New eCourse: Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians

Chicago—ALA Editions announces a new iteration of our popular eCourse, Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians. Francisca Goldsmith will serve as the instructor for a 4-week facilitated eCourse starting on Monday, February 6, 2017.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 24
Certificate of Completion available upon request

Learning outcomes

After participating in this course, you will:

  • Learn a variety of reference interviewing tactics to use with diverse groups, including:
    • Adults
    • Youth
    • Community members new to English or with communication disabilities
  • Understand how to evaluate online resources and become acquainted with government sites providing quality information related to health, law, and consumer affairs
  • Be able to confidently present information that satisfies community members’ reference questions
  • Become aware of relevant publications, social media platforms, and recommended readings that will help you continue to develop your reference services skills

Are you new to the reference desk? The ability to provide reference services is a valuable skill for every librarian, but proper training is essential. Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians is a full-online course designed to help librarians who have never done reference work get up to speed.

Francisca Goldsmith is an experienced reference librarian and instructor who will demonstrate and instruct you on what you need to know about working the reference desk. You’ll start with the basics of communicating with patrons and conducting a reference interview, and then you’ll be familiarized with important resources that will allow you to successfully assist patrons. Finally, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to continue to train yourself after the course so you can keep expanding your capabilities.

eCourse outline

Week 1 - Essential Tool Kit

  • Communication
    • Listen
    • Use your language(s)
      • Scoping vocabulary
      • Body language
    • Practicing open-ended questions
  • Evaluating sources
    • 5 criteria
  • Flexibility
    • Being prepared
    • Staying open

Week 2 – First Line of Defense: Free Quality Sites

  • Government websites to know
  • Advanced Google searching
  • Using other search engines
  • Wikipedia

Week 3 – Organizing Guides

  • Ethics
  • Indexing
  • Using finding tools

Week 4 – Growing Your Skill Set

  • Practice
  • Share
  • Asking for help
  • More places to find support

About the Instructor

Francisca Goldsmith has worked in public and academic libraries across North America, for more than 25 years before becoming a full-time library staff development consultant and instructor. Recently, her focus has been on supporting public library staff and administrators in responding to community needs for access to health-care information and expanding librarian and educator awareness of multi-modal literacy needs in both youth and adult communities. Her library experience and consulting includes frontline reference work, collection management, branch services management, and teen services development and advocacy. She is the author of the upcoming book from ALA Editions, The Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Second Edition.

Registration for this ALA Editions facilitated eCourse, which begins on Monday, February 6, 2017, can be purchased at the ALA Store. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (MP3 files), and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files.

ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at editionscoursehelp@ala.org.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness, and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. 

Colton Ursiny
Administrative Assistant
Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians eCourse
cursiny@ala.org
ALA Publishing
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