Implementing an Inclusive Staffing Model for Today's Reference Services: A Practical Guide for Librarians

By Williams, Lisa Powell | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Implementing an Inclusive Staffing Model for Today's Reference Services: A Practical Guide for Librarians


Williams, Lisa Powell, Reference & User Services Quarterly


Implementing an Inclusive Staffing Model for Today's Reference Services: A Practical Guide for Librarians. By Julia K. Nims, Paula Storm, and Robert Stevens. Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. 143 p. $65 (ISBN: 978-08108-9128-9).

Libraries are experiencing major shifts in the twenty-first century, and the authors of this book address some of the most important changes in Implementing an Inclusive Staffing Model for Today's Reference Services: A Practical Guide for Librarians. They outline a new reference model with four aims: improving reference services user satisfaction, engaging staff with new opportunities and training, providing reference librarians with time to pursue professional opportunities, and navigating a transformative period in reference services.

To address these aims, the authors propose a tiered reference model based on a review of library literature as well as plans such as the Warner model, which classifies reference questions based on the level of expertise and resources needed to respond to questions. The authors acknowledge that, as with any change, staff may exhibit reluctance to transition to a model based on the notion that "reference is everyone's job." The inclusion of non-MLS staff in the provision of such service will need the support of all involved, and the authors devote an entire chapter to "Getting Buy-In" from all stakeholders. Extensive timelines for service study, training, implementation, and evaluation are provided.

The underlying theme is that librarians are needed for more complex tasks than basic reference, and this resounds throughout the book. The authors' premise is that additional time is needed in libraries to address multiple tasks, and this idea has merit. However, other than waiting for referrals, what will librarians be doing under this new paradigm? …

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