askON Virtual Reference


askON is a real-time virtual reference service via web-chat and text message that offers immediate, interactive, and knowledgeable help online.  

askON staff respond to questions on a wide range of subjects. They assist with research guidance, provide information about college library services, and can help visitors navigate other online resources.  

askON is operated by OCLS as a cost-recovery, not-for-profit service for college libraries and is guided by a steering committee of library directors and staff from participating libraries.  

Contact Information

  • For support with this service, contact Lauren Rupert.

  • If your college is interested in participating in this service, contact us at

Participating Colleges

The askON service consists of 11 participating Ontario colleges:  

For the askON schedule, see Service Hours for askON.


Participation in askON comes with many benefits:  

  • A lot for a little: 68 hours of service weekly in return for 4 to 14 hours of weekly staffing contribution. 

  • Professional development for staff, who develop proficiency in virtual reference and information literacy. 

  • Best practices of reference service delivery for high visitor satisfaction, verified in independent evaluations. 

  • Adding to your library’s suite of services, provides an additional resource for your students.  

  • Engaging online communities and new generations of library users in a convenient way. 

  • Ease of use with transferable technology & online support tools for staff. 

  • Skilled support from library studies student operators for high-traffic service hours. 


askON is supported by the askON Steering Committee. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to recommend strategic direction and offer oversight to the activities of askON. The current chair is Marnie Kursiss-Morrow (St. Clair).