What Are Information Services?Defining Reference Service in School Libraries2013
2What are informationservices?And what do they haveto do with schools andlibraries?
3Information Services:a working definition For the purposes of this class,we can define informationservices as any service intendedto provide information for aclient or user, or assist a client oruser in finding or searching forinformation
4Libraries have traditionallyprovided reference services reference services• All the functions performed by a trainedlibrarian employed in the reference section of alibrary to meet the information needs ofpatrons (in person, by telephone, orelectronically), including but not limited toanswering substantive questions, instructingusers in the selection and use of appropriatetools and techniques for findinginformation, conducting searches on behalf ofthe patron, directing users to the location oflibrary resources, assisting in the evaluation ofinformation, referring patrons to resourcesoutside the library when appropriate, keepingreference statistics, and participating in thedevelopment of the reference collection.
5What Is Reference? Why Is It Important?• The goal of reference work is tomeet people’s information needs.• Reference work includes findingout what information people needand using library resources toprovide that information.• http://www.olc.org/Ore/1what.htm
6Important reminder Reference work is about people• those who need information andthose who provide it. Referenceservice is providing information tomeet the needs of the individuallibrary users in your community.• Module 1 - People
7What is the reference process? The reference process includes thefollowing:1. Encouraging the patron to contact thelibrary when there is an informationneed.2. Finding out what the real informationneed is.3. Finding the information that will meetthe need.4. Making sure the patron’s need reallyhas been met.
8Reference questions What is a reference question?• A reference question is a questionthat involves theknowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in theuse of one or more informationsources by a member of the librarystaff.• Library » CPLA Reference & ResourceCenter » Frequently Asked Questions »Reference
9Then, there’s the reference interview Reference interview?• In the reference process, knowing howto get the question is a critical steptoward finding the right answer.Determining the real question isaccomplished through the referenceinterview. The reference interview is adiscussion between you and yourpatron. It involves asking the rightquestions and listening carefully to theanswers.• Houston Area Library System HALSReference123 Module 2..QuestionsThe Reference Interview
10Thought-provoking According to Robert Taylor, thereference interview is• “one of the most complex acts ofhuman communication,” for in thisact “one person tries to describe foranother person not something heknows, but rather something hedoes not know.”• “Question Negotiation and InformationSeeking in Libraries,” College and ResearchLibraries 29 (May 1968): 180. Quoted inTibbo, Helen. “Learning to Love Our Users:A Challenge to the Profession and a Modelfor Practice.” 2002. Online athttp://www.ils.unc.edu/tibbo/MAC Spring2002.pdf
11Communication with a Purpose The reference librarian “is involved indiagnostic and prescriptive activity.”• “what people ask for [want] isoften not what they really need.Thus, it is important to have thediagnostic session so that the clientwill be given the right informationand will be successful.”• Robinson, William C. (2000). “TheReference Interview.” Course material fromthe University of Tennessee—Knoxvilleapparently no longer available online
12Basic Considerations1. The student may not know what toexpect.2. The “average” student may have nopreknowledge of the type of resource(s)that will answer his or her question.3. The student’s communication skillsmay not be as refined as yours.4. The student may not know theterminology (library lingo) used in thereference interview.• Riedling, Ann Marlow. “Great Ideas for Improving ReferenceInterviews.” Book Report. 19.3 (Nov/Dec2000): 28-29.Ann Riedling
13Considerations, cont.5. The student may lack knowledge aboutthe subject, the assignment, or the usagepolicies of the SLMC.6. The student may misinterpret yournonverbal or verbal cues.7. The student may be fearful of you orfrustrated about the question beingraised.8. Communications may becomemiscommunications when a student isunable to verbalize his or her informationneed.• Riedling, “Great Ideas.”
14Miscommunication happens! Examples:• Patron asks for information on“career.” Turned out he meant“Korea.”• After showing the patron several bookabout Buddhism, I realized that wasnot what he meant when he asked forinformation on Nirvana.• the Hawaiian volcano, Killer Whale• Miscommunications in Libraries. Now anarchived site.• See also Weird library reference questionsand Funny Requests from patrons
Deep Reference Question• Yes, an actual question:If I ate only Cheetos, would I turnorange?• See all the posts labeled “Reference” made byThe Liberry aka Amy or Marian The athttp://lovetheliberry.blogspot.com/search/label/reference15
16Types of problems Reference librarians are used to dealing withsituations like these:• Homophones, a word the librarian interpretswith one meaning while the user means the other:e.g., Wales/Whales; China/china.• User misunderstands and, in turn, conveys thismisunderstanding to the librarian: i.e., “I needthe book Catch Her in the Eye” (Catcher in theRye)• User understands the concept but does not usethe correct terms: i.e., I need the book, “Battleof the Planets” - (War of the Worlds)• Gale/ALISE Bibliographic Instruction SupportProgram. Instructional Module 2: Importance of theReference Interview . No longer available online.
“Oranges and Peaches”:A Classic Article Understanding Communication Accidents in theReference Interview• In the reference transaction, the librarianmust have a clear, complete understandingof the user’s information need before asatisfactory answer can be given. Often thequestion must be negotiated through areference interview, where the librarian willattempt to clarify, expand, and perhapsrepair the query as it is initially presentedby the user.17
18Structure of the Interview ORE Skills and steps in the referenceinterview:• Paraphrasing• Asking open questions• Clarifying• Verifying• Getting all the needed information (the6 pieces of evidence)• Following up• Ending the interview• Reference Interview Module 2http://www.olc.org/Ore/2interview.htm
20What are neutral questions? Neutral questions• “Neutral questions are open inform, avoid premature diagnosis of theproblem, and structure the interviewalong dimensions universally importantto users -- their gaps, theirsituations, the bridges they wish toconstruct, and the outcomes they wishto achieve.”• Dervin, B., & Dewdney, P. (1986). Neutralquestioning: A new approach to the referenceinterview. RQ, 25 (4): 506-513. Abstract online athttps://faculty.washington.edu/jwj/lis521/zennezdervindewd86nq-1.pdf
21Uses of Neutral Questions Used to discover the user’smotivation and objectives withoutasking “why” questions• What would you like to know about X?• How do you plan to use this information?• How would this information help you?• Freund, L. “Question Negotiation inOnline Searching.” Powerpointpresentation. Online athttp://choo.fis.utoronto.ca/FIS/Courses/LIS1325/QuestionNego.pdf
22Evidence Needed What do you want to end up with at theconclusion of the interview?• Purpose• Deadline• Type and Amount• Who• Where• The Basic Question• 6 Pieces of Evidence. Houston Area Library SystemReference Training Module 2. Online athttp://www.hals.lib.tx.us/ref123/2evidence.htm
23Ending the Interview Close• Check if the question has been orcan be answered with the materialat hand.• Check to see if the person issatisfied at the moment.• Expressly offer additional help asneeded.• Withdraw cordially.• “The Reference Interview: A Common-Sense Review.”Available online athttp://infopeople.org/sites/all/files/past/2004/reference/ASCLAALAref_interview.pdf
24Reference in the School Library Types of interviews• Ready reference interviews• Include questions that can be answeredwith short factual information• Research project interviews• Involve in-depth coverage of atopic, often requiring the use of multiplesources• Readers’ advisory interviews• Recommending good leisure reading• Ann Riedling, Reference Skills for the SchoolLibrary Media Specialist, 2nd ed.
25Face-to-face Reference• Part of the joy of the referenceinterview is its tangible, tactilenature and the slow buildup asyou gather enough informationto begin the search process. Youlisten, question, and listenagain; you pick up cues fromgestures and facial expressions.• Schneider, Karen G. “Internet Librarian: In YourDreams: A Y2K Fantasy.” American LibrariesDecember 1999. Online athttp://archive.ala.org/alonline/netlib/il1299.html
27Digital Reference What is Digital Reference?• Digital reference services, alsocalled “Ask-An-Expert” (or“AskA”) services, are Internet-based question and answer servicesthat connect users [frequentlymembers of the K-12 educationcommunity] with individuals whopossess specialized subject or skillexpertise.• http://www2.maxwell.syr.edu/plegal/askalg.html
What about virtual reference? What is Virtual Reference?• Virtual reference is the provision of libraryreference services through digital orelectronic information technology. In thecase of Ask A Question (AAQ), it meansthat individuals are able to ask for andreceive reference assistance at any timeusing any computer with Internet access,whether they are at home, at work, in thelibrary or elsewhere.28
Important questionRegardless of how the service isprovided, virtually or in person, does ithave to be a certified school librarianwho provides the service?• Are School Librarians Expendable?• “School librarians are on the chopping blockas states and cities seek to cut their educationbudgets. . . . Do superintendents andprincipals see librarians as more expendablethan other school employees? If so, why?”• New York TimesUpdated June 27, 2011 03:46 PM30
A recent resolution ALA Resolution that School Libraries andLibrarians are Critical to Educational Success• Whereas school librarians help students acquireunique skills not taught in the classroom andinformation and technology skills essential forstudents in the 21st century;• Whereas there has been research conducted in22 states and a Canadian Province thatprovides significant evidence indicating thevalue added to student’s academic developmentby the presence of a strong school libraryprogram led by a credentialed librarian;•31
More from the resolution• Whereas the most universal finding is that thepresence of full-time, credentialed schoollibrarians and appropriate support staff whoimplement a quality, school integrated programof library services is directly related to thesestudent educational gains;• Whereas quality school library programsstaffed by credential school librarians preparestudents to have the 21st Century skills theyneed to succeed in college and careers. They areparticularly critical to help close theachievement gap of students who come fromeconomically disadvantage backgrounds.• ALA Resolution that School Libraries and Librarians areCritical to Educational Success32