All Together Now!

Vicky Duncan, Angie Gerrard


Although much has appeared in the literature regarding the initiation of virtual reference services, to date a case study discussing online reference service’s integration into an academic library’s current suite of reference services has not been written. At the University of Saskatchewan, the integration process forced the library to take a broader look at reference services as a whole and address several questions: What is reference? How should it be delivered? Who should provide it? On what reference service values are decisions being based? To facilitate the integration, it was necessary to identify the needs of our users and re-examine the core values of our reference service accordingly. This analysis resulted in system-wide changes to all of the library’s reference services. The paper concludes with a set of planning recommendations that will be useful for college and university libraries currently considering, or presently offering, a virtual reference or instant messaging service and aspiring to incorporate the service permanently into their suite of reference services.

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