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Reference cut-backs

California Teacher

The cover story of the November-December 2013 California Teacher reports on the scaling back of reference within the University of California. The cover says: “Access Denied. Losing the Human Face of Reference Librarians.”

  • Reference librarians meet complex queries with a human touch, By David Bacon, California Teacher (November-December 2013).

    “We no longer have a visible reference desk in our two main libraries,” reports Miki Goral, a UCLA librarian of 43 years. “Students first have to go to the circulation desk. If the student working there thinks they need to talk to a reference librarian, they often refer them to a 24/7 online chat, which is staffed by a UC librarian only during certain hours. Otherwise they could be chatting with a librarian in New York, or even Australia. Plus chatting can take 40 minutes to do what you can do in 5 if you’re actually talking.”

    At UC Davis the story is much the same. “We used to have four public service points, with eight or nine reference librarians,” according to Adam Siegel. “Now we have fewer librarians, fewer desks, and fewer hours when the desks are open.”

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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