A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Posts Tagged ‘reference’

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Creative Ways To Fight Fake News

In our hyperconnected, networked world, where information flows freely to devices with the tap of a finger, librarians are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Promoting our detective-like information-finding skills is important so people know they can still turn to us when Google can’t cough up a good answer. Here are some innovative ways librarians can shine the light on reference services and continue to be the super info-professionals in their communities:

girl using large reference book

Teach Effective Research Skills Early

Although I am a “younger” librarian, I do remember learning the tools for researching and writing a paper in high school. In fact, we had to write and research a topic in order to graduate high school. As students we had to compile sources by searching through the card catalog, and then we had to locate the physical books in the stacks. It was by doing this that we learned how to use indexes, how to create a ‘Works Cited’ page, how to sift through information on an assigned topic, and how to use the card catalogs. We did not have to worry about the quality of the research on our desired topics.

question marks

Finding Answers

The most frequent request librarians get at the reference desk (other than directions to the bathroom) is a request for an answer–not necessarily a resource. Over the years of working with various organizations, businesses, and libraries, it seems we have great access to all sorts of information. We collect it, we catalog it, we index it, we sort it, we file it, we shelve it, and we make it available with computers. The government does a lot of that too, and they even give rewards, i.e., grants to those who will collect the information and make it available either as booklets, seminars, workshops, videos, and digitally online.

Reference librarian and patron

Advice vs. Counsel

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about the traditional old reference interview. Yes, we seldom talk about reference practices and services anymore, even though we (mostly) agree that it is still a vital and fundamental library service.