Ask Here PA is the Fastest Growing Digital Ref Service in the Country

With 125,000 users in fewer than two years, an online chat called "Ask Here PA" is the fastest-growing digital reference service in the country, state officials said today.

"In less than two years, the program is on target to compete for that coveted title -- most used virtual reference program in the nation," said Mary Clare Zales, Pennsylvania's state librarian and deputy secretary for libraries.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review has the story.


As one who staffs the service, many of the questions come from students. In my experience, many of them do not understand the service and think it is a chat room. They make inappropriate comments, are impatient, rude and often don't have a real question. Some of the questions come from people inside a library and deal with questions about that library's service that could be answered if they went to a service desk. We do get real, legitimate questions from people; those are a pleasure to answer.