Evaluating Reference Services: A Practical Guide

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Whether at the desk, on the phone, or online, good reference services are often the keys to winning the hearts and minds of library customers. With this handy new guidebook, reference luminary Jo Bell Whitlatch outlines practical methods for evaluating and delivering excellent reference service to the technology-savvy library user of today. Through proven techniques and case studies, Whitlatch details how to:

  • Plan an evaluation approach.
  • Use research tools like surveys, interviews, and focus groups to evaluate services and identify needs.
  • Select and put into service the best resources for specific needs.
  • Maintain funding by presenting your results in a formalized way.

Increase and communicate the value of your reference services with this authoritative and must-have new resource!

Part I-Planning the Evaluation of Reference Books
Part II-Selecting Appropriate Evaluation Methods
Part III-Collecting, Analyzing, and Communicating Study Data and Results
Part IV-Reference Assessment Annotated Bibliography

Jo Bell Whitlatch

Jo Bell Whitlatch is reference librarian, history and political science selector, and occasional instructor at San Jose State University Library. She offers general reference and basic library instruction as well as specialized research assistance and collection development in history and political science. A leader in the professional reference discipline, she is past president of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and has served as author and/or editor on Reference Assessment Manual, Library Users and Reference Services, and The Role of Academic Reference Librarian. She holds a doctorate in library and information studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

"The practical orientation of the book allows for easy adoption of many of the recommendations made."
—Library Mosaics

"One of this book's many strengths is the gently persuasive manner used to move readers from fear-of-research paralysis to adept number-crunching analysis."
—Public Libraries

"The practical orientation of the book allows for easy adoption of many of the recommendations made... [T]his is indeed a "practical guide" to evaluating reference services."
—Library Mosaics

"From looking at online catalog searching behaviors to providing an analysis of the costs of various reference services, you will find valuable guidance here."
—Public Library Quarterly