May 16, 2022

Preprint: "Forget the Desk Job: Current Roles and Responsibilities in Entry-Level Reference Job Advertisements"

Title: Forget the Desk Job: Current Roles and Responsibilities in Entry-Level Reference Job Advertisements

Authors: Robert Detmering, Assistant Professor, Teaching and Reference Librarian in the Humanities Ekstrom Library University of Louisville

Claudene Sproles, Associate Professor, Government Information Librarian, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville

Source: College and Research Libraries (C&RL)


This study examines the evolving roles and responsibilities of entry-level academic reference positions, as stated in recent job advertisements posted on the American Library Association’s JobLIST website and other sources. Findings from a content analysis of these advertisements indicate that current entry-level reference positions in academic libraries incorporate a strikingly diverse and complex range of responsibilities. The study provides valuable insight into the expectations and priorities of hiring institutions in regard to entry-level reference work, offering a broad perspective on the reference job environment to library science students, first-time job seekers, and libraries seeking to recruit entry-level candidates.

Paper Accepted For Publication: October 17, 2011.
Anticipated Publication: September 2012

Direct to Full Text Article (28 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.