About the Ask a Librarian Service

Ask a Librarian is a free service for those seeking assistance with library and research-related questions from U-M Library reference staff. We answer questions in-person and by phone at our in-library service desks, and online through email, instant messaging, and texting. We also offer short, individual consultations by appointment or in-depth consultations with subject experts.


We’re available seven days per week, excluding university holidays and intersessions, during varied service hours:

Appointments with experts can vary. Contact the subject specialist, technologist, etc. in your subject area to arrange an appointment.


We primarily serve U-M Ann Arbor students, faculty, and staff, but anyone can ask a library-related question.

We specialize in information about local library resources, collections, facilities, and services. We also answer questions and comments about library-supported technologies, including our website and online resources.

We strive to answer all questions, but some are best handled by other campus units or outside organizations. If we can’t answer your question, we’ll refer you to someone who can.


We offer several communication options so you may choose the methods that work best for you. We are aware that our instant message interface is not compatible with all assistive technologies.

Instant Message (IM) Compatibility

The Ask a Librarian instant messaging interface is compatible with all modern web browsers and the following assistive technology:

  • NVDA, works well with Firefox on Windows.
  • JAWS, works well with Internet Explorer on Windows. Inaccessible with Firefox.
  • ChromeVox, known issues with both Windows and OS X: librarian IM response is not automatically announced.
  • VoiceOver, inaccessible with all browsers tested.

For more information, please see the browser compatibility vendor statement and assistive technology vendor statement.


  1. Call (734) 764-9373 during service hours.
  2. Text message (734) 315-0507.
  3. Use our web form to contact us.


Please contact askus@umich.edu with feedback about our Ask a Librarian service.


We’re committed to confidentiality, in accordance with the library's privacy statement. We will never send you unsoliticited messages.

A Note about Acceptable Behavior

Our librarians treat Ask a Librarian service users with respect and courtesy. We expect service users to treat our librarians with the same respect and courtesy. Unacceptable online behavior will not be tolerated and may result in a report to schools, Internet service providers, and/or law enforcement agencies.

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Last modified: 11/06/2018