Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reflect on past liaison library practice to make sense of student information‐seeking behavior. Experiential data created from liaison consultations was used to gain student perspectives. Liaison consultations enhance student experiences and provide strategic benefits for academic libraries to counter perceived under‐utilization of information services in general. Design/methodology/approach – Grounded theory framed the study and thematic analysis was applied to liaison librarian consultation notes representing 25 years of past practice. Themes that characterize information‐seeking behaviors were noted and used to help explain student behavior. Findings – Despite significant changes in information formats, the pervasive use of internet technology, and student searching habits, the key finding is that students will continue to consult with librarians to the extent that they find the experience useful. Both parties contribute and define the reference consultation to help formulate productive information‐seeking behaviors. Originality/value – Analyzing evidence through the lens of reflection and the use of unobtrusive methods provided useful insights into the roles that librarians and students play in the consultation process. The findings suggest that information‐searching behaviors can be influenced and shaped to produce successful searching outcomes. Several recommendations for strengthening library practice are provided.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 15, 2013
Keywords: Academic libraries; Reflective practice; Information‐seeking behavior; Sense‐making