How do I ask a question?
You may email your question to Library.Reference@noaa.gov, call the reference desk between 9:00am and 4:00pm Monday through Friday at 301-713-2600 x157, or fax your question to 301-713-4599.
You may also chat with a librarian between the hours of 1:00pm and 4:00pm EST on Monday through Friday. Please read our Virtual Reference Policy before starting a chat session.
Virtual Reference Policy
The staff of NOAA Libraries will use chat reference as a synchronous access point to answer questions posed to us by NOAA employees and the general public. Priority is given to NOAA employees if a queue forms.
Chat reference focuses on questions that can be answered using primarily electronic and online resources. If other resources are needed to answer a question, the librarian may choose to arrange to respond through another medium, such as email or phone.
NOAA libraries reference services cannot provide medical, legal or financial advice.
The distribution of copyrighted materials through chat is prohibited to non-NOAA employees. You must have a NOAA web address to request articles using chat reference. Distribution of copyrighted material to NOAA employees is subject to terms of agreements between NOAA and publishers of the requested material.
NOAA librarians take our patrons' information security very seriously. Any interaction between a patron and librarian can be made anonymous through the chat client, depending on the patron's preference. NOAA Library virtual reference service records all transactions, including the chat conversation and the URLs for all web sites visited. Local copies of these transcripts are held by the library for future use in building a knowledge base and for program assessment and evaluation. Patrons have the option of having the chat session emailed at any time during the session. We will not release any personal data collected to any other party, except when required to by law.
In summary, NOAA Libraries intends to use virtual reference as a synchronous access point to answer questions posed to us. The information harvested from these communications will be compiled by the library for building a knowledge base and for program assessment and evaluation.
If you would like to visit a NOAA Library, please consult our NOAA Libraries Network page.
Who may use this service?
What kind of questions may I ask?
You may ask the same sorts of questions you would ask at any library. Our subject area covers the oceanic and atmospheric sciences.
When might I expect a response?
For NOAA employees, we will respond the same day. For others, we will try to respond within 24 hours. On the weekend, a response will not be generated until Monday.