Week 3 Reference Services: Services Review

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      Samantha Maddox

      User expectations for libraries and librarians are in demand. The speed of information and the accessibility to information, we have grown accustom to turning on one of the devices that connects us to the outside world and getting an answer. This usually occurs through channels such as Google so for this weeks reference review I had to take stock of the thought that this would be my initial place to search to get instant gratification and ultimately, get the book in my hand. But what if I choose to utilise a service in an industry I would like to see myself employed. And because the institution I wanted to seek the information from is on the other side of Brisbane to where I was sitting comfortably on my lounge, I decided to utilise the option of chatting directly to an online librarian.

      The library was UQ, Social Science and Humanities. I am personally aware of the huge catalogue of gender books on hand they have available and the author I was interested in was not available when I was a student there but a lecturer had told me that they were looking at getting this author on the shelves.

      I went to the UQ Library page and in the bottom right hand corner a small box appears to prompt the user stating, Ask us – online now!

      You have the option of entering your name and leaving it blank, I choose to write my name and then there is a drop menu asking if you are a visitor to UQ, a student, staff, hospital staff, or Alumni. I choose Alumni and proceeded to type my question asking if they had any books by Ivan Coyote, particularly the latest, Gender Failure. Within seconds, Nicola was online politely answering my questions. Yes! They had a few of these books and sent me the link to Gender Failure, as it was an e-book. Nicola also sent me the links to all of the e-books available by this author. I thanked her for her time and let her know that I had never used a library online service before and it was great.

      What I discovered was that I was still getting the one on one service that I needed and according to Verdesca this is one of the steps amongst the information literacy paradigm. The others being the reference desk itself, the context, the spontaneity and self-initiative as a student.

      Web 2.0 has affected the way reference librarians interact with patrons. There are a variety of channels that patrons can now communicate with librarians. They are being asked questions by telephone, email, physically speaking to them in person at the reference desk or using online chat facilities.

      As the technology world evolves in regards to the information science realm, we as soon to be librarians and librarians need to keep on top of what technologies are evolving. It is also imperative that as these platforms evolve, we evolve our interpersonal and communication skills so we are effective in projecting the right information whether it is face-to-face or online.

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