The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA),
Reference Transactions are information consultations in which library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources to help others to meet particular information needs. Reference transactions do not include formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.
Link between the user and the source
Knowledge of sources
Reference Work is:
Based on size and characteristics of users (e.g. special library vs. elementary school
Frequently utilizes reference interview - a structured conversation to define the information need.
Sometimes requires that you instruct the user on use of the sources
Is in a state of radical change
As early as 1876 Samuel Green described the reference process as including information, instruction and guidance.
1887 Columbia College started first library school
1900s many public libraries had reference room and were promoting the information function rather than instruction and guidance
networks allow library systems to share materials/resources
Technology poses problems and opportunities
Can users use technology without help/knowledge?
Can library find a way to provide database access at no charge?
Access to onlline classes
Sources of Information
SLM periodical have occasional articles or regular columns on reference services.
Some well-known devoted solely to Reference services are:
RQ (Reference Quarterly)
The Reference Librarian
LIBREF-L may be subscribed to at email@example.com
Information - provides answer
Ready reference questions
Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery
Information and Referral Services
Fee-based Services and Information Brokering
Is a major part of reference service in School Libraries
Types of instruction
Assistance provided for a continuing interest or project.
Usually Reader’s Advisory (assure user’s freedom of choice and privacy)
Cooperative reference service Instruction on the use of equipment and software
Instruction on information seeking techniques (Information Literacy)
Stress and burnout are a factor in the fast paced need for information
Effectiveness performance appraisal
What will future reference service look like?
New Definition of Reference Services
combines searching, mediated instruction and assistance (both formal and informal)