Talkin bout My Generalization: Confronting Assumptions About Attitudes Toward Reference Service in the Changing Library Workforce
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A profession that has long been dominated by the Baby Boom generation is ushering in new generations of librarians. Because the shift in the library workforce is creating a new intergenerational mix of co-workers, librarians at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire-who themselves represent the three prevalent generations in the workforce-set out to explore potential differences in attitudes toward reference service in academic libraries. Rather than rely on personal anecdotes and assumptions about generational differences in attitudes, investigators sought to collect data reflecting attitudes and opinions. A survey, Attitudes Toward Reference Services, was sent to randomly selected academic library staff members across the United States. This survey asked questions about the changing nature of reference work, staffing a reference desk, important characteristics and skills for reference librarians to have, and more. Through the survey, investigators hoped to determine if differences in attitudes toward reference service broke down along generational lines, and-if not-what might be some variables that influenced attitudinal differences.