Welcome to the Ask Now live online reference service! Is this the best way to find the answer to your question? Before you begin, please read the following guidelines:
- You will probably not be "chatting" with a librarian at your local library; this is a national network and the librarian may be on the other side of the country. Direct contact with your local library might be a more efficient way to find your answer.
- This service works best for brief factual questions, or general search assistance that can be done quickly and effectively using online resources.
- Questions should be brief, and answerable with documented information.
- Hypothetical questions and original research are beyond the scope of Ask Now.
- Knowing why you are asking the question and which sources you have already tried will help us find your answer. Please be prepared to answer a few simple questions about your needs and prior research.
- The librarian will not have access to library card records, nor will they be able to renew books for you.
- Legal and medical questions cannot be answered on this service. They may be referred to other sources, but this cannot be construed as advice.
- If your research requires a literature search, you should contact your local library for guidance.
- For homework assistance with grade 4 - 12 school assignments, San Francisco Public Library card holders should go directly to Live Homework Help (Tutor.com). Other libraries may offer Tutor.com for their own patrons; check your library's homepage or call them for this information.
- We cannot answer quiz or contest questions.
- Please allow us enough time to answer the question - there may be several sources we must examine to find the right answer for you. The typical question takes about 20 minutes to answer. If you are in a hurry, a call to your local library may be a better strategy for you.
If you need help that is beyond the scope of Ask Now, you may visit your local library, call us, or send us an email.