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Ask a Librarian

Chat/IM service is temporarily unavailable. The service that the library used to offer chat/IM reference service, Meebo, has been discontinued. We are exploring other chat reference options and will restore this service as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you can call us at 415-422-6773 with your research questions.

When are the Zief research librarians available via instant message?

We monitor our IM service during our regular fall and spring semester research center hours (holiday and summer hours may be different):

  • Monday – Thursday: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Sunday: 1:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Have a more complicated legal research question? There are lots of ways to get the research help that you need:

  • Call the research center desk at 415-422-6773
  • Drop by the research center during our desk hours, or
  • Contact any of the research librarians to make a one-on-one appointment for research assistance - the links listed below next to each librarian's name will take you to an online research appointment request form for each librarian.  
Librarian Phone Request Appointment
Lee Ryan (415) 422-2253 www.goo.gl/lZyCV
John Shafer (415) 422-2240 www.goo.gl/KEu3k
Amy Wright (415) 422-5112 ajwright@usfca.edu
Suzanne Mawhinney
(415) 422-2252

Our IM Service Policy

Instant message research assistance is a service for USF faculty, students, and staff. We give members of the USF Law community using this IM message service priority over USF non-law patrons. If time permits, we will assist USF Law alumni who submit questions via IM.

In accordance with our existing policies, Zief librarians cannot provide IM research assistance to the public. Instead, we will refer public patrons to publicly-funded law libraries.  We recommend that members of the public contact the AskNow service offered by the Council of California County Law Libraries. Please refer to our reference service policy for more detailed information about our research support services and the patrons that we serve.

Zief librarians are monitoring the IM service while we sit at the research center desk, so we may need to step away from an IM session to assist patrons who approach us in person or telephone us at the desk.

We will try to let patrons know when we need to step away from an IM research support session. If Meebo displays the message "not available -- please leave a message" please remember to include an email address in your message so that one of our librarians can respond to you.

We encourage USF students, faculty, and staff to add "ZiefLibrarian" as a friend in their IM clients. That way, if you navigate away from this page or contact us when we’re not staffing the IM service, we will be able to get back in touch with you. The Zief librarians have the following accounts:

Account Name
AIM, Live, Google Talk, and Yahoo ZiefLibrarian
Jabber ZiefLibrarian@jabber.org
ICQ 453791880