During the 2020 and 2021 summer semesters, the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) transitioned to hybrid classes that were primarily distance learning with two-week inperson sections. The library offered both synchronous and asynchronous reference assistance over the summer term. An analysis showed that students favored using the UMBS LibGuide over synchronous virtual reference help via Zoom. Students further preferred face-to-face interactions over virtual formats, and their preference for LibGuide assistance may carry into the post- COVID-19 classroom. This finding suggests that students prioritize convenience and immediacy over personalized assistance in the Zoom platform. Thus, in providing reference assistance to student populations in the field sciences, balancing face-to-face interactions with convenience and immediacy should be a priority. Recommendations based on the success of the 2020 and 2021 field seasons were suggested for reference interactions in future field courses.
Biostation, Feild station, ecology, geology, science librarianship, course based research
Date of this Version
Gerrish, T., & Martin, S. (2023). Student Preferences for Reference Services at a Remote Biological Station Library. portal: Libraries and the Academy 23(4), 637-653. https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2023.a908695