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Let's Fix Virtual Reference

There is a great article in Library Journal from Eric Zino of Palinet, Let's Fix Virtual Reference. Eric talks about the difficulties he has had personally with virtual reference services as a customer, not having the reference interview and receiving google-like answers. Our jobs as reference librarians, as Eric states, is to provide customer service, spend time with the patron. That seems to go against the thought that patrons want immediate results. I think a lot of the time we feel hurried and rushed to provide an answer to a patron that we end up giving a response that may be just adequate or good enough at best. I've seen this, myself (and felt it a lot of times as well), in doing quality control of transcripts. I'll be making note of Eric's article not ony the next time I'm in a chat session but also in training sessions. Finally, I think he brings up a great point to try our own VR services as a customer - not as a librarian testing the water, but as an actually customer in need of information. Putting ourselves in our patrons' feet will help us see a broader picture of our VR service and understand a little better of the needs of our patrons.

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