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  1. 1. Public Library X: How RUSA Influences Interactions MATTIE COOK 11/23/13
  2. 2. Historical Aspects of Reference Service  In David A. Tyckoson’s article “Issues and Trends in the Management of Reference Services: A Historical Perspective,” he highlights the four functions of library service that were identified in 1987 by Samuel Green. These functions are: Teaching users how to use the library and its resources, answering specific informational queries from users, recommending sources to users that fit their desires, and promoting the library within the community  Although times have changed, Tyckoson asserts that this underlying basis for reference services remains constant.
  3. 3. Reference Service Challenges Today  With tight budgets, many libraries have either eliminated or limited reference librarians.  In some libraries, this means that general librarians are performing work that reference librarians typically would execute. In the instance of Public Library X, this was the case  For patrons, reference service varied greatly between the two librarians available.  Librarian X provided information on cataloging but would not engage in other forms of communication, whereas Librarian Y more thoroughly performed the work of a typical reference librarian.  • There was an additional reference desk employee, but this individual had little to no engagement with patrons.
  4. 4. Public Library X Demographics  Public Library X has a small budget  There are no additional funds in the operating budget to hire a reference librarian, despite the fact that the staff currently receive many reference questions daily.  Public Library X is in a small community  Many of the patrons have known the staff members for years; both in a community and library setting  This may have an impact on different reference services and communication  Public Library X has three employees.   Librarian X and Y are full-time employees There is also a reference desk worker.  This employee provides additional assistance to the librarians
  5. 5. RUSA functions  The Reference and User Services Association has broken down the       reference interview process into four communication techniques that are all aspects of the reference interview. These steps consist of: Approachability, which concerns the verbal and non-verbal cues of a librarian and establishes a reference presence Interest, which pertains to how a librarian should demonstrate interest in the interaction when working with a patron Listening/Inquiring, which refers to the reference interview and how it can be used to identify the information needs of the patron Searching, which involves determining what resources have been reviewed and which still need review Follow-up, which consists of checking back with the patron to ensure their question has been answered, and if not, making them aware of other resources and facilities that could address their information needs
  6. 6. Sample Reference Conversation between Librarian X and patron Patron approaches reference desk and no one is available. Patron must try to get the attention of Librarian X.  “Hi, I’ve been trying to gather information on (local history) but can’t find anything,” the patron said to Librarian X  “Hm, well, that’s frustrating,” Librarian X responded.  “Is there anything here or should I try the X (historical) museum?” the patron inquired.  “No, the materials are in our history section,” said Librarian X said.  “Ok,” said the patron, who then preceded to walk around the library looking for the history section. After a few minutes, Library Y approached the patron  “Is there something I can help you find?” Librarian Y asked.  “Yes, I am looking for (local history) information but don’t know where to look,” the patron said.  “It’s right over here, let me show you,” Librarian Y said. Afterward, Librarian Y explained how the materials were organized and explained how and where additional information could be found.
  7. 7. Patrons Reaction to Reference Service  When the patron acted embarrassed while having difficulty getting the attention of the librarian in the beginning of the interaction.  When the librarian did not make any attempt to help her locate materials, the patron tried to find the material alone.  Without the help of Librarian Y, the patron may have left the library without the desired material and with an unfavorable opinion of reference services at Public Library X.
  8. 8. How RUSA functions can be Used to Enhance Reference Services  Approachability: Librarian X was not available for the patron when needed,     but Librarian Y approached the patron and provided assistance. Interest: Librarian X did not engage in the conversation, did not smile during the interaction and did not appear to want to help the patron more than providing basic information. Librarian Y took an interest in the patron and was able to help. Listening and Inquiring: Librarian X, listened to the patrons needs, but did not inquire to receive more information that could help in locating the materials. Librarian Y asked the patron questions so that she could help find specific materials for the patron. Searching: Librarian X failed to inquire into what materials had been used in the past and what was specifically wanted during the visit to Public Library X. Librarian Y assisted the patron in the search and helped her to locate the needed information. Follow-up: Before the patron checked out, Librarian Y asked if she needed an additional help with locating resources. In addition, Librarian Y provided contact information from a local historian who could be of assistance in the quest for information on the topic.
  9. 9. Works Cited  Tyckoson, D. A. (2012). Issues and Trends in the Management of Reference Services: A Historical Perspective. Journal of Library Administration, 52(6/7), 581-600. Doi: 10.1080/01930826.2012.707953  Kern, Kathleen M. and Woodard, Beth S. in Bopp, Richard E. and Smith, Linda C. Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. The Reference Interview. 54-73. 4th ed.