It is reasonable to assume the existence of a new “dynamic” that influences how to measure reference services in libraries and how we evaluate the reference librarians who provide those services. Traditional, face-to-face delivery of reference services is reported to be declining, and there is myriad evidence, albeit largely uncollated and little evaluated, which suggests reference librarians are delivering significant and increasing amounts of the services they render in network environments. These trends raise questions, in turn, about how well we understand the current state of affairs in reference services, particularly where the management and evaluation of reference services in network environments are concerned.
The purpose of this study is to investigate relevant circumstances and conditions bearing – directly and indirectly – on changes in the nature, form, substance, and effects of reference services – through the reference librarian experience. Specifically, this attitudinal study will account for and assess changes in reference services (in the context of a medium-sized private university with a national reputation for successfully integrating information technologies into the educational process), with the further aim of developing an understanding of how to capture statistics and evaluate reference services and personnel in this dynamic environment. Reference librarians at a second mid-sized public university library were also interviewed for comparative data analysis in this study. Select portions of this paper have appeared in other publications in shorter, focused, introductory articles.
Karr Gerlich, B. (2009), "Work in motion/assessment at rest: an attitudinal study of academic reference librarians – a case study at mid-size university (MSU A)", Williams, D.E., Nyce, J.M. and Golden, J. (Ed.) Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 323-371. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0732-0671(2009)0000028010
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