Alumna, Tammi Owens, published in "Internet Reference Services Quarterly"

September 24, 2013

Tammi OwensTammi Owens (MSLS ’12), emerging services and liaison librarian and assistant professor at Winona State University in Winona, MN and UNC at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) alumna, has recently been published in Internet Reference Services Quarterly for her article “Communication, Face Saving and Anxiety at an Academic Library’s Virtual Reference Service.” 

“My article is a direct result of work I completed for my master's paper at UNC,” said Owens. “The purpose of the study was to determine if patrons who utilized virtual reference services used language that indicated research or library anxiety, and to see if librarians who used face-saving language in return had more positive outcomes than those who did not.”

Owens developed the idea for the article while working at the Undergraduate Library, Davis Library and the statewide virtual reference service, NCknows.

“All that exposure to virtual reference (VR) made me a passionate advocate for point-of-need reference services,” Owens said. “As I was choosing my master's paper topic, I started thinking about the effect librarian language and attitude often has on successful reference encounters, and wondered if the same was true for VR. After doing a lit review I found out there are others doing important work in this field, so my study focused on a recent, local and large dataset.”

The study was completed during Owens’ final two semesters at UNC. Since leaving SILS, Owens accepted her current position where she serves as a facilitator and communicator linking the library with other tech-oriented parts of the university - and generally extending the library's reach using technology.

Earlier this year, she presented a session titled, “Just a Minute: Delivering quick tutorials at the point of need” at the 2013 Library Technology conference at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN on March 21, 2013, and she has been invited to present a poster called "Take Off Your Jewelry: A 'Simple' Approach to LibGuides Design" at the Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference, next month in St. Cloud, MN.

Owens thanks her advisors and her experiences at SILS for helping her get to where she is today.

“I have to say that in hindsight that going to SILS isn't just about going to class, or at least it wasn't for me,” said Owens. “It was about figuring out what kind of librarian I wanted to be, finding out what those kinds of librarians did every day and making sure I had that experience before or as I applied for university library positions. It was about finding my niche and developing the confidence to speak about what I know and what I believe. Because of that, I get to have inspiring conversations with my colleagues almost every day about how to shape the future of our library and influence student learning at our institution in a positive way.”

To view Owens’ article in the Internet Reference Services Quarterly, visit: