CARL-DIG: Leading the Way: Innovative Reference Models

IG Showcase
Library Fellow
UC Santa Barbara


Academic libraries are always changing in order to stay relevant with the unique and dynamic needs of users. Historically, reference was offered as a single service point within the library. However, as libraries continue to evolve, we have seen variations from this “traditional” model. Many libraries are considering offering no reference desk, reference service points at different locations on campus, or reference offered from librarian offices only, among other new models. The California Academic Reference Librarians Discussion Interest Group South (CARLDIG-S) has surveyed academic libraries in California to gauge the current state of “reference as place” and invited presenters to discuss different types of reference service models. Through this discussion session, participants will have the opportunity to learn the results of CARLDIG-S’s “Reference as Place” survey, hear from presenters about the current state of reference at their own institutions, and contribute their thoughts on varied reference models. Presenters will share their own experiences of transitioning between different models, starting new service points, and the benefits and disadvantages of each model to stimulate discussion among attendees.


The California Academic Reference Librarians Discussion Interest Group South (CARLDIG-S) will host a discussion session that will explore the variations on reference models currently being used by academic libraries in California. In recent years, the trend in reference services has been to move away from the traditional reference desk and implement alternative desk and service models. CARLDIG-S is currently surveying academic librarians across the state regarding their reference service points. As part of our discussion session we will disseminate the survey results to attendees and invite presenters that have started a new service point for reference and experienced the transition between models. In order to compare various reference models, speakers will be invited to represent differing models, including no reference desk, librarian office consultations, and service points at offsite locations. Presenters will facilitate discussions and hands-on activities to prompt attendees to think about how a particular model would apply to their libraries and what would be required to implement said model. Attendees will be encouraged during the session to share their own experiences with differing reference models and become informed of the current state of “reference as place” within academic libraries in California. Presenters will be finalized after our fall program in December 2013.


CARLDIG South is an interest group of the California Academic & Research Libraries (CARL). We hold meetings and programs to discuss current reference issues.


Date and time: 
Sat, 04/05/2014 - 10:15am - 11:30am


Morgan Hill [LL]