Practical Joke at the Library

If the staff is well-trained, they’ll refer to patron to the reference librarians. The librarians will then conduct a proper reference interview.

Why? Because rarely does a patron state his/her need in a way that readily translates to the library’s resources. The patron may be asking for a reverse casting spell and does not care if it from a book, a video or an electronic database.

Furthermore, the presence of the hedgehog and the patron’s mood may not be a reliable indicator of his/her information need. A good librarian doesn’t assume, but asks clarifying questions in order to systematically drill down to the patron objective.

Does that make sense to you? Good. You now qualify for 3 semester hours from an ALA-accredited MLIS program.

(Photo: Vladislav Sabanov)


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Yes, it certainly is. I've noticed that when I ask for things in grocery or hardware stores, I'm very specific about what I want. I don't translate my need into what I think the store has, but rather I let the employee helping me do that.
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I love the reference interview! It's the most useful thing I learned in my library technician studies, and it's by far the most useful skill when it comes to moving into another field. No matter where you go, the world is full of people who don't know how to say what they really want. Knowing how to figure out what they're asking and what questions to ask along the way is priceless.
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