Library services without a library: post-earthquake use of virtual reference at University of Canterbury
Following the September 2010 earthquake and the closure of a number of campus libraries, library staff at the University of Canterbury was forced to rethink how they connected with their users. The established virtual reference service now meant library staff could be contacted regardless of their physical location. After the February earthquake, with University library closures ranging from 3 weeks to indefinite, this service came into its own as a vital communication tool. It facilitated contact between the library and both students and academics, as well as proving invaluable as a means for library staff to locate and communicate with each other. Transcripts from our post-earthquake interactions with users were analyzed using NVivo and will be presented in poster format showing the increase in usage of the service following the earthquakes, who used the service most, and the numbers and types of questions received. Our virtual reference tool was well used in the difficult post-earthquake periods and we can see this usage continuing as university life returns to normal.