Virtual Reference Service in United States School of Law Libraries: Its Challenges and the Way Forward — Olugbenga Ademodi
Reasons Why Librarians Adopt Virtual Reference Service
According to Kern, many libraries adopted virtual reference due to fortuitous circumstances such as good timing, consortium assistance, or bargain software . The reason for virtual reference may also be due to the need to generate goodwill or due to “peer pressure” of other consortial libraries offering the same service . Additionally, it could be a way of availing themselves of a software trial through the consortium .
Virtual reference service may also be used to address the problem of students who tend to ignore the library’s databases in favor of Google. Databases cost libraries a large amount of money to acquire and it is very disappointing that many students do not make use of these resources . The virtual reference services then may be able to seize the initiative and reach out and bring cyber users in to benefit from more scholarly sources available through the databases.
Due to the advent of technology, many libraries have adopted the idea of rendering reference services virtually. One of the reasons for this development is because most patrons do not visit the physical library as much as they once did . Another reason why virtual reference services came into existence is providing reference services to distant education students. This facilitates the provision of reference service to these users to some extent like the traditional reference service experience . Similarly, patrons who cannot physically come to the library may have access to reference service . Not only does it complement other services, virtual reference may also be a way to publicize the various services that a library has to offer .
1. “Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 44, no. 1 (2004): 9.
2. Nicholas Joint. “Virtual Reference, Second Life and Traditional Library Enquiry Services.” Library Review 57, no. 6 (2008): 417.
3. K. Nilsen, and C. S. Rose. “Evaluating Virtual Reference from the Users’ Perspective.” The Reference Librarian 95/96 (2006): 54.
4. M. Kathleen Kern. Virtual Reference Best Practices: Tailoring Services to Your Library. (Chicago: ALA, 2009), 1–3.
5. Ibid., 4.
6. Ibid., 2–4.
10. Ibid., chapters 1 & 2.
11. Ibid., 3.
12. L. Eakin, and J. Pomerantz. “Virtual Reference, Real Money: Modelling Costs in Virtual Reference Services.” Portal : Libraries and the Academy 9, no. 1 (2009): 134.
13. Kern, Virtual Reference Best Practices, 6.
14. Ibid., 7.
15. Ibid., 7–8.
16. G. Edward Evans and Margaret Z. Saponaro. Developing Library and Information Center Collections, 5th ed. (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2005), 130.
17. R. Slater, and D. Johnson. “Choosing Virtual Reference Software.” in Handbook of Electronic and Digital Acquisitions, Thomas W. Leonhardt, editor. (New York: Haworth, 2006): 127.
18. Ibid., 127–28; Kern, Virtual Reference Best Practices, ch. 2.
19. Slater and Johnson, “Choosing Virtual Reference Software,” 127.
20. Kern, Virtual Reference Best Practices, 8.