For immediate release | March 29, 2011

The reference librarian as information consultant

CHICAGO — Library users’ evolving information needs and their choice of search methods have changed reference work profoundly. Today’s reference librarian must work in a whole new way—not only service-focused and businesslike, but even entrepreneurial. In “The Librarian as Information Consultant: Transforming Reference for the Information Age,” published by ALA Editions, Sarah Anne Murphy rethinks in an innovative way the philosophy behind current library reference services. This thought-provoking book:

  • Reconceives reference librarianship on the model of a consulting business, providing a renewed vision of the reference desk by treating patrons as clients;
  • Spells out the importance of patrons’ voices and details methods for building and maintaining relationships with them;
  • Articulates the reference librarian’s competitive advantage over Web search engines and shows how to capitalize on them;
  • Offers tools that allow frontline staff and administrators in any type of reference department to monitor and continuously improve their library’s services.

Murphy is coordinator of research and reference for the Ohio State University Libraries and has held various positions at OSU since 1999. She has published papers on Lean Six Sigma, mentoring and issues related to veterinary medicine libraries in College and Research Libraries, the Journal of Academic Librarianship, and the Journal of the Medical Library Association.

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