From American Libraries, September 2006, "Straight Answers from George Cigale," p. 23:
Explain the "Ask a Librarian" service. Ask a Librarian (AAL) is similar to our Live Homework Help tutoring service, but instead of connecting students with an algebra or chemistry tutor, the library user is connecting with a reference librarian for live, one-to-one help. Librarians do reference interviews and help people find the information and answers they seek at the moment they need help.
What does this service offer that a library does not? We sell AAL software to libraries that want to have their own librarians provide the live help, and we have "Librarians by Request" that our clients can use to extend (replace?- DJ) their reference services 24/7 or provide backup help. With Google and other self-service options available to library users, AAL allows librarians to position themselves as the information experts they are in the eyes of tech-savvy people.