Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Lesley Farmer's The Human Side of Reference and Information Services in Academic Libraries is a text aimed at providing a general overview of the services libraries offer in a continually evolving environment.
Although Farmer's idealistic claim that higher education's “ultimate goal is truth” (p. xi) is somewhat unnecessary and irrelevant, she does emphasise several salient points, namely that libraries and librarians must develop strong relationships with academics to more fully realise the library's potential to provide timely and appropriate resources and services to the institution's students, and that libraries are no longer merely a tool in the quest for intellectual endeavour, and as such must meet the same if not more stringent requirements in providing exceptional customer service.
Each chapter discusses technology's impact on a different area of reference/information service, from rudimentary tasks such as hiring information services staff to qualitative measures that include assessing librarians' influence on student learning.
The Human Side of Reference and Information Services in Academic Libraries is a useful reference for beginning students of Library and Information Services courses, as it provides a snapshot of the current position that libraries are in, although librarians currently working in the industry may find Farmer rehashing a lot of information that is already widely known and available.