Ask away no more in British Columbia
| Jul 01, 2010
British Columbia's libraries have pulled the plug on the AskAway! Program, which lets patrons from all over the province ask questions of librarians online, in real time, and receive an immediate answer.
The provincial plan for libraries and literacy, set out in Gordon Campbell's 2004 strategic planning document, "Libraries Without Walls," was to bring the "world within the reach" of anyone with Internet access (and a library card). Back then, Campbell was optimistic about the potential for digital technologies to promote reading in B.C. He described libraries as "the front lines in the effort to make British Columbia one of the most literate places in the world."
AskAway launched in 2006. Four years and 130,000 questions later, the program ended, due to a withdrawal of funding by the ministry of education. Those most affected by AskAway's closure likely will be B.C. school children in grades five to 12, who asked most of the questions fielded through the virtual reference service. Read more in The Tyee online.