One of the library’s most enduring roles has been information provision. It remains especially important today as libraries transition from passive storehouses of books into active community living rooms that offer not just information but a variety of different user experiences. Some libraries have responded by implementing new approaches to information provision that appear to fit this new vision. One such approach is roving information service. Using portable forms of information technology for assistance, librarians now roam the library floor, meeting users where they are rather than the other way around. Its advocates laud its flexibility and user-centeredness. But do roving models support this new, user-centered vision of the library? The answer lies in a deeper understanding of the library floor as a social space and how roving models of service affect perceptions of “centeredness” within it. This report reviews the results of an exploratory, qualitative study involving three libraries: two that use a hybrid model of roving service and one library that uses a fully roving model. The study’s findings indicate that indeed roving service can help create user-centered forms of library space, but a library’s method of implementation will matter.
I gratefully acknowledge the support of OCLC and ALISE, who funded this project with an OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant for 2015.
I also wish to thank the researchers, practitioners, and other attendees at the ALISE annual meeting in January 2016 and the American Library Association conference in June 2016 whose questions, suggestions, and general discussion helped me as I prepared this report.
Griffis, M.R. (2018), "Where the Users Are: Reconsidering Information Provision through Roving Models of Service", Challenging the “Jacks of All Trades but Masters of None” Librarian Syndrome (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-65. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0732-067120180000039005
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