|dc.description.abstract||In recent years, academic libraries have been increasingly challenged to offer newer, more sophisticated ways to engage their community of users that keep pace with rapid technological development. Research shows that faculty, students, and other academic users place increasing value on digital scholarship and may not always view the academic library as the best gateway to access such information. At the same time, academic libraries have continued to rise to the challenge presented by rapid technological evolution can changing information seeking behavior among primary constituents by offering new services, providing greater access to traditional and digital collections, and offering creative approaches in reference services in order to reach library patrons.
Reference staff in particular have been challenged to define, develop and implement new methods for reaching those who seek research assistance as traditional measures of reference service have revealed declining activities at ‘traditional’ settings, such as a ‘reference desk.’ Several new approaches that have been launched over the last several years at various institutions have included the wholesale abandonment of ‘traditional’ reference desks, combining service points into large multi-purpose service desks, introducing “roving” reference staff, providing IM and texting capabilities or mobile connectivity, and embedding librarians in academic departments and buildings, among other things, all designed to reach beyond the walls of the library to provide service to users in as many ways as possible.
While many of these different strategies are being employed today, numerous academic libraries still maintain vital and active service desks, or at least a semblance of such reference outposts, that continue to provide services to users. These services more often than not include a combination of ways to interact with patrons: in person, telephone, IM, email, and text message, for example. At the University of Kansas, such daily interaction has been collected via the open source software known as LibStats since 2007 at the two largest campus libraries: Anschutz and Watson Libraries, which together contain the central collections in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
In light of continuing changes in patron information seeking behavior, and in an effort to understand more fully the patterns, modes, and disciplinary areas that can be uncovered by analysis of the data that has been collected, we propose to present a poster with the following aims:
Who: To discover patterns of usage among patrons at the reference desks in Anschutz and Watson Libraries.
What: To discover the kinds of research inquiries being asked at these libraries
When: To discover the times when research assistance is being sought
Where: To discover which locations and modes of communication (i.e., in-person, IM, etc.) are experiencing significantly greater volume than others
Why: To try and help the KU Libraries organization answer increasing complex questions regarding how faculty and staff time should best be relegated within reference services.||