Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

Abstract

Virtual reference services (VRS) is increasingly being implemented and used to muster increase real time interaction between library users and the libraries. While the implementation and the use of the VRS in academic libraries is growing rapidly in today’s world, particularly in the developed countries, in the developing countries, the development has recorded a medium of success. This study presents an extensive synthesis of literature on VRS from different electronic databases, including EbscoHost, Elsevier, Emerald, Google Scholar, JSTOR, Science Direct and Taylor & Francis Online. Consequently, four commonly used VRS communication technologies that can help ease the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in meeting library user’s information needs are presented. The paper also look at the plethora of challenges of VRS implementation and use in developing countries and makes recommendations for a way forward. As a contribution to this area of research, the study argues that there may be a space for the extension of social media tools such as Facebook Express Wi-Fi, Facebook Free Basic Model and Twitter in the academic libraries VRS. This is unarguably because of its immense occupation of the real time information space in COVID-19 pandemic era, whose second wave return explicitly spells out that its end is far from sight.

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