Does Your Library Still Need a Reference Desk?

I've been exploring this issue lately and have been collecting different viewpoints on the pros and cons of eliminating the reference desk. Sometimes it seems the response can depend on the age or generation of those I ask. Boomer librarians seem much more attached to the desk, and have difficulty imagining a library without a reference desk. Younger librarians (and newer librarians of any age) seem more open to the possibility of doing reference work without the desk - possibly using mobile technology tools.

Do others notice a similar generational difference on this topic?

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Comment by Rhonda Gonzales on June 8, 2007 at 2:30pm
I kind of just like Information Desk.
Comment by Jeff Scott on April 3, 2007 at 9:51pm
Most of your users right now are older (boomers) and understand the reference desk concept. However, most people now using the library just want information. They don't understand the difference between a librarian and a library staff member. Most of our questions are answered by our circulation staff since they are on the front line. They know how to use the basic reference/readers' advisory techniques. When you have to navigate government bureaucracy, technology, or very complicated topics is when the reference desk is called upon. What do we call the new desk, reference or information or quick answers? People will just want a question answered, they don't know or care who answers, as long as it is correct and fast. The whole knowledge hierarchy is going away due to ideas behind wikipedia and the wisdom of crowds.


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