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As we see fewer "walk-up" questions at the reference desk, our librarians faced difficult questions about how best to focus research support for Holy Cross students. While so-called 'ready-reference' information is now available online, the expanse of information on the Internet combined with the increasing complexity of tools like research databases, pointed to a need for a different kind of research assistance which is more in-depth and focuses on effective search strategies. For many libraries, including ours, this calls for shifting our priorities and hours from traditional time at the reference desk to other, more-personalized activities such as meeting with academic departments and offering personal research sessions. Following the implementation of our Personal Research Session service in Fall 2011, the Holy Cross Libraries saw a rapid increase in requests for research help, and have been able to enhance our role in the academic program through a service which is much more popular than our traditional, e-mail and chat reference services. However, the program has grown at an exponential pace that has required our librarians' creativity to keep up! This poster describes how we developed the Personal Research Session Program, and explores ways that we have balanced the personalization of our appointments to meet the needs of students from many class years, majors and skill levels and teach them long-term research skills, with keeping the program sustainable.


Presented during the poster session at the ACRL Conference held March 25-28, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.

Accompanying handout includes a Research Plan (graphic organizer).

Adams_Hibbler_ACRLhandout-1.pdf (217 kB)
handout and research planning tool



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