Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-15-2017


Objective The purpose of this study was to examine the reference service mode preferences of community college (two-year) and four-year college students. Methods The researchers administered a paper-based, face-to-face questionnaire at two institutions within the City University of New York system: Hunter College, a senior college, and Queensborough Community College, a two-year institution. During the summer of 2015, the researchers surveyed 79 participants, asking them to identify their most and least preferred mediums for accessing library reference services. Results – Nearly 75% of respondents expressed a preference for face-to-face reference, while only about 18% preferred remote reference services (online chat, e-mail, text message, and telephone). Close to 84% of the participants cited remote reference services as their least preferred modes and slightly more than 10% said this of face-to-face. The data reveal a widespread popularity of face-to-face reference service among all types of participants regardless of institutional affiliation, age, gender, academic level, field of study, and race or ethnicity. Conclusion – This study suggests that given the opportunity academic library users will utilize face-to-face reference service for assistance with research assignments. Academic libraries at both two-year and four-year institutions might consider assessing user views on reference modes and targeting support toward services that align with patron preferences.


This work was originally published in Evidence Based Library Information and Practice.



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