Marie Radford spoke on Foreshadowing Reference Futures: Far Out or Forthcoming? and was rousing and inspirational as usual. She talked about technostress caused by all the new technologies (blog dread, Facebook guilt, avatar avoidance). She said that reference in is transition and we’re just seeing glimpses of the future. She pointed out one reason screenagers like texting so much is they can talk to many people at once and there are no awkward silences that you get in conversations in person or on the phone (how nice!). She also spoke about non-users of virtual reference services and mentioned how many people are unaware the library has a phone (! just like they’re sometimes unaware we have web pages) and that since everyone has cell phones, now is the time to promote phone reference too! She also stressed how important it is (especially to this generation) that the librarian be friendly and welcoming.
We need to promote all the different ways we can connect with patrons and the personalized service we offer – she liked the Harvard Library ad – Spend two hours searching for sources, or five minutes finding them with a librarian.
She finished by predicting future trends – eBook digitization, technological innovation, letting users connect to us via cell phones and other handheld devices, distance education, portable wireless service, great collaboration and cooperation, an assessment culture, demystifying the complex information landscape… Great, inspiring talk – she delivers!