The Cat’s out of the Bag. We’re Not Just Reference Anymore.

3 min read

By Harmony Faust

I shared an inside secret with you in our first post and it felt liberating, so I’m going to do it again here. As a representative of a company with 60 years as a leading publisher of reference content, this secret is potentially risky to post, but no less true.

Whew. Okay. Here it goes…

I have heard several of our public libraries partners say…*gasp*…their patrons aren’t asking for reference anymore. That it’s hard to create excitement around reference. In fact, a much-esteemed leader in library land was so bold as to say, to my face, that we do ourselves a disservice by referring to our eBook platform as Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).

It’s not like we didn’t see it coming—we’re proud of our customer- and user-centered approach to product strategy and development. But it does pose certain challenges for us as we aim to continue providing the content, tools and services you need to support research at your library.

I can’t promise we won’t ever call it reference again. But I can tell you that we’ve heard you loud and clear. In fact, we even just announced that GVRL is going to get a new name.

We’re also taking a page out of this book, and calling our eBooks and other resources what they really are—tools to support self-directed education at your library and content you need to assist with research.

People may not be coming in to your library (or visiting your websites) looking for something called “reference material,” but they are coming in asking for research assistance on topics like travel, homework, genealogical research, gardening, cooking, health concerns—for all of these things and more, we have you covered.

Obviously new education programs like Career Online High School are bold moves to expand Gale beyond the “r” word, but we are fans of the old adage “make new friends, but keep the old.” And there is plenty of gold to be found in these exciting new eBook collections…or silver…I’m not really sure which, but there are more than 10,000 titles in GVRL so you’re sure to find something good.


[alert-info]Harmony Faust

About the Author

Harmony Faust is Gale’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. She channels her passion for libraries into her volunteer work, serving as a member of the steering committee for the Corporate Committee for Library Investment and on the Board of Directors for EveryLibrary, the only national organization dedicated to building voter support for libraries. Harmony lives in Plymouth, Michigan, with her husband, dog and two young children. Her opinions are her own.


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