Envisioning the Future of Reference
Trends, Reflections, and Innovations
by Diane Zabel and Lauren Reiter, Editors
February 2020, 193pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6737-8
$65, £49, 57€, A88
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6738-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Pick up this book for an in-depth look at new models in reference services, and use it as a hands-on tool to help you incorporate new trends into your library.

Offering a broad overview of consequential changes in the landscape of reference services, this guide also provides practical guidance on how to meet the new challenges they present.

For the past decade, librarians have been lamenting the demise of reference services. Encouraging recent research shows that reference librarians are actually in more demand than ever; however, nearly everything about reference has changed—from technologies, tools, and techniques to models of service.

What are these changes, and how can the profession respond to and prepare for shifting priorities and user needs? In this volume, business librarians Diane Zabel and Lauren Reiter bring together a host of experts to answer these timely questions. Topics range from the education and training of professionals to meeting the needs and wants of employers. Covered are trends in chat reference, research consultations, do-it-yourself reference, tracking trends with user populations, assessment, and data-driven decisions about reference services.

Grounded in the principle that, regardless of the evolutions in service, the user remains at the center of reference, this guide offers readers an exciting look at the future of this important public service.


  • Informs librarians of trends currently affecting the profession and shows how to deal with them
  • Covers a wide array of topics, from those affecting the education of reference services to assessment of services
  • Provides an in-depth look at new models in reference services
Diane Zabel is Louis and Virginia Benzak Business Librarian and head of the Schreyer Business Library at The Pennsylvania State University. Formerly president of RUSA and editor of RUSA Quarterly, she edited Reference Reborn: Breathing New Life into Public Services Librarianship (Libraries Unlimited, 2010) and coedited Leading in the New Academic Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2017) and Rethinking Collection Development and Management (Libraries Unlimited, 2014).

Lauren Reiter is Sally W. Kalin Librarian for Learning Innovations and business liaison librarian at The Pennsylvania State University Libraries. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker (2016) and received the New Librarian Honor Award (2016) from the Pennsylvania Library Association. She coedited a double thematic issue of the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship (JBFL) on private equity and venture capital research (2017) and coedited a special issue of JBFL on financial literacy (2015). Her research has been published in leading scholarly venues including the Journal of Academic Librarianship and Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice.


"This is an exemplary guide for adapting reference services. Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals."—Choice, January 1, 2021
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