January 27, 2022

Conference Paper: “Reference Librarianship on the Fly: Taking the Librarian out of the Library”

The following paper will be presented at the upcoming World Library and Information Congress, 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly that will take place in Helsinki this August.


Reference Librarianship On The Fly: Taking the Librarian Out of the Library


Sara Wingate Gray
University College, University of London San Francisco, California, USA


IFLA General Conference 2012 Web Site


With the advent of mobile technologies, reference and information services to library patrons have finally come of age. However, it is no longer enough that the ubiquitous virtual reference web chat is open 24/7, or that a library’s website is geared to mobile device access. What, in fact, true digital and mobile assimilation means for reference and information services of the 21st century is the ability for the library to reach out beyond its physical and mobile device- oriented structures, to extend a hand of reference and information greeting to the human user, quite literally, in the street.

This is the realm of the “Embedded” or Itinerant Librarian, whose new role is to take the library with her out into the city to meet her patrons as they go about their busy day-to-day lives. This paper presents case studies, practical professional advice and vision statements of how such services can be achieved to produce a truly 21st century library.

Direct to Full Text (15 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.