“Homework Help” Chat Service- FAQ

What is online “homework help”?
The“Homework Help” online chat is a free information service for students provided by Halifax Public Libraries.  By clicking in the chat box, students can remotely ask a question of library staff in real time.


What kind of questions can I ask?
 We will guide you to sources of information on the Web that may be helpful for your project - so we won’t do your Math homework, but we’ll send you some great Math help sites! There are three kinds of questions that are best for this type of service:    

  1. questions that involved short, factual answers, such as a“what is the population of Japan?”  We will send you back the whole answer (and tell you where we found it )
  2. questions about research. We will send you some websites that will have information on your topic  (eg.  Halifax Explosion, good sites for Math Homework Help).  We can even have the site pop up on your screen.
  3. If you need help choosing your next great read, we can help with that, too!


Will I get the answer instantly?    
  No, we will get your question as soon as you type it and send it, but remember, we are real people on the other end, not a search engine like Google. Once we get your question, we then have to do a bit of searching (or a lot ) on the Web or in the library collection to find the best answer to your question.   While you are waiting, you can always minimize the chat window and do something else on the computer - the chat window will pop back up when we are ready with your answer!

Where can I find this service?
Go to the Kid's@theLibrary page of the library's website. There is a chat box on every page on the right-hand side bar. Simply start typing in the lower box and follow the directions.

When is Homework Help available?
This service is provided during open library hours, until 1/2 hour before closing.
Monday - Thursday - 10 am to 8:30 pm
Friday and Saturday - 10 am to 4:30 pm
Sunday - 2 pm - 4:30 pm ( if library is open)
When the service is “offline”, you will be prompted to send in your question via e-mail, and we will send back a response within two days.

Does it cost anything to use Homework Help?
  No, just like all of our other great library services, Homework Help is a free service.

Are there other ways that I can get help with my homework?
  Yes! Visit the Homework Survivor page to find great links on many school topics. Or, you can choose to email or phone us. Options are available just below the chat box. Or, drop in and visit - our friendly staff are always ready to help - online or in person!

Do I have to have a library card to use Homework Help chat?
  No, you do not have to have a card to access Homework Help - you can get to us from any PC with an internet connection. However, if we are going to put library materials aside for you to pick up as part of our answer to your question, you will have to have a library card to borrow them.

Do I have to give my name or any other personal information to use this service?
No, your communication with our staff is completely anonymous and confidential. All we see is the IP address of your computer. If your question is a complex one, we may ask for your e-mail address so we can get back to you after we have done some research.

Does this service have any other rules I should know about?
There are two important things to keep in mind when using Homework Help that will help make your experience a positive one:

  1. Be Patient! Remember there are real people on the other end who are working as fast as they can to find just the right answer to your question.  Give yourself (and us!) enough time to get the information you need. You can minimize the page to work on other things while you wait.
  2. We expect people using Homework Help to abide by the same rules of behaviour that they would use if they were in the library “in person”. Callers that use abusive, obscene or threatening language will have their session immediately terminated, and such calls may be traced.

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