Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte
Answer worldwide questions in users' native language
"Pregunte goes beyond the traditional reference service of a single library. It brings together the expertise and resources of 48 Spanish libraries to offer our users the greatest virtual reference service of this type in Spain."
Maria Isabel Cuadrado Fernández
Head of the Department of Library Planning, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Sub-Directorate General for Library Coordination
Since 2008, QuestionPoint® has provided the foundation for the nationwide Spanish virtual reference service, Pregunte: las bibliotecas responden. Reference librarians at more than 40 libraries throughout Spain contribute to Pregunte, which is managed by the Sub-Directorate General for Library Coordination under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. "The Ministry promotes and coordinates cooperative services between Spanish public libraries," explained Maria Isabel Cuadrado Fernández, the Ministry's Head of the Department of Library Planning.
Although the Spanish government provides the service primarily for citizens, the reference staff will address questions from any user. "Pregunte allows us to quickly provide personal reference service in Spanish whenever it's needed," Isabel said. "It is only necessary that you ask your question in Spanish."
Spanish speakers from all over the world can ask reference librarians questions through email and chat for free. "Currently, we are working to adapt the service to a mobile-responsive design," Isabel added. "In a few months, our users may ask questions from their mobile devices directly." The Pregunte website also offers additional resources to help library users find answers without consulting a librarian. "Our Pregunte online resource offerings help users develop their information literacy skills," she said.
"Our users are happy that they can talk directly with a librarian in real time. Our librarians are a global team, regardless from which library are answering."
Isabel shared some recent feedback from Pregunte users. A university student said, "The information I have received will help me very much in my job search!" A researcher was "pleasantly surprised by the elaborate response," and a high school student called it a "fast and efficient service."
"Pregunte is an example of good cooperation between Spanish public libraries and the QuestionPoint service, ensuring access to information for all our citizens," Isabel said. "The development of a national reference service through public libraries guarantees all citizens access to free information. Pregunte furthers public libraries' active contribution to the information society as knowledge centers accessible to all."
Services used by Pregunte
- Consists of 10 regional libraries from different autonomous communities, 23 state-run public libraries and 15 local public libraries
- Managed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
- In 2015, delivered 2,352 consultations (1,366 by mail and 986 by chat) to 1,052 different users
- Librarians receive and answer questions in Spanish, Basque, Galician and Catalan (the official languages of Spain)
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