Maryland’s Full-Service Checkout

By Crystal Conde Premium

Have you ever researched late at night and found yourself in a quandary? You just can’t seem to find the record you’re looking for. It would be nice to be able to call up your local library or e-mail a librarian for advice, but the library closed at 5 p.m. and the librarian is at home, sound asleep. If you live in Maryland, however, librarians are available to help you 24 hours a day. Earlier this year, the state launched Maryland AskUsNow, a project designed to give residents 24/7 access to library assistance. Residents can take advantage of the service by logging on to their local library’s Web site or visiting <>. Librarians will search print and electronic sources during their consultations with AskUsNow users. The staff for this project come from 20 public-library systems, five academic libraries and the state law library.

Maryland isn’t the first state to offer 24-hour librarian services. In January 2002, New Jersey started Q and A NJ, which received almost 5,000 questions in the first month it was available to residents. New Jersey’s round-the-clock librarian service can be accessed at <>.
From the August 2003 Family Tree Magazine