How Do I Chat with an Online Librarian about My National History Day Project on Maryland AskUsNow!?

December 23, 2015
by Paul Chasen, Statewide Coordinator of Maryland AskUsNow! 

AskUsNow! is the free, statewide interactive information service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that uses the expertise of librarians to provide answers to questions, research guidance, and help navigating the internet.  AskUsNow! is a cooperative service of Maryland libraries and available for any resident or student of Maryland.

Before, during, and after school hours, Maryland librarians (and sometimes librarians from others states and countries) are live and ready to chat, and find out how they can help you with your National History Day (NHD) project.

Before accessing AskUsNow!

What will you tell the librarian?  Let’s prepare our AskUsNow! NHD question!

  •  I am in the 7th grade?  9th grade?  Another grade level?
  • My project is about a:
    • famous person?  place?  event?  group?
    • specific time period?  1700s?  1800s?  1950s?
    • specific part of the world?  Baltimore?  Somewhere else in Maryland?  U.S.A?  South America?  Another country or continent?
    • Great examples of National History Day topics are available at
  • I am accessing AskUsNow! because I want to learn how to:
  • find primary and secondary sources.
  • narrow down my thesis statement.
  • cite a source.

Sample National History Day Questions to ask on AskUsNow!

Where can I find reliable primary sources for my 7th grade, National History Day topic on the Apollo 11 in the 1960s?  The theme is exploration, encounter, and exchange.

I am having trouble narrowing down my 8th grade, NHD thesis about the Silk Road in the 1300s.  Do you have any resources that will help me out?

How do I cite an online newspaper article from the 1940s about Yellowstone National Park in MLA format for my 10th grade, NHD project. 

During the AskUsNow! Chat

  1. Be open:  Tell the AskUsNow! librarian what you need the best you can.  Prepare to chat at least 10-20 minutes to receive the total AskUsNow! experience.  Some chats are even longer, but eventually the bell rings or it’s time to go to bed.
  2. Be honest:  Tell the librarian where you have looked and found useful information.  No need to fear if you state Google or Wikipedia.  Deadlines are useful too!
  3. Learn more about your library:  Besides the Maryland History Day Resources for Teachers and Students, your local library website will guide you to reliable online resources, databases, and research tools, and even point you in the right direction to finding valuable printed resources.  There are also statewide library resources and services available.
  4. Get ready to access what your library has to offer:  AskUsNow! can be used anonymously or by identifying yourself with an email address.  We strongly encourage you to get a library card and have it ready.  No card?  Learn how it gives you access to your library’s history databases or online newspapers.  Either way, the librarian shares resources with you.
  5. Get comfortable:  The librarian will give you time to review the info and resources.  The librarian may also suggest additional NHD help from a librarian in your county by email or visiting your local library, whichever option is best for you.
  6. Apply what you have learned:  Add in an email address and you will receive a copy of the chat.  Don’t have an email address?  Not allowed to use your own email address?  Ask your teacher or family if you can use their email address.
  7. Thank the chat librarian!:  AskUsNow! librarians love to learn about how you are doing with your National History Day project.  We are looking forward to the one-on-one chat time with you.

 Learn more about Maryland AskUsNow! at or contact Paul Chasen at 443-984-4955 or