AskColorado is a 24/7 resource from the libraries
Ryan Summerlin September 11, 2013
Want to know what causes migraines? Curious about songs written by Frazier Dallas? Desperate to finish that paper about Hamlet? AskColorado!
Did you know that through a virtual reference service called AskColorado, you can Ask a librarian a question any hour of the day? Ask is a free online information service provided by many public and academic libraries throughout the state. It is staffed by information experts 24/7, and is free to any Colorado resident with a library card from a participating library.
Eagle Valley Library District is a participant, so if you have an EVLD library card, you qualify for this great service. If you have a burning question at 2 a.m., log onto evld.org, and look for the AskColorado logo in the lower right hand corner of our homepage. Click on it, fill out the pop up box, and Ask away.
EVLD tries to be open at times when people most need to use the public library, yet there are those times when people can’t get there, or they need information and the libraries are closed. This service allows you to go online and get that help – any time of the day or night.
After you type in your question, you will receive an instant response from a staffing librarian, or at the very least, a follow-up email within 24 hours. Usually questions are answered immediately, or assistance is given to help find the specific information.
During the school year, students of all ages (elementary through college) use this service for research help. Classroom teachers have also directed their students to AskColorado, which can prove helpful in teaching youngsters online research skills. Often the librarian will “push” a website link to a student who has asked a question.
AskColorado is a great example of how Colorado libraries work together to provide reference service. By pooling many library resources together, 24/7 reference service can be very cost effective. Also, with all the different libraries involved, there is a wealth of collective expertise and knowledge available beyond what a single library may be able to offer. Colorado is one of few states in the country to offer this statewide virtual reference service.
AskColorado is one of many services coordinated by the Colorado State Library, and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Ask’s official birthday was Sept. 2, and in its first decade it fielded over 370,000 questions by customers, according to Kris Johnson, Ask Operations Manager at the State Library’s Department of Education.
AskColorado is also associated with AskAcademic, a research queue fielded by college and academic libraries. Member libraries donate money and staff time towards this online service.
For more information on AskColorado, visit its website at www.AskColorado.org.