Have a question? AskColorado. | VailDaily.com

Have a question? AskColorado.

Daily Staff Report


AskColorado is a free, online information service unveiled last month by the Colorado State Board of Education.

High Country school officials hope local students will take advantage of AskColorado for their studies.

“More and more students are using the Internet for research and for homework,” said Summit School District district spokeswoman, Karen Mason. “We want to make sure they know this is out there.”

AskColorado is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and Spanish for all Colorado students and residents. The service is provided by the Colorado State Library, the Colorado Department of Education and 43 Colorado community libraries.

Anyone in the state can can use the service to ask questions and get information in real time. Using a chat format, library staff answers questions, helps find information and points people in the right direction for researching a topic.

Students in rural areas often struggle to find homework resources at their local public and school libraries. By offering assistance over the Internet, participating libraries help rural students directly and immediately with their assignments and research projects.

“This is a great example of how libraries in Colorado are working together to provide services. During these tough economic times, it is difficult for an individual library to provide all the staff needed to offer service around the clock,” said state board of education chairman Randy DeHoff. “By pooling the resources of many libraries all around the state, we can provide more cost-effective, 24-seven reference service.

“With all the different libraries involved, we have a wealth of collective experience and specialized knowledge available beyond what any single library could offer,” DeHoff added.

AskColorado, found on the web at http://www.askcolorado.org, has already provided the answers to more than 800 questions.

“Good service,” one user commented. “(It’s) amazing that people are waiting to answer any sort of question.”

“(The librarian) was great,” another user wrote. “I got just what I needed in under 10 minutes. This is a fabulous service.”

“AskColorado uses innovative technology to assist students in learning, and, by providing the service in both Spanish and English, it can help close the achievement gap,” said state board of education Vice-Chairman Jared Polis.

The first year of AskColorado service is funded through a federal Library Services and Technology Act grant. Individual libraries supplemented the grant with money and staff time.

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