Onsite Reference and Instruction Services: Setting Up Shop Where Our Patrons Live
Wagner, A. Ben
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Electronic, full-text resources and online forms have become ever more established in most ibraries. As a result, foot traffic has significantly decreased, leading to fewer opportunities for personal contact between librarians and patrons. Innovative outreach efforts are required to counter this trend. In the past two years, some University at Buffalo (UB) librarians have set up office hours in the departments they serve to provide onsite reference and instruction services. This effort has produced unexpected benefits and impediments, and as a result additional outreach mechanisms have been employed or discussed. Overall, the key to successful outreach is attitude, commitment, and consistency. In sum, the experience at (UB) has shown that there is no substitute for providing a physical presence. The authors believe this approach can be applied in most academic settings and beyond to other types of libraries.