The Changing Roles of Academic Reference Librarians Over a Ten-Year Period

Cardina, Christen; Wicks, Donald
December 2004
Reference & User Services Quarterly;Winter2004, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p133
Academic Journal
This study assessed the role changes that occurred for academic reference librarians from 1991 to 2001. It provides information related to the types of job activities performed and the relative amount of time spent on these activities by the librarians who took part in the study. A list of traditional as well as newly developed duties of reference librarians was developed. These duties were incorporated into a questionnaire that was distributed to reference librarians currently working in academic libraries. Subjects of the survey were randomly selected from six geographic regions of the United States. Eighty-two of the eighty-seven questionnaires that were sent out were returned; sixty-eight were usable. The data were then analyzed using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Results showed that changes occurred in the types of jobs most frequently performed, as well as in the amount of time spent on particular jobs. The number of reference tools used by librarians also increased over the ten-year period surveyed. More change was planned in the near future by most of those surveyed. Of the respondents, 46 percent said they were more satisfied in their jobs in 2001 than they were in 1991, 13 percent were less satisfied, and 37 percent had no change in their job.


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