Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Zealand has the right idea!

I ran across this website from New Zealand recently and it really got me to thinking about the way libraries offer reference services these days. This site offers real time reference help from librarians during the afternoon--prime homework time.  Or if it is after hours, then the site offers suggestions of other sites to visit for answers.  This is such a good idea!  Instead of the traditional reference librarian on the phone, let's go to where our patrons are these days--online.  I wish more libraries could offer this service.

I think there was initial reluctance to the site on the part of librarians who were afraid the impersonalness of the Internet would impede their service.  Librarians can learn a lot about what a patron needs just by talking to them and trying to determine exactly what sort of information is needed.  And talking via the Internet just isn't the same. 

But students don't have any qualms about talking via the Internet--matter of fact, most think it's no big deal.  So shouldn't library help be offered so it's no big deal either? 

Now if I could just figure out the time difference so I could catch the site while someone's online..........

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