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I enjoyed your interesting reflection Bronyn and your perspective. I’m learning a great deal from reading accounts of this topic from the forum posts and agree with you that online and face to face reference work are complementary, sharing different roles. Short quick questions are well served by chat functions but longer and/or more complicated queries are better served by a conversation in person. I thought Georgia’s comment, that reference librarians may not get to know the needs of individual students when interaction occurs only via email, was interesting – as we become more and more able to complete tasks online we can spend a lot less time interacting with each other and much can be lost along the way. I hope both services can be maintained into the future.
Thanks for this well written account of the topic.