AskColorado, a statewide virtual reference service, was launched on September 2, 2003. The service, available for both English and Spanish-speaking patrons, is staffed by over 200 library personnel from all types of libraries throughout the state. AskColorado is funded through a combination of local contributions from Colorado libraries, federal funds provided by the Colorado State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and state general funds allocated to the State Library. Available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at http://www.askcolorado.org/, the librarians at AskColorado answered, on average, over 2,000 questions a month during the service’s first year of operation. The service’s usage figures have continued to increase. During the first two months of 2005 an average of over 5,000 questions were answered per month, over half of them from K-12 students.
- Over 2,000 reference questions were answered per month (on average) during AskColorado’s first year online.
- In early 2005, over 6,000 questions were answered during a single month.
- Nearly three-quarters of respondents found the service to be “helpful” or “very helpful.”
- Well over half of respondents under age 18 (59%) and aged 18-24 (71%) used AskColorado to do research for homework or another school project.
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