Trustee

Spring 2001

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Library Reference Questions On The Rise

Spring 2001 issue of Trustee

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer carried the headline "Internet brings a rise in reference questions for librarians." Quoting a reference librarian at the ready-reference call-in-service of the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, the article pointed out that librarians in the call-in reference department expected that they were going to be out of business within 10 years. The reasoning behind this thought pattern --- increasingly people could look up things for themselves on their personal computers. "Unexpectedly," continued the story "people have been using the library's reference service more than ever."

Statistics indicate that last year Carnegie Library's reference department answered 138,000 calls compared with 120,000 four years ago, and the upward trend continues. The Los Angeles Public Library appears to be having a similar experience.

The head of the electronic resources and services section of the Library of Congress noted that librarians are encouraging e-mail inquires rather than telephone or written requests. The result has been a drop in phone calls and a subsequent rise in e-mails requesting information.


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