Questions? Ask the IRC

The Instructional Resource Center provides chat and text service to students, faculty, and staff at Ashland University. Questions? Ask the IRC is staffed by the curriculum librarian and Instructional Resource Center (IRC) student workers.

Why chat?
Sometimes questions arise when you are working online in your dorm, somewhere on campus, or even off campus. Chat provides opportunity to connect with the IRC quickly and easily.

Where will I find chat?
Chat widgets are available on several IRC web site pages, including the IRC home page, IRC Services and Pricing, and this page. Chat is also embedded in select education LibGuides and IRC FAQs.

Wait. What widget?
Ask the IRC chat widgets, or boxes, are embedded; only the gray tab is immediately visible. When you arrive on a page, the chat widget will automatically slide open if IRC staff is online. Choose to chat, or say no thanks and close the tab.

Can I chat on my phone?
Yes. Our chat widget will work on your mobile device.

How do I start a chat session?
During scheduled chat hours, the chat widget will automatically slide open after 30 seconds on the page. Choose to begin a chat session, or indicate 'no thanks.' You may click the Questions? Ask the IRC tab at any time to open the chat widget and begin a session. Enter your name, type in your question, and send. It's that easy.

What is the text number?
Text the IRC at 419.938.4134 - standard messaging rates will apply.

When can I text?
Text questions will be answered during regular Ask the IRC hours. Text inquiries sent after scheduled hours will be answered the following business day.

Do you keep my phone number?
No. Text questions are handled through our chat platform, we do not have access to your phone number. We are able to view if multiple queries originate from the same source.


Ask the IRC Hours: Summer 2021


irc hours

Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

Ask the IRC is staffed during regular IRC operating hours.


Ask the IRC: Policy

Review the following policy statements as they pertain to Ask the IRC chat and text:

  • Ask the IRC can help with questions about Instructional Resource Center collections including children’s books, K-12 curriculum textbooks and activity books, IRC circulating items such as materials kits.

  • Ask the IRC will be able to provide basic information about available IRC equipment, laminators and Ellison Machines and die collections, and technology resources.

  • Ask the IRC chat requests users provide a name to begin a chat session; nicknames may be used and anonymous chat sessions are available. When anonymous, users will be given a general “Guest” distinction during the chat session.

  • Ask the IRC can help with general library reference questions. If the question involves research, including database searching and ILL, users may be directed to make an appointment with an AU Librarian.

  • Ask the IRC will not conduct research for users. We will try to provide suggestions to begin the process directing users to databases, LibGuides, AU Library and IRC FAQs pages, and the AU Library and IRC web site.

  • Ask the IRC can help with general library questions. If the inquiry involves circulation or reserves, users may be directed to the main library information desk.

  • Ask the IRC is not able to renew books, recall or retrieve library materials, or place OhioLINK requests. We will be able to direct users (phone, email, reference forms) to library faculty and staff that will be able to help.

  • Ask the IRC chat transcripts are available at the end of every session, users will need to provide a valid email address to receive the transcript.


Ashland University students using Ask the IRC chat are expected to adhere to Ashland University Student Conduct guidelines detailed in the student handbook.

Ask the IRC chat will not tolerate inappropriate behavior including, but not limited to, actions that are threatening, obscene, objectionable, bullying, or illegal. Chats deemed inappropriate will be immediately terminated by the chat operator. Any failure to comply with this policy may result in users being blocked from chat.

Ask the IRC reserves the right to not answer questions that do not follow our policy guidelines.