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Resources for SJSU Librarians


Select "LibAnswers" from the blue dropdown menu on the LibApps homepage (, and select "Connect" from the LibChat dropdown menu

 Or select the link that reads "LibChat: You are offline: Sign In"

 Once you've connected to LibChat, this is how your chat page will look:


1) Status: 

  • Online - status set to green, available to accept chats, will be notified of new chats, tickets, and internal communication.
  • Offline - status set to red, cannot claim chats, will not be notified of new chats, tickets, or internal messages.
  • Internal - will not be notified of new chats or tickets, but can be seen as available by other LibChat users, will be notified of internal messages
  • Set Away - status set to orange, cannot be assigned chats, but can still claim chats, and be notified of new chats and internal messages.

2) Settings: turn on/off sounds and notifications, and switch between regular and multi chat overlay views.

3) Patron Chats: incoming and active chats will display here. To claim a chat, click the "Claim Chat" button that appears next to the patron's name. If a chat is already claimed, it will show the name of the operator that has it.

4) SJSU Reference: a group chat area intended to answer reference and library operation questions. If you have a question you can post it here and any online SJSU operators can see and answer it.

5) Direct Messages: You can message operators individually. If someone has messaged you, a red circle with the # of unread messages will appear next to their name. To read the message and reply, click the name of the operator.

BE AWARE: the "All San Jose State University Library Staff" operator is how SJPL contacts us for questions and transfer requests. If you notice messages here, make sure to check them.

Once you have claimed a chat, you can now message directly with the patron. Be aware of some helpful tools during your chat, including:

1) Transfer: If a patron is looking for another user or department, you can transfer directly by clicking the transfer button at the top of the page, and selecting the appropriate user or department. Stay on the chat until the party you have transferred to has entered the chat; leaving before they enter the chat will disconnect the patron. If transferring to SJPL, select the "San Jose Public Library" option located under departments.

2) Attache File: To send a file to the patron, such as a PDF of an article or Screenshot image, click the paperclip icon above your chat text box.

3) Canned Messages: SJSU library has created a number of pre-created messages for common scenarios, including a greeting, goodbye, and "haven't heard from you in a while" message.

4) Screenshare: through Zoom, you can speak directly with a patron, and share your screen, or have them share their screen. 

After a chat has ended, be sure to add it to your Ref. Analytics by clicking either the graph icon () at the top, or the link at the bottom of the page, both marked with a red #1 arrow in the following image:

Features to be aware of after ending the chat:

1) Submitting the chat to Ref. Analytics: make sure to submit one every time. If a patron disconnects, and returns with a new chat, you only need to submit one Ref. Analytics. Be aware that the question autofills to the patrons first line of text.

2) Creating a Ticket: you can create a ticket from a chat for a specific person or department to follow up with later. When creating a ticket, make sure to get the patron's email, and to email the person or department you are sending the ticket to so they can be aware to look out for it.

3) Emailing a Transcript of the Chat: you can get an email of the transcript sent to you or to the patron. 

For further help: - has FAQ's, training videos, and more.

To view your chat transcripts, select "Transcripts" from the "LibChat" dropdown

The page will default to all SJSU Reference chats from the last month. You can narrow this down to your chats by selecting your name from the "Owner" drop down, and adjusting the date field.

  • To view a transcript, click the eye icon () located to the right of the transcript result line.

There are several ways you can personalize your LibChat experience. These include:

Setting a Nickname: You can chose a nickname that will appear on chats with patrons, rather than your full name. Be aware that even with a nickname selected, your full name will still show on your side of chat, and in internal chats with other LibChat users.

Choosing a Profile Image: You can choose to have either your LibApps profile image or a generic profile image () show during your chats. If you choose to have a generic profile image, you can additionally change the background color with the Profile Image Background Color picker.

Create an Idle Message: You can create a message to automatically send if you've been idle on a chat for a set amount of time, to let the patron know you are still there. 


To customize LibChats, select your email from the menu at the top of the page

If you're curious what the chat looks like from the other side, this is it.

On the left, a chat in progress. And on the right, a chat that has ended.

If a patron wants to email themselves a transcript of the chat, they can do so by clicking either the mail icon () located at the top of the page anytime during or after the chat. Or selecting the "Email yourself a transcript of this chat" option while submitting feedback.

If you have a patron who keeps disconnecting, you can mention that by clicking the new window icon () located in the top left of page, they can have the chat separate from the page.

Selecting "I would like to be contacted for a follow-up" creates a ticket from the chat.

Chat Reference Best Practices

Patron chats should be answered promptly. If more than one chat is available, answer the chat that has been waiting the longest.

Start chat with a warm greeting, naming the patron. If using the greeting canned message, insert the patron's name to make it feel more personal, and not like they're talking with a robotic answering machine. Some greeting examples:

  • "Hi (patron's name), welcome to SJSU's chat service, how can I help you?"
  • "Hello (patron's name), hold on while I read your question."
  • Greeting canned message: "Hello (patron's name) and welcome to the SJSU Library Online Chat Service. Are you a SJSU graduate student, undergraduate student, staff, or faculty member?"

Pay attention to patron's written tone and formality level, as you have no body language to go off of. It is recommended you mirror the formality/informality of the patron to help establish a connection, and make the patron comfortable. 

  • Type how you Talk - use a conversational manner.
  • Be patient with slow responses, there are a number of reasons this may be happening (slow internet connection, poor typing skills, multitasking, etc)
  • NEVER USE ALL CAPS, it is interpreted as shouting

A Note about Multiple Chats: it is recommended that you have one chat at a time. Chat's that aren't picked up within 30 seconds will give a message option to have the patron send an email rather than continue to wait. Only pick up a second chat if you are comfortable and proficient at handling more than one patron. 

If you pick up a second chat be sure to:

  • After greeting the patron, inform them you are helping multiple patrons so they don't worry about longer pauses in the chat
  • Use reference interview questions to keep the second patron engaged if you need time to work on the first patron's question
  • Double check that you are messaging and sending links to the correct patron

Scenarios where you could take a second chat:

  • You have almost finished helping your first patron, and can handle a second
  • Your first patron is reviewing information you sent them and doesn't need immediate attention

Give a play by play of what you're doing, especially if a task is going to take some time. 

  • Example: Hold on while I do a couple of searches
  • Example: I'm going to transfer you to someone from circulation, hold on while I connect them

Check in with a patron every 3-5 minutes to confirm you are still there, and still working on their question. They can't see you're working, and usually need confirmation that the chat hasn't dropped and you haven't forgotten them.

Don't assume competence - try to explain resources and share how you conducted searches, so patrons can recreate them later if they need to. Avoid just giving links with no context. If giving a link to a page on the library's website, give instruction on how to find it later.

  • Example: Here are the search results from the database Film & Television Literature Index. To get these results, I searched "racism in film" within the database. Then noticed that "racism in motion pictures" was used as a subject term on many of the articles, and changed my search terms to that, "racism in motion pictures"
  • Example: Here is the link to our list of databases. To get here, click the "Articles & Databases" link under the search bar on the library's homepage (

Whenever possible, use Permalinks to direct patrons to a webpage. See the Permalinks libguide for how to create permalinks from most of the library's web resources.

Break up long responses into a few entries - this avoids long pauses, and allows patrons to begin reading your response

After answering their question, or providing a resource, confirm that was what they were looking for:

  • Example: How do these search results look?
  • Example: Is this the article you're looking for?