Monday, January 23, 2023 - 12:30pm
Meriam Library

Nationwide, student usage of in-person reference desk service models is in decline, and we are experiencing this trend at Meriam Library:

Fall 2022
- 653 total reference questions at the Reference Desk
- 389 in-person, of which 130 required a librarian (33%)
- 264 virtual/phone/email, of which 204 required a librarian (77%)

Fall 2021
- 1,049 total reference questions at the Reference Desk
- 590 in-person, of which 196 required a librarian (33%)
- 459 virtual/phone/email, of which 374 required a librarian (82%)

In person questions at the library reference desk decreased by 37% between fall 2021 and fall 2022.

Decreasing demand for reference interactions demonstrates a need for a new model.

In response to these changes in information seeking behavior, librarians are shifting from in-person reference desk hours… to Virtual1st! In 2023, librarians are shifting to meet students where they are at... online. 


Meriam Library librarians will staff virtual chat from:

  • M-Th 10am to 5pm

  • F 10am to 2pm

If a patron needs in-person assistance, they can log on to chat and a librarian may be able to come out to meet the patron if necessary. 

Outside of the above hours, patrons can still get 24/7 chat assistance using the same Chat icon on the library homepage. 

Virtual services we offer:  24/7 chat, email, or text services and One-on-One appointments.

If you still need us and want to hang out with us, we offer One on One Appointments!


Patrons can schedule with whoever is available first...


… They can schedule with their subject specific librarian. 


We offer BOTH in-person and online zoom meetings!

If you have questions, CHAT US!

Virtual1st is a pilot project, there will be adjustments as we go, please have patience with us as we move through this transition.