Public libraries today are faced with a number of challenges. The need to maintain relevance and promote the value of library services, combined with drastic funding reductions necessitates new ways of working. To thrive in today’s ‘always on’ networked world, public libraries have to embrace new combinations of digital and face-to-face services, providing information to users instantly via multiple devices, at a time and place that suits them.
Enquire offers a unique solution to these challenges. By working collaboratively with partner libraries in the UK and US, Enquire gives your library the means to offer your users a virtual reference service every day of the year, regardless of the time.
“It’s a bit like going into a library and asking a question in person, but can be done from your computer or laptop.”
By eliminating time or location constraints your users can access the information they require with reference staff continuously on hand, without the need for additional staffing or extended opening hours. Your library will have the resources to demonstrate to the local community the value of their public library in the digital sphere and moving away from traditional physical methods.
Enquire can be used as a diverse tool to overcome funding restrictions. Your library can deliver specifically targeted reference services to groups in the community, offer homework help or use as a training tool whereby users can talk via chat and have a full transcript of the session. Enquire helps cut down travel costs and saves time for both your staff and users.
Interaction with users is available via multiple channels. The Qwidget, Enquire chat widget, can be embedded in multiple web environments including social media platforms. All interactions from chat, email and text messaging are collected in one account to enable seamless workflows regardless of the method of interaction allowing staff to view, respond and access statistical information.
Enquire is a free to use service for the communities of subscribing local authorities. This positions your library as a reliable source of information, available 24/7 outside of the library walls and an alternative to commercial information providers.
Enquire is accessed on the Bookmark Your Library website, the online gateway to the UK’s public library services and resources. Accessing the Enquire service through Bookmark Your Library is restricted so that only users from subscribing authorities can access the service. Bookmark Your Library is a fantastic national platform for Enquire, which is supported by ongoing marketing promotion, with both services having the same goal to encourage people to engage with libraries.