Columbia University Libraries Host Second Symposium on Reference in the 21st Century


March 20, 2002 Columbia University Libraries hosted over ninety librarians from eleven academic libraries at the second Symposium on Reference in the 21st Century on Friday, March 15, 2002 in a day-long conference with panel discussions, time for casual conversation, and facilitated tours of the Columbia libraries. The symposium provided a much needed forum not otherwise available for reference professionals to get together and have productive deliberations.

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James G. Neal, Columbia University Librarian, opened the symposium with provocative remarks about the state of reference services and possible future demands of students and faculty for enhanced services in academic libraries. Following, three panel discussions sought to answer the questions: What are we doing? How well are we doing? How can we change? and How do we keep up?

"This year's symposium agenda builds upon last year's Symposium," said Jane Winland, Director of the Social Sciences Libraries and the organizer of the symposium. "Participants wanted to discuss the roles of faculty and librarians in teaching electronic information research techniques. This year's agenda also expanded the previous discussion on assessing reference service. Through discussions like these we evaluate our services and the future roles of reference librarians at our own institutions as well as become more effective advocates for reference services at academic and research libraries" Winland concluded.

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The panel discussants came from New York University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Columbia University Libraries, Columbia University Business School, Teachers College, Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs and Columbia's Political Science Department. In addition, librarians from Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rutgers University participated in the lively questions and comments that accompanied each panel session.

More information about the symposium including the agenda and full session notes will be available on Columbia's LibraryWeb.

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