The climate of change in music reference represents a challenge to librarians. The three issues in the library literature that probably have the greatest impact on music reference service and are the subject of this paper are changes in users, sources, and modes of access to sources. These three issues are certainly related, as users need to use sources, and they need to know how to access them in order to use them. Reference librarians are called upon to mediate this process. Music library collections have their own peculiarities, however. Because they contain a wider variety of materials than many other kinds of library collections, reference librarians for music collections must be aware of the format, content, and intended uses of these materials, as well as the research patterns of their patrons. In the recent past, as cultural norms have changed with the paradigm of Western culture, users have wanted to use music libraries in new ways, and librarians are challenged to accommodate them. The musical genres used and requested by today's library patrons are different than they once were, both for listening and for academic study. Musical reference sources are being issued in electronic formats, and this represents a challenge for some users. The expanded use of interlibrary loan and electronic access to materials represents new opportunities and challenges. Music librarians are being called upon to provide services to patrons they may never see.
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