RSS Reference Services Section 2008 Annul Highlights User Education and Information Literacy

COMMITTEE: User Education & Information Literacy Committee



DATES: 6/28/08


MEMBERS PRESENT: Members present: Paul Victor, Nancy Huling, Nancy Dupree, Susan Gardner, and Steven Vest

MEMBERS ABSENT: Members absent: Erica Carlson, Nicol Irmin Allner, Michael Ingram, Paula Smith, and Rekesha Spellman

VISITORS: Colleen Harris (will be a member after Annual), Amy Rustic (guest), and Fay Kallista (guest)

-Discuss research pertaining to the Information Gathering/Reference Interview Project.
-Examine various characteristics influencing approachability of patrons to the reference desk.

SUMMARY: Information Gathering/Reference Interview Project: Committee members have been exploring different career fields and examining how they gather information. The goal is to see what methods that they use that librarians don't that would be useful for improving reference services to patrons. Examples of fields examined include: business, tourism, health science/nursing, law, journalism, etc. We are also looking into some other relevant areas that were brought up in the meeting like: history, sociology, psychology. One area that was particularly interesting to the committee members was the interviewing techniques of oral historians. Especially with the emphasis these days on interviewing war veterans before they die. We would like to pursue the oral history route and talk to some people in this area. Then perhaps pick some of the other areas and put together a panel discussion program for a future ALA. It would be good to perhaps team up with a larger group like the American Historical Association for added clout.

The other idea that we liked had to do with how various factors effecting approachability. In other words, how do the following characteristics effect approachability?: gender, age, appearance, culture/race/ethnicity, physical environment, etc. How do these factors influence whether patrons feel comfortable with approaching the reference desk or not. For example, we heard examples from people who had patrons approach a particular librarian because they had one of those characteristics in common and the patron felt more comfortable approaching that person than the other librarians. I want to talk to Dave Tyckoson since I took his Ref. Interview course online last year and I know that he did some surveys along these lines that may help us. Plus we'll have to do a literature search to see what's already been done on this topic. But the committee also voiced interest in writing a journal article on this topic.

EVALUATION: Good discussion and ideas proposed. The absent members just need to add their input on this matter and we can proceed.


RECOMMENDATIONS: None at this time.