University Libraries Publications


Virtually the Same: Comparing the Effectiveness of Online Versus In-Person Library Tours

Publication Title

Public Services Quarterly

Publication Date

Winter 2008

Document Type



library, tours, virtual


Education | Library and Information Science


The use of virtual or Web-based tours is on the rise in academic libraries, but with the loss of face-to-face contact and direct experience with the library's physical spaces, questions abound about this format's efficacy. Do online tour experiences measure up to those of a guided, face-to-face tour? Do online tours help mold students' perceptions of the library, while imparting important practical knowledge about the library's resources and services? Librarians at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, recently confronted these questions, as they added an option for an online library tour to a large library tour program for freshman that had previously been offered strictly through guided, librarian-led tours. This paper presents the results of a preliminaiy study comparing the efficacy of learning and affective outcomes between face-to-face library tours and online library tours at Kent State University.