Session Description

“Roving reference” has been a topic of discussion and debate in academic libraries for some time. With reference statistics declining and students increasingly-reluctant to approach traditional reference desks, libraries have sought other ways to visibly engage with students at their point of need. Our libraries were no exception to this trend, and in 2014, following an offhand inquiry from a member of the library’s student advisory committee, we stumbled into a new kind of “roving reference,” framed as a targeted, “one-shot” outreach event.

Citation Frustration Stations, held every finals period, offer roving assistance specifically focused on proper citation, paraphrasing and academic integrity practices. CFS are held in foyers, hallways and busy campus throughways in addition to library spaces, and have been increasingly successful due to their focus on a specific and immediate information need. The specific focus and varied locations mean that CFS meet students “where they are” in every sense of the phrase. Conducted collaboratively by the libraries’ outreach and reference teams, as well as the campus Writer’s Workshop, CFS also create an intersection between “fun” outreach programming and more-traditional academic library service, while allowing us to address a growing need.

This poster will change attendees’ preconceptions about roving reference by introducing the 5-year history of Citation Frustration Stations at our institution. Attendees will learn about the ins-and-outs of a CFS and ensuing inter-office collaborations, and will be inspired by some of the particularly intense citation inquiries that we’ve answered along the way! We will also discuss how we have assessed this program based on statistics and qualitative feedback from both students and faculty. Finally, we will provide best practices and other resources that attendees can consult to learn more about “roving reference,” with the ultimate goal of expanding our definition of what “roving reference” can be and accomplish.

Type of Library

Community College Library; College Library; University Library


roving reference, citations

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


May 6th, 2:30 PM May 6th, 3:15 PM

Collaborative Roving Reference: Solving "Citation Frustration" One Student at a Time

Casco Bay Ballroom


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.