Chat Reference has become a standard service for public, academic, and research libraries over the past few years. Gone are the days of calling to check on the library hours or stopping by to see if a particular book is available - patrons have come to expect the convenience and rapid turnaround of on-demand chat! Staffing a chat service, however, can be challenging. What if the person at the Reference Desk is helping another patron or your Research Help Desk is only staffed during specific hours? Enter, the LibAnswers Chatbot. Chatbot serves as the first point of contact for chat patrons, guiding them through options, and passing them on to a particular resource or staff member as needed.
During our time working with and for libraries, we've learned that every library is different. Each institution has its own unique space, set of policies, procedures, organizational structure, etc. It only makes sense that every Chatbot will need to be different, too. That's why we've made them totally customizable!
We take privacy seriously! Chatbot is wholly contained within each LibAnswers system for security and privacy. There is no sharing of Chatbot data amongst LibAnswers sites.
With Chatbots, you'll be able to create your own chatbot "Flows" to guide end-users toward the answers and resources they're looking for, before they talk to a librarian. Chatbot is rule-based, not AI, so you'll have the opportunity to control the entire user experience.
The way your Chatbot interacts with patrons depends on you! Here are some ways you can set up Chatbot Flows to best suit your library's needs:
Chatbot uses a database of predetermined rules set up by librarians