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Replacing staff with students to monitor LibChat service: transition process and lessons learned

Harold Goss (University Libraries, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Emy Nelson Decker (University Libraries, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 20 October 2022

Issue publication date: 22 November 2022

410

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to detail the incorporation of student assistants into a newly implemented chat service. It details the approaches used for training students and developing the chat repertoire.

Design/methodology/approach

This article reviews the existing literature on the topics of student assistants participating in library reference services and peer-to-peer engagement. It then details the first step of the transition process used for moving primary chat monitoring responsibility to library student assistants and away from staff and librarians as it existed previously.

Findings

Incorporating student assistants into the chat rotation was beneficial to the libraries and to the students participating in the chat service. While librarians and staff enjoyed help in covering the hours, student assistants learned research skills on the job that would potentially assist them in completing their course assignments.

Originality/value

Utilizing student assistants in library chat services is becoming increasingly popular with budget cuts and the scheduling demands that continue to grow for librarians and library staff. This article provides context for incorporating students and shows the value that the students receive via their participation in a chat service.

Keywords

Citation

Goss, H. and Decker, E.N. (2022), "Replacing staff with students to monitor LibChat service: transition process and lessons learned", Reference Services Review, Vol. 50 No. 3/4, pp. 419-431. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-06-2022-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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