How our Librarians are Continuing to Serve FAU Students Virtually

While we’ve never had a semester like this, FAU Libraries’ staff has still been working hard to get students the help they need! Our Instruction and Engagement Services Department quickly adapted to remote learning by offering virtual office hours, staffing the “Ask a Librarian” chat, and connecting with students one-on-one. During the several months that we’ve been remote, our services have made an impact on students and staff. Below are some of the changes we’ve implemented to continue to be here for students and make a difference when help is needed. 


When you visit the library’s homepage, a chat box will now pop-up asking if you want to connect with one of our librarians. Since March, our Instruction and Engagement department has helped over 700 library patrons through Ask a Librarian. We have had about 500 chat, 200 email and 60 text conversations. Our staff is proud to be the person who students can virtually go to for simple or complex questions.

“Since the library has begun using the Ask a Librarian widget on the library's homepage, I have had the opportunity to engage with many students during my on-call shifts,” said Lawrence Mello, Assistant University Librarian. “Often, students come into the chat either scared or frustrated because they are new to the research process and not sure where to go."

"By the end of working with the students, they realize there is nothing to be scared or frustrated over.  They leave our conversations happy and ready to engage with the library's resources.”

Lawrence Mello, Assistant University Librarian


Ask a Librarian has been a tremendous resource for students. In fact, 66% of our questions about research take place in this chat. It’s an easy way to get help quickly. One of the best parts of Ask a Librarian, is that it is anonymous, so you don’t have to be nervous.


 “I think it’s easy to feel intimidated when approaching the library because students feel like they should already know the answers.  Students are always learning something new, and the library is here to help with that!”

Kristy Padron, Scholarly Communication Coordinator & Associate University Librarian

For more information about Ask a Librarian, click here.


If you are looking for a more personalized research consultation, you can now take advantage of virtual office hours. Since March, our librarians have spent over 200 hours in virtual office sessions with library patrons.

Students can join a WebEx meeting with a subject specialist Monday through Friday during designated hours, or they can schedule a personalized research consultation.

Our librarians want students to know that these sessions are casual learning experiences that are catered to each person, no matter their skill level.

“We can help every step of the way to some extent or other, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help as often as necessary,” said Sheri Edwards, Electronic Resources Librarian. “Also, we are a great environment for making the mistakes that naturally go along with learning, because we don’t give tests or hand out grades."

Our research assistance also extends beyond undergrad and graduate students. We have medical librarians that offer virtual office hours for the College of Medicine.

“We offer several ways of connecting to the COM students but one-on-ones seem to be popular and I have had several reach out for literature assistance since we have gone virtual,” said Tiffany Follin, Medical Liaison & Outreach Librarian.


“Most recently, I was able to help a student the same day they reached out. The student was grateful I was able to meet after my meetings after normal business hours, and I was thrilled I was able to make the session work."

Tiffany Follin, Medical Liaison & Outreach Librarian 

To see our list of virtual office hours, click here. To request a one-one research appointment, click here.


Even if our students are working late at night or early in the morning, we are still here to help! We have created a YouTube playlist with some of our most popular video tutorials. Here you will find information about APA citations, business resources, an introduction to library resources, and more!

At the end of the day, our librarians want to make sure you get the help you need. For more information about any of our instruction and engagement resources, visit their website.

Last modified at 10/07/2020 - 15:52 PM