ERIC Number: EJ947077
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
The Evolution of the Reference Librarian
Johnson, Wendell G.
Community & Junior College Libraries, v17 n2 p91-103 2011
The job of the contemporary reference librarian has a virtual component unimaginable a generation ago. Today's library professional can obtain an MLS (or equivalent) online with a minimal residency requirement. Not only the degree, but also library sources, and indeed patrons, have become virtual. Both books and periodicals can be consulted by remote access. What happens when a virtual librarian comes to work in a bricks and mortar library with flesh and blood patrons who need bound and print resources? This generational divide permits us to view the evolution of the reference librarian in academic (including community colleges) and public libraries over the past decades. The evolution of service offered by reference librarians followed three main lines of development: refinement of technique, subject specialization, the impact of technology. Unfortunately, libraries have not maintained consistency in the level of service offered to patrons. Libraries and librarians often provide a minimum level of reference service to the mass of undergraduates, and operate as something of a special library when dealing with more advanced (for example, faculty) or specialized clientele.
Descriptors: Printed Materials, Special Libraries, Public Libraries, Reference Services, Library Services, Librarians, Academic Libraries, Library Science, Masters Degrees, Electronic Learning, Online Courses, Users (Information), Higher Education, Community Colleges, Two Year Colleges, Electronic Libraries, Computer Mediated Communication, Undergraduate Students, Bibliographies, Library Materials, Library Role, History, Libraries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A