Location

Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Start Date

5-31-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

5-31-2018 4:00 PM

Description

Public services includes both reference and instruction services, but why don't the two work together? Train together? Reference is the public service the profession has tried to abandon. Integrating reference into instruction and training staff members side by side allows for ideas and solutions to be shared across professional boundaries. Reference staff can then use and mirror language the students hear in classrooms, steer students towards sources appropriate to the assignment, and open communication from reference staff to instruction librarians on the types of questions they are seeing at the reference desk. Reference interactions can spur conversations with faculty for instruction and open up collaboration possibilities beyond the classroom.

Reference is often done in isolation, both as a service and as a staff. Staffing the desk is a solo task and most of the conversations that happen with other members of a reference team only happen in passing or are about little more than swapping shifts. Taking a systematic approach to reference takes the burden off of the individual and creates a collaborative and intentional service.

Reference services are vital to a library. Unlike other essential services, reference often lacks structure, support, or training beyond the very basics. Simple steps can be taken to rectify this. In this presentation, we will discuss some of the strategies we implemented like training IL staff and reference staff together, creating internal collaborative resources, scheduling regular reference team meetings, and coordinating reference staffing with instruction schedules allowing staff to have formal and informal conversations about reference.

Keywords

information literacy, academic libraries, collaborations, public services, human resources, personnel

Rights

Copyright © 2018 the authors

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May 31st, 3:00 PM May 31st, 4:00 PM

Come Together Like Voltron: Strategies for Intentional Reference

Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Public services includes both reference and instruction services, but why don't the two work together? Train together? Reference is the public service the profession has tried to abandon. Integrating reference into instruction and training staff members side by side allows for ideas and solutions to be shared across professional boundaries. Reference staff can then use and mirror language the students hear in classrooms, steer students towards sources appropriate to the assignment, and open communication from reference staff to instruction librarians on the types of questions they are seeing at the reference desk. Reference interactions can spur conversations with faculty for instruction and open up collaboration possibilities beyond the classroom.

Reference is often done in isolation, both as a service and as a staff. Staffing the desk is a solo task and most of the conversations that happen with other members of a reference team only happen in passing or are about little more than swapping shifts. Taking a systematic approach to reference takes the burden off of the individual and creates a collaborative and intentional service.

Reference services are vital to a library. Unlike other essential services, reference often lacks structure, support, or training beyond the very basics. Simple steps can be taken to rectify this. In this presentation, we will discuss some of the strategies we implemented like training IL staff and reference staff together, creating internal collaborative resources, scheduling regular reference team meetings, and coordinating reference staffing with instruction schedules allowing staff to have formal and informal conversations about reference.