2006 Annual Meeting Minutes

Notes from ALA Annual Meeting
24 June 2006
New Orleans

Members present: Nancy DuPree; Susan Gardner; Nancy Huling; Helen Subbio; Paul Victor; Kaiping Zhang.

Members absent: Erica Carlson; Allison Carr; Diane Mizrachi; Lisa Roberts; Paula Smith

Virtual member: Corey Johnson

Guests: Barb Mann; Judy Solberg; Cathy Michael

This was the second meeting of the committee since its official formation in January, 2006. We continued our discussion on identifying what our unique contribution to the field of user education might be.

Nancy DuPree shared the findings from her literature search and reading on the "teachable moment." We also touched on the topic of unmediated instruction, such as online tutorials.

We talked about hosting a panel discussion at the ALA Midwinter Meeting scheduled for Seattle. Ideas included presenting case studies of reference interviews that have worked: what is working and to what extent it is formalized, and how the teachable moment is woven into the reference interview.

Helen asked if anyone is modeling reference librarianship on what a therapist does as opposed to what a teacher does. She noted that casual instruction (e.g., the one on one or consultation) is not hierarchical -- the librarian and the patron are in the search for information together.

The idea of peer coaching - patron/librarian, staff/librarian - arose.

We touched on models of reference service and trends in reference services. Barb mentioned going where the students are and that information literacy can occur how and where you interact with students.

How does the teachable moment fit into the various models: roving, going where the students are, research consultation?

How do we work with staff who do reference to help them recognize the teachable moment?

We further discussed the possibility of a discussion at Midwinter. Nancy H will check with the chair of the Frontline Reference discussion group to see if it might be possible to sponsor a discussion on the reference interview. One of Nancy's staff could talk about the reference interview from the perspective of a therapist (he refers to the "interview" as a dialogue and conversation, emphasizing that we learn from each other). Another possible participant would be Dave Tyckoson, who has written extensively on the reference interview. Perhaps a case study approach could be taken, with focus on what the reference interview does and how to facilitate the teachable moment. How do we work in the teaching -- in the blink of an eye! How do we conduct a reference interview so that teaching occurs and we adapt to/recognize the patron's learning style? The psychological aspects of the reference interview would be interesting to explore.

Finally, we briefly touched on the role of the physical desk or physical arrangement of reference in facilitating a reference conversation. Cooperative learning can certainly be enhanced by the arrangement. Perhaps a future panel could discuss this.