Advancements in technology and changing patron needs have generated serious reassessment by libraries of the services that they provide. The use of library resources has seen a considerable change in trends, with a growing number of users opting to use the virtual collection in preference to the physical collection. Recent Charles Sturt University surveys revealed that students overwhelmingly chose online resources as their preferred approach to research and study. This data reinforces that demand for online material from CSU Library users must be met, resulting in a reduction in the print collection. Along with this, the majority of users have embraced the option for virtual support and a consequent decline in the number of patrons seeking assistance at the circulation desk has been noted. Driven by a large cohort of distance education students the demand for help through services such as online chat sessions has required extensive staff training and technological upgrades to ensure that these popular means of communication are maintained.
This paper looks at how Charles Sturt University Library has addressed the challenges of providing a “right here, right now” library service and increased patron demand for the Library’s virtual services, by restructuring existing staff roles and creating new flexible Library Officer positions whose responsibilities include circulation, document delivery, virtual support, online resource maintenance and development. Initiatives such as the recent merger of the Access and Information Services sections, now under the umbrella of ‘Information Services’, has brought new opportunities for staff development; an evolution that is vital to ensure we uphold our reputation as an innovative, competitive and respected institution. Although some would regard this progression as a “devil of a time in libraries”, our purpose remains the same, which is to deliver streamlined and efficient access to information.
Charles Sturt University Library – “Anywhere, Anytime” [slides]