KCLS Foundation awarded $34,600 LYRASIS grant for A.I. exploration

The King County Library System Foundation (KCLSF) was named one of five 2019 LYRASIS Catalyst Fund recipients, and awarded $34,600 to help the King County Library System (KCLS) fund a research project titled, "Conversational Artificial Intelligence: Bringing the Library to Your Living Room." The project aims to empower the public to utilize library resources anytime, anywhere. The Catalyst Fund grant will enable KCLS to explore community demand for, and research the feasibility of, implementing a library application to interface with common conversational artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems, such as Alexa, Siri and Cortana.

“We are thrilled that the KCLS Foundation has been named a 2019 LYRASIS Catalyst Fund recipient,” said KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “This grant will allow KCLS to continue to find innovative ways to serve our patrons in the digital age, and increase digital equity and access to library resources.”

KCLS will partner with ConverSight.ai to run a pilot program with up to 50,000 KCLS patrons on their existing LIBRO platform. KCLS will also run focus groups to explore community and staff perspectives on how conversational A.I. could be used to enhance library services and resources. KCLS patrons who are interested in volunteering for either the pilot program or focus groups, may register at kcls.org/voice after August 9, 2019.

LYRASIS is one of the largest non-profit member organizations serving the global landscape of academic and public libraries, scholarly research, archives, museums and galleries. The Catalyst Fund, now in its third year, is designed to foster innovation leading to new services and programs worldwide. This year, five programs are being funded, for a total of $126,370 in awards.

About King County Library System
Founded in 1942, the King County Library System (KCLS) is one of the busiest public library systems in the country. Serving the communities of King County (outside the City of Seattle), KCLS currently has 50 libraries and more than 700,000 card holders. In 2011, KCLS was named Library of the Year by Gale/Library Journal. In 2018, residents checked out more than 4.8 million digital eBooks and audiobooks through Rakuten OverDrive, making KCLS the #1 digital circulating library in the U.S. and #3 in the world.

King County Library System Media Contact: Sarah Thomas, 425.369.3277, sjthomas@kcls.org