Reference Reborn
Breathing New Life into Public Services Librarianship
by Diane Zabel, Editor Preface by Linda C. Smith
December 2010, 401pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59158-828-3
$65, £49, 55€, A93
eBook Available: 978-1-59158-829-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Technology and the recent economic climate have certainly impacted libraries. But rather than worrying about the demise of reference, many librarians have been energized by their expanded roles and opportunities, finding innovative, creative ways of delivering enhanced services to their patrons by embracing new technologies and adopting a more user-centric philosophy.

More than 30 stellar authors have contributed to these up-to-date essays on public services librarianship, including timely topics such as new service configurations, the impact of e-resources in reference and collection development, and innovative outreach.

The roles of reference and public librarians are constantly changing. Today, it’s not unusual for librarians to also serve as trend trackers, data analysts, project managers, IT troubleshooters, marketers, and staffing specialists. Academic and public libraries across the country are experimenting with new service models to accommodate new technology, budget constraints, and a clientele with new needs and expectations. Not surprisingly, librarians are assuming revised roles as a result.

Reference Reborn: Breathing New Life into Public Services Librarianship is a collection of over two dozen essays on developments and trends in reference and public services librarianship, highlighting some of the best thinking on reference services, outreach initiatives, the migration from print to e-reference collections, staffing 21st century libraries, library school curriculum, and more. This text will appeal to library and information science students and educators, beginning and seasoned reference librarians and managers of public service departments in academic and public libraries. The education and training of reference librarians receives special attention.


  • Over 30 contributors, including established experts and the next generation of leaders in reference and public services librarianship
  • A subject index guides readers to topics of interest
Diane Zabel is Louis and Virginia Benzak Business Librarian at The Pennsylvania State University. Her published works include Career Paths and Career Development of Business Librarians and The Quality Management Sourcebook: An International Guide to Materials and Resources. Zabel has served as president of the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association; and is editor of Reference & User Services Quarterly.


"Essential for public service librarians—academic and public, both veterans and new to the profession—and for students or potential students in information science. Highly recommended."—Library Journal, April 1, 2011

"This book is an excellent overview of the issues and challenges currently facing the reference profession, and it would work well as a library science textbook. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography for further reading on the topic. Recommended." —The Journal of Academic Librarianship, July 1, 2011

"Reference Reborn has much to offer the reference novice and veteran alike, and it should be required reading for anyone who practices, teaches, or studies the art of reference librarianship." —Booklist Online, February 28, 2011
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