Is There a Resource for That?

The Development of a Chatbot to Provide School Librarian Professional Development




School Librarians, Professional development, Chatbot


Chatbots have become integral parts of society, demonstrating how artificial intelligence can automate everyday tasks. This presentation describes the development of a pilot chatbot designed to provide school librarians with professional development. The first iteration of the chatbot was built using the ChatterBot Python library. It generates responses included in a question bank and utilizes Natural Language Processing, which allows it to learn through interaction. Questions are collected in chat logs and used to train updates. The second iteration of the chatbot was built using Python and OpenAI. It also incorporates responses from the original question bank.

The preliminary chatbot responses originated from questions asked by school librarians who needed assistance with developing programming for English Learners (ELs). An IMLS funded (RE-250111-OLS-21) national forum was implemented to determine how to develop services for ELs. Suggestions from the forum participants were then coded and used to develop examples of queries for the chatbot. Many responses are linked to credible internet resources.

Later, additional questions were collected from pre-service school librarians. Students also volunteered to locate online resources and references to answer questions. These questions and resources were reviewed before using them for the chatbot. Based on current feedback, it has been determined that the chatbot is a cost-effective way to provide educators with on-demand professional development. Because the questions and resources in the chatbot are not all-inclusive, it serves as a way for the researchers to collect additional questions and identify new ways to serve the needs of school librarians.

Author Biographies

  • Daniella Smith, University of North Texas

    Daniella Smith is the Hazel Harvey Peace Endowed professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of North Texas. Her research interest include LIS education, school librarianship, STEM education in schools, and information seeking behaviors.

  • Ijay Kaz-Onyeakazi, University of North Texas

    Ijay Kaz-Onyeakazi is a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, data mining and analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning.

  • Lydia Oladapo, University of North Texas

    Lydia Ogbadu-Oladapo is a Doctoral Candidate in Information Science at the University of North Texas. She previously received an MBA and MS in Agric Development Economics at the University of Reading, UK, and has 10+ years of experience working in the humanitarian space. Her research interests include Information Behavior, Health Informatics, AI, robotics, and the elderly; however, her current research explores the information behavior of the marginalized population, especially senior adults.






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