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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/910

Title: Reshaping Spaces and Rethinking Roles: Reference as Place
Authors: Frey, Susan
Codispoti, Margit
Keywords: library-as-place
academic libraries
Issue Date: 13-May-2010
Abstract: For the past two decades people have been responding to profound societal changes brought about by the increasing digitization of information and the ubiquity of the internet. Such change has affected libraries dramatically. Librarians have been so successful at extending information resources and services into the cyber-community that some administrators and policy-makers have begun questioning the need for maintaining the physical library. In response to this challenge a body of literature called the “library as place” has emerged in which the integrity of the library proper is examined and redefined. Mirroring this phenomenon, the traditional onsite reference desk is also being re-evaluated. Some believe that, in light of the recent growth of online reference service, the century-old reference desk is now redundant. Many librarians are redefining traditional reference spaces. For some, this has been a gradual process, in which the reference desk has mutated over time; for others, change has come swiftly and has meant a bold redesign of service. This presenation examines onsite reference service at two public, mid-western universities. At Indiana State University (ISU) the library adopted the “Borders bookstore” philosophy several years ago. Community programs such as lectures, meetings, and film series are conducted within the reference desk area. In the midst of such atypical surroundings the desk, and the role of the reference librarians, has developed —— retaining some traditional traits while adopting new characteristics. In contrast, at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), the change was more dramatic. The general reference desk was dismantled and librarians provide reference assistance on a scheduled appointment basis where uninterrupted one-on-one consultation takes place. But as in the ISU example, this reshaping of the physical environment heralded an alteration in the librarians’ role.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10484/910
In Collections:Susan M. Frey

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