When learners were asked “Do you use your library resources, collections and services?” less than 10% responded “yes”. And while libraries have made attempts to address these issues with traditional methods, to-date none have improved this or had the impact needed. Current methods are not in-synch with how and when students learn.
Both Gower College and the wider library community have seen that vocational, work-based and distance learners have poor engagement with library spaces, library resources, library services as well as librarians as support mentors for their course and research. The answer to the challenge is being tested with the development of a specialised chatbot as a proof of concept with the long-term aim of it being scalable across the UK educational library sector.
The chatbot will address the issue of parity of service for students who cannot physically come into college and students who need assistance outside business hours. The chatbot will address research, study and skills needs and be available across all devices and platforms. For enquiries not being resolved by the chatbot there will be a link to the library’s reception desks and/or link directly to campus libraries telephone services where learners can discuss their issues with a member of staff.