calculator-404000_640Chatstaff’s flexible staffing model means that you have total control.

  • Want us to handle the whole thing for you and be available for your patrons 24x7x365?
  • Want us to cover only the hours the library is closed?
  • Want us to be there as “just in case” backup for those times when things just get too hectic?

When and how we staff is entirely up to you. We charge based on contact hours, which is to say the time our librarians spend with your patrons. Based on your desired schedule we can give you an estimate of how many contact hours you’ll have over the course of the year — for example, 3 am is going to have a lot less traffic than 3 pm so it would cost less to have on your schedule.

We’ll keep in touch with you about how the traffic use is going, so if partway through the year it looks like we’ve over-estimated, you can experiment with proactive or expanded hours. If we’ve under-estimated then we’ll work with you to figure out the cause of the high traffic and either take steps to control it or increase your included hours.

There are three methods we can use to estimate your traffic:

LibraryH3lp or RefChatter customer

If you have a record of your traffic on one of our partner companies, then all you need to do is email us and tell us the schedule you want.
We can request your past statistics from your platform provider to get you the most accurate quote for your actual population.

Statistics from other platforms

If you have records of past traffic, we can use those and our experience with average library traffic patterns to build a quote for you.
Just email us with what hours you’ll want covered, and your past traffic information including the past coverage schedule.

Trying chat reference for the first time

If you’re getting ready to start offering virtual reference for the first time, try our quote generator.
It will guide you through the process of selecting coverage hours and levels, and then give you an estimate based on your population, type of library, and desired schedule.

In addition to staffing, we also offer a number of supplementary services including analytics, data ingestion, and FAQ maintenance. For pricing, please contact us at

All quotes are valid for three months.