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Beyond the desk: Enhanced reference staffing for the electronic library

Jackie Mardikian (Medical sciences resource librarian/head, circulation services, Library of Science and Medicine, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey.)
Martin Kesselman (Head, reference and instructional services, Library of Science and Medicine, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey.)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 1 January 1995

Abstract

The changing reference environment and reference staffing have been the topic of several articles in the library literature, discussions at the American Library Association conferences and a recent conference offered twice by Library Solutions Inc. of Berkeley, California, entitled Rethinking Reference. Libraries are looking closely at the model at Brandeis University of eliminating the reference desk and replacing it with an information desk with research consultations with librarians taking place in an office. Larry Oberg urges librarians to stop thinking of the reference desk as a key reason for being a librarian. He contends that paraprofessionals can and do perform well at a reference desk, freeing librarians to concentrate on higher‐level tasks. These discussions and examples demonstrate a variety of solutions academic libraries have taken regarding the changing face of reference, and the evolving roles of reference librarians in moving towards the electronic library. The electronic library brings us new options and new opportunities and as a result librarians need to develop new ways of thinking and organizing reference services.

Citation

Mardikian, J. and Kesselman, M. (1995), "Beyond the desk: Enhanced reference staffing for the electronic library", Reference Services Review, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 21-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb049234

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1995, MCB UP Limited