New iteration: Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians eCourse

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/12/2018


Colton Ursiny

Administrative Assistant

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions

Chicago—ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions 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, March 12, 2018.

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 1Essential 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 Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Second Edition (ALA Editions, 2017).

Registration for this ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions facilitated eCourse, which begins on March 12, 2018, 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 Publishing eLearning Solutions (ELS) produces high-quality professional development events and materials for the library profession. ELS events cover modern issues on a wide variety of topics in formats that include live workshops, asynchronous eCourses, and print publications. We help ensure that today’s library employees have access to the professional development opportunities they need, whether they are brushing up on the basics or expanding their horizons with cutting-edge tools. Contact us at

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