on August 05, 2022 Library Education Webinars

Webinar: Is Reference Dead?: Practical Considerations for Evaluating and Improving your Reference Services

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Originally presented August 3, 2022

In this presentation, Christina Holm and Sarah Kantor discuss how reference staffing models may be a significant predictor of a decline in reference questions.

They review the results of their two-year case study which indicated that among five staffing models: (1) staffed and visible reference desks, (2) on-call and visible reference desks, (3) staffed, unseen reference desks, (4) on-call, unseen reference desks, and (5) chat reference, where librarians and users “talk” to each other in real-time using special software, users seem to prefer staffed and visible reference desks.

Drawing from these conclusions, Kantor and Holm present practical suggestions for improving or promoting reference services in academic environments as well as discussing how COVID-19 continues to impact reference services.

Click below to experience this webinar as a tutorial. When you continue past the introduction to the webinar, you'll be prompted to log in. We require login to view the whole tutorial so we can provide certificates of completion for your records and for professional development credit. No purchase is required and you can create a Niche Academy account if you don't already have one. The certificate will be available for download when you have completed all sections of the tutorial.  


Click the link below to download the presentation slides:
Is Reference Dead? Slides

Click the link below to download the chat transcript: 
Is Reference Dead? Chat

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Welcome to the reference desk thumbnail

Welcome to the Reference Desk

You work at one of the most important services in the library. In many ways, you’ll be the “face” of the library for your campus, responsible for helping patrons find answers to their questions. Reference isn’t just about “answering questions”—in fact, that’s just a small part of it. A lot of reference interactions are about teaching patrons how to search for, find, and evaluate information so they can do it on their own.


The reference interview thumbnail

The Reference Interview

At the heart of reference services—and library services—is the reference interview, a consultation between staff and patrons that matches information to a need. During the reference interview, library staff recommend sources and help patrons interpret, evaluate, and use information to meet their needs. It is one of the most complex, important, and rewarding jobs in the library. 

Reference skills for live chat

Reference Interviews in Live Chat

Friendly, accurate, and fast service is essential at the reference desk. The same is true for live chat—or virtual reference—which allows us to connect with patrons the moment they need help, whether they’re inside or outside the library. Mastering online chat skills will ensure that you provide excellent service and reduce patron frustration.


Making Citations Easier

Making Citations Easier

Many students find citations confusing or boring to put together. Sometimes it can seem like dealing with citations takes you away from actually writing! But there are ways to make citations easier. Using citation generators and managers can save time, make research more efficient, and help you cite like a pro! 

Learn More