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Seattle University

Answer Me This

How do SU's librarians help provide round-the-clock assistance to students at SU and other Jesuit institutions?

January 14, 2014

AJCU library consortium

Q:  How do SU's librarians help provide round-the-clock assistance to students at SU and other Jesuit institutions?

A:  Seattle University's librarians are part of an Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) consortium that provides a 24/7 virtual reference service for students at 18 participating schools. In addition to the in-person and online service they provide to SU students, our librarians devote six hours a week (one hour each) to answering any reference questions that might come up from students at other institutions. Which means that whatever time of day (or ungodly hour of night), our students and faculty and thousands of their counterparts at Jesuit sister schools never go wanting for the reference help they need.

"In one shift I might help a Fordham student find out if a book they want is at their library or help a faculty member at Boston College determine if their library has full-text access to a 1982 article published in the Chaucer Review," explains Lynn Deeken, instruction and assessment coordinator in the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. "And if I can't answer their question, I get them connected to the local resource that will be able to best help them."

For the overnight and busy times, Deeken adds, the AJCU consortium provides a third level of back-up service with a group of librarians ready to help our students.

The virtual reference coordinators meet once a year to compare notes, identify best practices and enhance the system. SU hosted this year's gathering, which included 14 coordinators (pictured left)-two of whom, appropriately enough, attended virtually.

The schools participating in the consortium are: Boston College, University of Detroit Mercy, Fordham University, Gonzaga University, College of the Holy Cross, Le Moyne College, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola Notre Dame, Regis University, Rockhurst University, Santa Clara University, University of Scranton, Seattle University, Spring Hill College, Saint Joseph's University and University of San Francisco.