Putting the Librarian back in the Library

I have been thinking about reference services lately.  When I was in library school there was a lot of talk about the “Google Effect” – the idea that people just looked things up on Google and no longer needed reference help, or even books for that matter.  It seemed to be de facto that reference services were dying.  Now that I am in my first post-graduate position I can say that it is not so.  Reference services are alive and well and living in a community college near you.  As a matter of fact, I have students approach the desk all the time who have no idea how to use the library catalog, not to mention the databases.  I do not know if they regularly search Google or not, but they still need help to find information and they come to me to ask for that help.  So it was with this in mind that I came across the following quote from Lorcan Dempsey’s blog:   

“Library services are not always associated with people. How often do subject pages, for example, carry a name and contact information who can be consulted?

Connaway and Radford (2007) [PDF] note how students are sometimes reluctant to use virtual reference because they do not want to interact with somebody who remains anonymous or who they do not know, even if it is a library service. [First Monday. Always on.]”

To be continued…

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