Pre - Conference - May 18, 2022
According to Ex Libris (2022), three trends shape the future of libraries. One such trend is the shift to digital services and delivery models in enhancing access, which while beneficial, also creates new challenges for libraries. The second trend is the rising expectations that are prompting libraries to improve the patron experience and the third trend is budgetary pressures forcing libraries to become more efficient. To keep up with the trend of shifting to digital services, libraries have been proactive in their movement from in-house reference services to virtual reference services initiatives to support their teaching, learning and research agendas. This paradigm shift resulted in libraries utilizing The Online Computer Library Centre’s (OCLC’s) Question Point to enhance reference services, providing a round the clock virtual reference platform using cloud software technology until 2020. This facilitated patrons from academic libraries, conducting research to direct their queries to library staff via email 24/7 or via chat during specified hours of operation. It also enabled consortia collaboration amongst participating libraries, which helped enhance the service through the provision of extended hours scheduling, resource sharing and much more. With the takeover of Question Point by the Springshare Team (an international vendor that provides go to cloud software for libraries) many libraries migrated to Springshare’s LibAnswers in 2020 (Springshare, 2021) as an integrated ticketing, chat and FAQ online reference platform. Amidst the shift to digital reference services in an online environment heightened by the COVID19 pandemic, and the rapid changes in technology, patrons expect to receive personalized and ‘on demand’ service from libraries (Ex Libris, 2022). Despite the closure of physical libraries from March 2020 as a result of COVID 19, many academic libraries have been able to continue providing virtual reference services and remote support to patrons with minimal interruptions. This presentation will identify challenges and experiences of libraries in using virtual reference services platforms to enhance access and improve the patron experience. The authors will identify best practice models for improving efficiency and effectiveness of virtual reference services, within a diverse Caribbean context.
Esta obra está bajo una licencia internacional Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 4.0.
Derechos de autor 2022 Saint Rose Saint Rose , Collen Johnson