In academic libraries, instruction and personal assistance from librarians trace their origins to the close of the nineteenth century.
William Stewart Wallace, University Librarian from 1923 to 1954, formally established reference service in 1925, appointing Hester Young, Head of the Cataloging Department, to the new position. Young held the post until her retirement in 1938. Today, reference service is available at all libraries on the three campuses. Reference staff also provide assistance online, via e-mail and through personalized research consultations.
In 2004, librarians developed an online reference service, LiveHelp, as a pilot project, allowing students, researchers and faculty to access the research and bibliographical expertise of librarians online. The pilot was a success and the service, now known as Ask a Librarian, has expanded considerably.