COMMITTEE: Reference Services in Public Libraries Discussion Group
CHAIRPERSON: Adrianne Peterson
MEMBERS PRESENT: Adrianne Peterson (chair), Amy Harmon (member)
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
VISITORS: Susie McIntryre, Niels Bartels, Patrick Wall, Robyn Lupa, Brett Lear, Jack Albrecht, Kathy Brazee, Mary Nation, Marissa Priddis
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the discussion group is to discuss current issues impacting reference services in public libraries.
SUMMARY: The group discussed: The nature of reference queries has changed; reference transactions require more time and are more complex. Reference activity is shifting from the desk to one-on-one consultation with subject specialists. Increase in e-mail and phone reference; decrease in in-person reference. Virtual, chat, and IM reference. Web self-help (tutorials, etc). Marketing and branding of library services. The Growing Importance of Partnerships (virtual services, sharing of materials, etc). Increased spending on electronic reference products. Library as the “third place” (after home and work/school).
EVALUATION: The meeting was extremely effective in giving attendees a forum in which to discuss current services, trends, issues, and challenges to providing reference services. Many of the attendees expressed that this discussion meeting was the highlight of their experience at ALA Midwinter.
PROBLEMS: None, except that sodas were not available as requested.