Virtual Reference Service System for Livingstone University Library
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The study was carried out to come up with a virtual reference service system for Livingstone International University (LIU) Library. The objectives of the project were to; examine the current reference service system used at Livingstone international university library, establish the extent at which the current reference service system satisfies the information needs of its patrons/users, identify the challenges faced by the current reference service system used by Livingstone international library in delivering reference service, identify the necessary requirements for developing a Virtual reference service system for Livingstone international university library and to design the virtual reference service system for LIU library. The study used purposive sampling method to select 13 students, 8 members of staffs, 2 former and 2 acting librarians plus the 2 directors of LIU who participated in the study. The study employed a case study design. Data was collected using questionnaires, interviews and observation methods. The current reference service system used by reference librarians is the physical or traditional reference system which they said it’s easier to use and doesn’t incur more expenses as compared to the virtual reference system and backed it up as a module for establishing a mutual relationship with library users/patrons. However, the challenges faced in delivering effective service using this method are, it is slow and thus doesn’t save the time of the both the librarian and library user, it is affected by language barrier issues, inferiority complex as the patron may feel shy to clearly express what they want. The virtual reference system stated areas of improvement such as time effectiveness, confidence of patrons in expressing their issues for help by the reference librarian, accuracy in offering service since its automated, technological advancements in the library that’s to say easy coping up of the library to the ever-diversifying technological advancements around the globe which entails acquisition/provision of computers and internet in the library.