNET Libraries including LPLS in 2003, and then became a statewide 24 hours, seven days a week service, open to all Ohio residents in 2004.
Though Librarians on the KnowItNow service are no longer available 24/7, any questions after service hours may be submitted via email.
KnowItNow is the busiest service of its kind in the world with an average of 9,000 sessions per month. In 2011, over 71,000 questions were asked.
Campbell said she has received all kinds of questions, from patrons asking who was the 14th U.S. President, to asking the location of a certain restaurant, to needing help researching a topic for a grade school or college paper.
“We will get you started but we won’t do all your research or homework,” Campbell said.
KnowItNow is funded through the independent federal agency Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, awarded by the State Library of Ohio.
“Although KnowItNow is not new, the texting feature is fairly new,” Campbell said “KnowItNow is still a work in progress.”
For more information on how to use KnowItNow, contact the Lorain Public Library System’s Main Library Reference Desk at 440-244-1192, ext. 253 or 1-800-322-READ, ext. 253.
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