Paradigm Shift in Reference Services at the Oberlin College Library: A Case Study


This case study focuses on reference services in the main library at Oberlin College. It traces the development of the current service model, which has evolved as the Reference & Instruction Department has anticipated, managed, and responded to changes related to increased teaching and instruction activities, shifting reference usage patterns, and changes in student research behaviors. Emphasis is placed on a popular and highly personalized research appointment service; a robust program of course-related library instruction; reliance on students to help staff the reference desk and make effective referrals; developing and maintaining strong relationships with teaching faculty; and creating welcoming spaces conducive to research, studying, socializing, and interacting with library staff.

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reference services, academic commons, student research, information commons, research consultations