All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference section of a library to meet the information need s of patron s (in person, by telephone, or electronically), including but not limited to answering substantive question s, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tool s and techniques for finding information , conducting search es on behalf of the patron, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in the evaluation of information, referring patrons to resources outside the library when appropriate, keeping reference statistics , and participating in the development of the reference collection . . . . See also : collaborative reference , cooperative reference , digital reference , ready reference , and Reference and User Services Association .
Online Dictionary of Library Science http://lu.com/odlis/odlis_r.cfm#refservices
Book s containing authoritative information not meant to be read cover to cover, such as dictionaries , handbook s, and encyclopedia s, shelved together by call number in a special section of the library called the reference stacks . Reference book s may not be checked out because they are needed by librarian s to answer question s at the reference desk . Their location and circulation status is usually indicated by the symbol "R" or "Ref" preceding the call number in the catalog record and on the spine label . See also : ready reference .
Managing and Analyzing Your Collection: A Practical Guide for Small Libraries and School Media Centers (ALA, 2002):
To think of your collection only within the physical boundaries of your library will create a limited view of the collection. You need to consider availability and accessibility when defining your collections.
The ease with which a person may enter a library , gain access to its online systems, use its resources, and obtain needed information regardless of format . In a more general sense, the quality of being able to be located and used by a person. In the Web environment, the quality of being usable by everyone regardless of disability. See the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) .
In a significant number of schools, there have been reductions in library funding, in favour of increasing the number of computers in libraries. Aging reference books are not being replaced, due to the flawed rationale that Internet access has negated the necessity for such print material.
The value of the Internet as a communication tool is beyond dispute. However, it can also be a time-consuming, frustrating, or misleading reference source.
Now that we've got the Internet, why do we need Libraries?
The process of planning and building a useful and balanced collection of library materials over a period of years, based on an ongoing assessment of the information need s of the library 's clientele , analysis of usage statistics, and demographic projection s, normally constrained by budget ary limitations. Collection development includes the formulation of selection criteria , planning for resource sharing , and replacement of lost and damaged items , as well as routine selection and deselection decisions.
June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information
What are the phases of collection development ?
The process of deciding which materials should be added to a library collection . Selection decisions are usually made on the basis of review s and standard collection development tools by librarian s designated as selectors in specific subject areas, based on their interests and field s of specialization . In academic libraries , selection may also be done by members of the teaching faculty in their discipline s. Very large academic and public libraries may use an approval plan or blanket order plan to assist selectors. Library patron s also recommend title s for purchase, especially in libraries that provide a suggestion box . The opposite of deselection . See also : selection aid and selection criteria .
To make the best use of funding, the media specialist must work collaboratively with the teachers to identify needs, review existing resources, select new materials, and build effective learning environments.
The key is creating positive working relationships so that the best possible materials are available for students in a timely manner.
The Nine Information Literacy Standards for Student Learning do not explicitly address reference service as such.
Standard 3 is relevant here, however:
The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information
The newest national standards June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information Standards for the 21st-Century Learner offer vision for teaching and learning to both guide and beckon our profession as education leaders. They will both shape the library program and serve as a tool for library media specialists to use to shape the learning of students in the school. http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslproftools/learningstandards/standards.cfm
Students use reference tools such as dictionaries, almanacs, encyclopedias, and computer reference programs and research tools such as interviews and surveys to find the information they need to meet specific demands, explore interests, or solve specific problems.
This main area should be centrally located. Flexible areas should be provided for large and small groups, individual study, and leisure reading. A storytelling area should also be included at the elementary level. Within the reference area (and/or other areas of the LMC) computers, phone lines and data drops must be available for network CD-ROM access, other database access and telecommunications. The main facility should be at least 50-75% of the total square footage.
Beyond Proficiency: Essentials of a Distinguished Library Media Program , p. 42
The library media center’s reference collection may consist of a variety of formats including print, nonprint, and electronic items. . . . Reference collections in print and electronic formats at all grade levels should de-emphasize multivolume general reference encyclopedias and focus on subject-related reference resources such as field guides, travel guides, collective biographies, almanacs, general and specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias, geographical resources, directories, and bibliographies.
Standards for Missouri School Library Media Centers , p. 9-10 http://www.fulton.k12.mo.us/desedocs/curriculum/standards/99standards.pdf
Every school system should have a comprehensive policy on the selection of instructional materials. It should relate to and include all materials; for example, textbooks, library books, periodicals, films, videocassettes, records, audiocassettes, and CDs. The reason should be obvious: haphazard patterns of acquisition will result in waste because some—perhaps many—materials will overlap in content, or will be unrelated to changing patterns of instruction.
ALA Workbook for Selection Policy Writing http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/challengesupport/dealing/workbookselection.htm
Collection Development Policy for Williamstown Jr/. Sr. High School Library Media Center
[This] collection development policy and procedures manual is to serve professional faculty and staff at Williamstown Jr./Sr. High School School. It is solely for the use of aforementioned school and provides an overview of general processing, selection and weeding policies and procedures.
June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information
Selection Tools for Reference Collections June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information
An annual “abridged” version of American Reference Books Annual , affectionately known as ARBA
Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries and Media Centers
Online Guides June 4, 2009 Pathfinders to Information Reference for Students Blanche Woolls and David Loertscher bring you the best in K-12 print reference materials. http://www.gale.cengage.com/reference/bandd Use TITLEWAVE to search for books and audiovisual materials, build and store lists, and order online. Use TitleWise to identify the strengths & weaknesses of school & district collections.
Look for items (print and non-print) that are not current and that include information that is out-of-date, inaccurate, or misleading. Any title that implies currency (Today, Modern, etc.) should be examined critically. This decision should be based on the content of the item, not the cost or good physical condition. Books with appropriate and accurate content but in bad physical condition should be repaired or weeded.
Obtrusive: Someone sits and watches (or makes a video of) the librarian
Unobtrusive: Use of “mystery patron”, where student proxies ask prepared questions and the librarian has no idea this is an observation
See "Reference Evaluation: An Overview" in Assessment and Accountability in Reference Work . Ed. Susan Blandy, Lynee Martine, Mary Strife. New York: Haworth Press, 1992. 141-150 and Reference Librarian . 38 (1992) 151-73
. . . it's important to ask yourself: What are you really advocating, marketing, or promoting? Yourself, your program, your teachers, information, or lifelong learning? What's the purpose of the activity? How will the outcomes of the activity impact students? How does it relate to your mission?
Change: Innovating Practices and Evolving Roles
Read Toolkit for School Library Media Programs for the @your library campaign.
Your school has decided to add a special emphasis for this school year on sex education. For your school library media center, assess your needs, current collection and requirements for updating the reference collection in this area. What will you do if your choices are challenged? How will you plan your provision of reference service? How would you market it?