Impact of digital reference on the delivery of reference in New Zealand public libraries
This study looks at digital reference services in New Zealand public libraries to find out what types of services are being provided and what impact they are having on traditional reference services. A survey was sent to twenty-seven selected public libraries with a further sixteen selected libraries added after a low response rate from the first group, to collect information on their digital reference services. The libraries included large, medium and small and were selected from all areas of New Zealand. A questionnaire was used to collect the information and the data was statistically analysed. All large and the majority of medium selected libraries are providing a digital reference service in the form of email or web form. Four of the large libraries are participating in AnyQuestions - a virtual reference service for New Zealand school children, and one large library has their own virtual service. The low response rate and deficiencies in the survey design have resulted in inconclusive results for this study. We know libraries are providing digital reference services and we know something about how the services are provided, but it is still unclear whether these services are having an impact on traditional reference services.