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Voice Assistants, Connecting You to Your Library

Voice Assistants, Connecting You to Your Library

If you've ever asked Alexa, Google, or Siri a question, you've used a voice assistant. The King County Library System (KCLS) is exploring how voice assistants can connect you to library resources.

Get the App

From the app, generate a code to enable the Libro skill on Alexa.

How does it work?

Watch a short video to get familiar with LIBRO.

using a phone possibly voice assistant app
using a phone for video chat or voice assistant app

Project Background

We're learning how people who live in King County think about and use voice assistants. To do this, we're looking at three groups of technology users:

  • Digital Natives This group tends to prefer digital assistants as their first source of information.
  • Sight Challenged and Older Adult Populations This group may find looking at a computer screen or visiting the library difficult.
  • Members of the Public at Large This group may have questions related to their library account or library offerings.

KCLS has partnered with to offer a trial of the LIBRO app through November 2020.

September of 2019

KCLS ran an online survey about voice assistants. Approximately 80% felt that KCLS should offer a voice assistant. From 1,400 survey responses, we heard from over 400 people who volunteered to fill our 30 focus group spots. These 30 focus group members were the first to use the voice assistant. Their feedback led to improvements in the current version of the app. In May 2020 they will come back to share final feedback and recommendations.

Summer/Fall 2020

KCLS will run a second survey to collect feedback from any LIBRO users.

We're also interviewing libraries that offer a voice assistant to identify best practices. We'll be publishing what we learned in a whitepaper through LYRASIS in late 2020.

This project uses funds from a LYRASIS grant.


How to Use LIBRO

Focus Groups

General Questions

  • Libro is a voice assistant. Once installed, patrons can:

    • Search.
    • List check-outs
    • List holds.
    • List pick-ups.
    • Place a hold.
    • Cancel a hold.
    • Pause a hold.
    • Resume a hold.
    • List events.
    • Find library open hours.
  • Alexa, iOS, and Android devices.

  • The King County Library System (KCLS) won a Lyrasis Grant to investigate the interest and viability of voice assistants for libraries. This includes patron surveys and focus groups. Of 1,400 survey respondents in 2019, over 80% felt that KCLS should offer a voice assistant.

  • Using Lyrasis Grant funds, we’ve hired Crux Consulting to run the patron and staff focus groups.

    • January 29: 29 library users and 10 staff focus group members.
    • March 2: all staff.
    • Late March/early April: all library users.


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