Review last meeting:
1st Nov 2017: What is reference? Common questions at many libraries. What is it to us in different environments (public, academic, medical, special etc.) Mostly public and academic that have come to the SIG. Discussed possible topics and what we’d like to get out of group.
2nd Mar 2018: Marketing services. Promoting resources and outreach. General discussion on the future and value of reference. Roving reference vs interrupting.
Findings: All come from very different libraries. Not going for consensus but sharing ideas.
What kind of issues do we face when it comes to print reference:
Limited space in libraries. Space devoted to reference collections could be used for other purposes. Academic libraries students want space to collaborate not necessarily research. Space is our number one commodity.
Students don’t use print reference. How to quantify usage of items that don’t circulate.
Expense of reference materials. Spending money on reference materials that may become outdated quickly.
What to keep and what not to keep? What should be in library use only and what can circ?
The scope of reference publishing is dwindling. More and more is going online.
Non-ref print heavily used. Benefit of circulating traditional reference.
Students in academic libraries would prefer to access library materials online.
Inter filing reference materials.
In some cases duplication of reference materials in circulating collection.
What about local history materials? Do some libraries let local history materials circulate? Most kept like reference materials (non-circulating), or kept in special area where use is supervised.
Move to digitize materials for public to access from home but only select materials have been digitized so far. Librarians can see what other cultural institutions have already digitized and have links to those digital materials in catalog. This way they avoid redundant work.
Print reference only really gets used if patrons are directed to it. Or if a professor says these books need to be used.
At academic libraries professors have say over whether materials are reference or circulating.
ILL requests for reference materials are difficult to process, because traditionally they don’t get lent out, but otherwise they would just be sitting on the shelf unused. Materials can be switched to circulating to fill ILL requests. Haven’t been instances of reference materials lost thus far.
Why aren’t we weeding? Time/labor intensive. Difficulty assessing value of materials.
Could library systems centralize reference collections. There are logistical and financial difficulties with transportation of materials, and there are already partnerships with academic and special libraries.
Some libraries make weeding decisions based on whether materials are available through ILL.
Better World Books used to take books from heavy weeding projects. Also used to take unwanted donated materials.
The public or faculty can find weeding projects/empty shelves distressing.
Do staff members know how to use print reference materials? Library science programs are changing and there are generational differences. In academic librarians are familiar with their sections. In public libraries where materials aren’t frequently used librarians don’t know how to use them.
Some communities use reference services more than others.
Customer service and expectations of quick and efficient reference interactions. Libguides are helpful for these situations.
Staff guide patrons to subscription databases. Some question whether we’re pushing resources on people because we’ve spent money on them, when there are authoritative sources online available for free.
Dearth of marketing research anticipating patrons use of collections and patrons information needs
Future of print reference seems to be going online.
Academic and public point students to Credo reference frequently, because it’s a great resource. Credo aggregates reference materials.
Using shelf readers to promote reference databases, and books.
Ideas to boost reference services (ideas from last meeting and this meeting)
Do libraries have reference desks still? Some libraries have one service desk for everything, embedded librarianship, librarians provide one on one reference assistance by walk in request or by appointment. Chat reference services. Some academic libraries use vendors that provide remote reference service (ex: Library Help, Ask 24/7) during hours the library is closed.
Non-Reference Print & Online
Future of Print Materials
The reference group met at Southeastern NY Library Resources Council on Wednesday, July 18 from 9:30am - 12:30pm. These are notes from the meeting. The meeting was convened by Beth Zambito of Newburgh Free Library.
Thank you to Chris Morgan for taking the notes!
The next meeting of this SIG will be on Tuesday, October 23 from 9:30am - 4:30 pm.
Possible topics for the next meeting-
Credo Reference Presentation