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No-show at the reference desk: perceptions of appointments

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This study aims to explore the prevalence and librarian perceptions of no-show research appointments in academic libraries. These findings are examined in light of the literature within academic libraries and other industries (health, hospitality) with appointment models.


This paper uses an exploratory survey of reference librarians across a stratified sample of academic libraries in the USA. The findings are considered through the lens of critical theory in academic libraries.


Academic libraries lack consistent understanding and language used to describe appointment-based reference models. Librarians do not gather much reliable data on the percentage of no-show appointments and further research is needed on this topic.

Research limitations/implications

Study results are limited to academic librarians in the sample who responded to the survey and indicated the availability of research appointments at their institution. The implications of this paper suggest ideas for gathering appointment statistics and evaluating the rhetoric used to advertise appointments to college students.


This research is unique in that it is the first exploratory study on the prevalence and perception of missed appointments in academic library reference models.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; Assessment; Consultations; Neoliberalism; Reference services; Research appointments

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Library, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, California, USA

Publication date: June 8, 2020

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