Pennsylvania has a statewide live chat reference service called Ask Here PA. Similar to Answerland, Pennsylvanians can enter via a partner library site or via the statewide portal (www.askherepa.org). They also have both public and academic accounts in QuestionPoint – so any of us who staff Answerland chat may encounter Ask Here PA patrons.
Here are some tips for working with Ask Here PA patrons:
- If the patron has entered chat via the statewide portal, the patron’s library will appear as either “Ask Here PA Academic” or “Ask Here PA Public.” It may be useful to ask the patron to indicate which library they use in order to direct them to specific resources. You can use the Group Member Policies drop-down menu on the policy page to locate policy pages of partner libraries (the same way you can do with Answerland libraries; see screenshot on page 8 of this document).
- Pennsylvania has statewide databases available to all residents, called POWER Library e-resources. Patrons must either access the resources from a participating library, or have a public library card to access remotely. If a patron claims not to have a public library card, they can sign up for a temporary eCard (this link is available on the policy pages).
- Ask Here PA has provided Cooperative access to their POWER Library e-resources. When you click on the “POWER Library Databases” link in the policy pages, you will be taken to a screen with instructions – click on the POWER Library icon at the bottom of the screen to access.
- Pennsylvania has a statewide catalog called Access Pennsylvania. Patrons cannot use the temporary eCard mentioned above to borrow print materials. If they want to borrow print materials but do not know their local public library, then ask for the patron’s zip code – or name of the city or county in which they live – and mark it ‘Followup by Patron’s Library.’ The Ask Here PA librarians can use that information to assist the patron.
- If you want to take a look at their policy pages outside of chat, click on “Search Policy Pages” in the left menu (near the bottom) and do a search for “ask here pa”.