Instant Message (IM) FAQ

Instant Messaging Research Assistance is available on most Library pages, in the menu on the left side of the page. Click the IM Help Online message to start your chat session. You can also Text Library Help at (415) 933-0385, and we will respond through our Instant Message service.


Who can use IM services?

Priority is given to SF State students, faculty, and staff. IM is also available to anyone connecting to the service from a campus computer. Questions are taken in a first-come-first-served order.

Who receives my IM?

Messages are received at the Library's Research Assistance Desk. If we are already assisting another patron, you may not get an immediate response. Please be patient; we will get to you!

What if I don't get a response?

Try another reference service on the Research Help page.

When can I IM?

IM service will be online during the hours that Library is open. See Library Hours. When IM services are not available, the icon will be red, and The IM Help Offline message will be displayed.

What kinds of questions can I IM?

Ask any library or information related question and we will do our best to guide you. However, because IM services depend heavily on online resources, questions requiring a detailed response or a variety of resources may be referred to another library reference service. Research Assistance service includes an element of teaching that empowers users to become increasingly independent users of information resources.

What about privacy?

SF State's J. Paul Leonard Library is committed to privacy protection. Information collected via any of our research assistance services, including IM, is not shared with third parties. We will delete any personal information (NetID, personal e-mail address, etc.) that happens to be collected through the IM service. Read about your Privacy Rights. Read about Library Ethics.

J. Paul Leonard Library – Research Assistance Philosophy

Librarians at the Research Assistance Desk of the J. Paul Leonard Library are committed to user-centered and approachable reference services. Our purpose is to provide relevant point-of-need services, resources, and information that support the education and research activities of University students, faculty, staff and members of the community. Our goal is to teach and enhance information skills that are necessary for academic success and in life-long learning. We proactively respond to users' changing needs by continually evaluating their expectations and realigning services to better meet those needs.