Reference

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

Please review sols.org's Terms of Use. For questions, comments and suggestions regarding this website, please Contact SOLS Helpdesk.

The Southern Ontario Library Service  is working to make our website accessible to all. We welcome comments and suggestions on access improvements and encourage you to take a look at our updated Accessibility Policy. If you require a particular PDF or word document in an accessible format, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also offer BrowseAloud reading support - click on the orange graphic to the right to launch.  Learn more about BrowseAloud.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.