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AskUsNow! program a hit at state libraries

July 22, 2010

BALTIMORE - The Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Library Development and Services has joined with Maryland libraries to celebrate 300,000 questions answered by the librarians of Maryland AskUsNow!, the free online service that provides answers to questions, research guidance and help navigating the Internet 24/7.

The celebration of the milestone was July 15 at the North Point Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.

Jim Fish, director of Baltimore County Public Library, and Irene Padilla, assistant state superintendent for libraries, were honored for their commitment to the project.

Through a collaborative effort, AskUsNow! brings together the experience and resources of more than 30 public, academic and special libraries in the state offering a service that none of these libraries could offer independently.

As part of a national network, the librarians share evening and weekend coverage with libraries from around the country and Great Britain. In addition to the live chat service, questions requiring more in-depth research such as business research, the law, hard to find statistics or historical questions, are responded to by e-mail.

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"I am thrilled that this online service is being used at such a high rate by Maryland's middle and high school students working on their homework," said Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools. "It is impressive that we can click on computers from home to access librarians for help with research or find answers to thousands of questions."

The project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Library Services and Technology Act grant funds, through the Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Library Development and Services.

"I am proud of the service that AskUsNow! provides the residents of Maryland," Padilla said. "In this high tech, digital age, AskUsNow! offers students and lifelong learners a way to access information even when the library is closed."

For more information, go to http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/library/.

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