On Life Support, But Not Dead Yet! Revitalizing Reference for the 21st Century

PLA 2012 Conference Webinar Series imageYou’ve heard it—reference transactions are down. Expensive resources aren’t used. Librarians feel their skills are underutilized. What can we do? Don’t give up! Innovative libraries are finding ways to revitalize their reference departments by shifting attitudes, changing their collection philosophies and service models, and pioneering new services. Learn proven methods for reinvigorating reference service and find out what you can do to make reference one of the centerpieces of your library again.

This archived webinar was originally presented November 15, 2012, as part of the "PLA Conference Webinar Series: Three Top Programs from PLA 2012."

Running time: 1 hour, 8 minutes

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will:

  • Be able to devise strategies to increase the exposure of their reference staff
  • Understand how to redefine the role of the reference department within their library
  • Know specific ideas for programs and services designed to increase the number of reference transactions

Who Should Attend

Reference services staff; public library staff who serve adults.


Celeste Choate is associate director of Services, Collections and Access, Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library.

Jason KuhlJason Kuhl is executive director of the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library.  Prior to assuming his current position, he served as AHML’s information services manager and later its library operations director.  He began his professional career with the St. Louis County Library, where he held various branch management positions.  Jason has worked in libraries for 18 years and received his MLS from the University of Illinois in 1999.


Richard KongRichard Kong is the digital services manager at Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library. In 2006, he received his MSI from the University of Michigan. He participated in the first ALA Emerging Leaders class in 2007 and was named one of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers in 2012. He tweets as @kongtemplation and infrequently blogs at http://richardkong.com.




This on-demand webinar is available 24/7 for viewing at your convenience. You'll have access to this on-demand webinar for one year from date of purchase.


  • $28 each (less 10% discount for ALA/PLA members)


  • $119 each (less 10% discount for ALA/PLA members)

If access to this on-demand webinar will be shared with multiple people—viewing either on an individual basis or gathered together in a single location—then the group rate applies.

This on-demand webinar is intended for the sole use of the purchaser, whether an individual or group. Redistribution or rebroadcast to another individual or group other than the purchaser is prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation.

How to Register

Please note: As ALA transitions to a new, centralized eLearning site, this on-demand webinar is temporarily unavailable for purchase. If you’d like to purchase access to this on-demand webinar, please contact PLA at plawebinars@ala.org and we will follow up with you when this product is available on the new eLearning site.

Tech Requirements

To playback this on-demand webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended..

We suggest that groups, especially larger groups, plan ahead to use an LCD/LED projector in the room to project the webinar recording. Groups will also want to have speakers capable of amplifying the webinar audio for the entire room.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to plawebinars@ala.org, or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA.