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LibAnswers Best Practices and Training: Chat Best Practices

This guide gives Library staff information on using LibAnswers to provide reference and circulation service to library patrons. The guide includes information on best practices for providing service to patrons virtually through the LibAnswers Dashboard an

Chat Best Practices

Answering Questions

  • When answering questions, make sure that your statements are short, quick and to the point. 4-5 short statements (sent separately) will show that you are still there, working on the response, and be more readable than one long paragraph. Ellipses help indicate a continuous transaction.

  • Avoid Library jargon, argot, lingo.

  • In a chat, you may be asked questions related to circulation. See Answering Circulation Questions in Chat.


  • Chat questions may need to be referred to liaison librarians, other library departments, or specific individuals. In these cases, switch to email reference. See Transferring and Referring Chats for correct procedure.
  • Notify the patron that their request has been referred, and provide contact information.
  • Contact the liaison librarian or expert to make sure the referral is appropriate, or to notify them of the referral.

Department Responsibilities

  • Chat messages are left for the chat group.


  • Chat reference is available Monday to Friday 1-4pm.
  • The schedule is available on the SharePoint website (login required).