The Library possesses, organizes and provides access to its community's single largest concentration of information resources. Reference services staff take into account information-seeking behaviours and information needs, and provide access in a manner that is most useful to the user.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Facilitates library users’ requests for information

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Practices effective reference interviewing skills, in person or online,  (soliciting additional input, gauging unstated needs, etc.) to best fulfill a user’s actual needs 
  • Addresses users’ requests for assistance with confidentiality and  without bias across the spectrum of age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability or economic status
  • Understands information seeking behaviours, the variety of ways people ask for assistance, and the possibility that patrons won’t ask for assistance
  • Demonstrates strong interpersonal communication skills, including welcoming manner, active listening and non-judgmental response
  • Acknowledges users’ knowledge and involves users as partners in seeking information and choosing resources
  • Answers questions knowledgeably, providing information of an appropriate scope and reading level
  • Identifies opportunities for instruction and empowers users to improve their own information-seeking ability
  • Provides support for users and their self-directed learning endeavours
  • Is comfortable with the concept of roving reference, and has the skills to facilitate this type of service
  • Evaluates the success of the reference interaction through feedback from staff, users and other stakeholders.


Competency: Provides search and retrieval of requested information and presents results that are clear and of appropriate scope

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the reference collection, including both print and online resources
  • Identifies the best kind of resource (print, database, Web) to use to offer assistance
  • Demonstrates the ability to use multiple resources and search strategies in order to perform effective search queries
  • Continues the reference interview process with users to refine the search or topic as appropriate
  • Synthesizes information from a variety of resources and evaluates results for quality and accuracy
  • Customizes the answer to meet the user’s specific needs and characteristics and ensures that the user understands the results
  • Understands the advantages and limitations of federated search
  • Recognizes the limits of library resources and refers users or questions to other libraries, individuals or agencies as appropriate.
  • Uses current technology tools for research and makes exploration of new tools and platforms an ongoing effort

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