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Virtual Reference Desk
The Who, What, When, Where, and Why's

Who can ask a Question? Who will reply?

The virtual reference desk is a service we provide to the St. Ambrose Community (faculty, staff, and students). Once we receive your completed reference form,  we give the question to a reference librarian. The response will include the reference sources consulted, so you can do further research.  The answers you get will depend largely on the question you ask.  If you need something specific, ask a specific question.  If you need a great deal of information, let us know from which sources (internet, books, magazines...) you would prefer we consult for that information.

What should (or can) I ask about?

The virtual reference desk is geared more towards academic or research questions. In most cases, the response that you get will be geared toward helping you research the question yourself.   We will give you starting points based on your expressed preferences.  

Questions asked

  • should pertain to your coursework
  • can be as brief or as detailed as necessary
  • must include your e-mail address or phone number.  We will correspond with you to give you information and get more information if we need to.

When can I expect a response?

Some questions will take longer to answer than others. We will try to answer them, however,  within a 24-hour period.

If you have pressing questions, you can call or come to the reference desk in the Library. A reference librarian is on duty during the following times:

8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. (M-F)
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Noon to 10:00 p.m. (Sunday)

Since we are an academic institution, these hours change during times when the University is closed or on semester break.

Where will the answer to my questions be posted?

We will answer your question by e-mail or phone, whichever you prefer. 

Why a "VIRTUAL" Reference Desk?

In keeping with our mission statement we want to continue to invent and reinvent ways to reach out to you. It is our goal to provide a way to answer questions even if you are place-bound, time-bound, or simply too busy to come into the library for a face- to-face consultation with a librarian.   Fortunately, the Internet provides the means to go beyond traditional reference service.

Back to the virtual reference desk


Last modified

August 2007

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