I’ve used LibGuides on a very regular basis since the beginning of my career and even back in college. When working in the patent field, I regularly searched for LibGuides as a quick way to locate a list of resources on a highly specific technology or to find guidance on searching for obscure document types. LibGuides basically offer free expert advice and curated resource lists from librarians around the world, so it would be silly not to utilize this deep well of knowledge whenever I have the chance. Springshare (the creator of the LibGuides platform) has taken the basic model of an online pathfinder and transformed what used to be a solitary webpage into an interactive online community of librarians, sharing knowledge with patrons and with each other through the LibGuides Community. The LibGuides Community allows users to search across over 500,000 published LibGuides and to also locate and communicate with librarians and institutions who publish LibGuides.
The long and short of it is, I really, really appreciate LibGuides.
So I was surprised a few days ago when I came across a discussion on a library association listserv about whether LibGuides and pathfinders are on their way out. My answer is – Pathfinders? Maybe. LibGuides? NO.
Solitary lists of links may vanish into the past, but there is a thriving community of librarians, teachers, professors, and researchers behind LibGuides who are constantly offering guidance to each other (in the form of – you guessed it – LibGuides) on how to adapt and improve their LibGuides to meet changing technology and user needs.
Just a few examples:
- A LibGuide from Boston College offers best practices for creating LibGuides with responsive design, for optimized viewing on mobile devices.
- A LibGuide from the University of Illinois describes best practices for making LibGuides accessible to users with disabilities.
- A LibGuide from American University gives creative examples of how LibGuides can be used, ranging from library websites to survival guides.
Springshare also offers a variety of useful online documentation and news resources to aid librarians with improving their LibGuides, with tips on making LibGuides more mobile-friendly and interactive.
Between an active user community and an innovative company providing regular updates, I don’t see LibGuides going away anytime soon. Yes, they will constantly evolve with changing technology and information needs, but so will the entire library and information sciences field.