It’s very easy to still think of libraries in purely physical terms. You walk in – (lidded) coffee in hand – tip your hat to the friendly librarians, and pull a beautiful, hard-back tome from the shelves, feeling primed to escape into its milky white, or perhaps slightly yellowing, pages. Delightful.
As you can probably tell, I get a lot of joy from working in a place that holds so many physical books, but as a Library intern this year, I have also found it really exciting discovering the joys, practicalities and usefulness of the “virtual library”. Our online resources are constantly expanding and evolving, with new e-books and online access being made available weekly, if not daily, in our catalogue.
As the globe has had to learn to adapt in these particularly strange times, we’ve had to rely on our virtual library of online journals, books and databases, as well as being confronted with a new challenge: providing support to our library users from home. One big part of that is our brand-new service: Ask DULib.
Ask DULib is a part of our Library website that contains a number of useful tools if you’re looking for library support or guidance. You may miss our smiling faces at the Help & Information desk (we miss yours!), but we now offer a Live Chat service that runs Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat-Sun 11am-4:30pm. Over chat, we’ll instantly be there to help you out with anything from queries about accessing online resources to putting in an e-book request. We can also refer you to our Faculty Librarians if your query is subject-specific.
Alongside our chat service on the Ask DULib webpage, we also have a large database of library FAQs, which you can search by keyword or topic. And if you can’t find the answer you are looking for there, we have an ‘Email Us’ question form that will direct your query straight into our inbox.
Speaking for myself and other colleagues who have been responding to chats and messages over the past month or so, it’s been fantastic to keep lines of communication open with library users and to feel that we can still help from a distance. We are looking forward to when our library doors do open again but, in the meantime, feel free to Ask DULib, and we’ll do our very best to help.