Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Reference is Instruction is Reference"

I heard a speaker at CIL say that today. A librarian at BYU, that's probably true. His goal is to teach students and faculty how to search, not to find answers for them. Many public librarians might agree with that too. I would argue that at a public library, that is only true sometimes. I like to make each reference transaction a learning experience, but there are times when you just need to provide an answer. People who are frustrated don't want to be further frustrated. They came to a librarian for help. Other times, people enjoy and appreciate learning better search techniques. The answer, then, is "know thy customer."

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