A Case Study on How Reference Staffing and Visibility Models Impact Patron Behaviors

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective – To determine if reference staffing models are a predictor of reference question rates and if academic library patrons’ reference behaviors are linked to reference staffing models and desk visibility. Design – A retrospective case study. Setting – Two academic libraries at a large R3 public university in the state of Georgia, United States of America. Subjects – 10,295 service transactions (chat and in-person, including non-reference transactions related to directional and technology questions) from the 2016 fiscal year and 6,568 service transactions (chat and in-person, including only chat non-reference transactions) from FY 2017. Methods – Analysis of two years of service transaction data (July 2015 to June 2017) recorded by librarians using the reference analytics module of Springshare’s LibAnswers at three locations (virtual 24/7 chat and two libraries with different physical locations, such as centrally-located or harder-to-find service points) for three kinds of reference service modes: chat, fully-staffed in-person services, and occasional “on-call” services. “Reference” transactions were classified using the Reference & User Services Association (RUSA) definition. Email, SMS/text, and Facebook inquiries were excluded from this study. One library, which had the same service model for the 2016-2017 fiscal years, served as the study’s “control” so that an analysis of service model alterations could be conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-142
Number of pages3
JournalEvidence Based Library and Information Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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