Tennessee State Library and Archives Email, Chat, and Telephone Reference Use Policy and Privacy Information

Email, Chat, and Telephone Reference Use Policy

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is pleased to offer several modes of communication for those seeking information remotely. The following policies apply to the Library & Archives’ use of telephone, email, and chat communications. These policies are in addition to the institution’s Web and Social Media Policies and online catalog privacy policy.

  • The Library & Archives offers “Ask Us a Question” email service to those seeking information or guidance of a simple or more extensive nature. The Library & Archives strives to respond to email questions within two to ten business days, depending on the level of complexity.
  • The Library & Archives offers chat and telephone reference services to patrons with questions of a quicker and simpler nature. These questions may include how to search Library & Archives collections or how to order specific records. While the Library & Archives attempts to answer chat and telephone inquiries in real time, these services are dependent on available staff. Priority assistance is given to on-site patrons; chat and telephone inquiries are assigned in the order in which they arrive. Telephone and online chat services are currently available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, excluding State holidays. Outside of these hours, the web form is available to submit emailed questions.
  • The Library & Archives reserves the right to terminate chat and telephone conversations that include rude language, harassment, or those which contain repetitive or inappropriate questions.

Privacy Information

Patron correspondence is retained for statistics, training, and research purposes by library staff and is not shared externally. Under Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) § 10-8-101, library records—including emails and chat transcripts—are confidential. Please be advised that TCA § 10-8-102 provides an exception to this confidentiality in the event of court orders.