I Am Not A Robot: Using Emotional Intelligence to Humanize Virtual Reference Interactions

Thursday, 8/24/2017
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Central)
  • 10:00 AM-11:00 AM (Mountain)
  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM (Pacific)

RUSA’s Behavioral Guidelines for Reference and Information Services state that visibility and approachability, listening, and interest are required for successful reference transactions. As the number of online reference interactions continue to increase, librarians must rethink how to present these attributes to our patrons. This webinar will assert that improving emotional intelligence will improve our overall virtual communication. According to Mayer, Salovey and Caruso, individuals with high emotional intelligence often have a better ability to engage in sophisticated information processing. As virtual reference requires a multilayered skillset (reference, technology, customer services, communication) in a fast paced environment, virtual reference staffers with higher emotional intelligence will improve the experience for both practitioner and patron. This webinar will provide librarians and staff with an emotional intelligence toolkit to improve their virtual reference experience as well as provide tips for implementing a training program that incorporates emotional intelligence principles.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcome 1: Participants will understand the basics of emotional intelligence and how to cultivate applicable skills
  • Learning Outcome 2: Participants will improve their ability to facilitate critical thinking and communication using emotional intelligence
  • Learning Outcome 3: Participants will have to necessary toolkit to include emotional intelligence training in their virtual reference training program

Who Should Attend

Individuals that provide virtual reference and/or train others in virtual reference:

  • University libraries
  • Community college libraries
  • Public libraries
  • School libraries
  • Reference librarians
  • Online librarians
  • Instruction librarians
  • Liaison librarians
  • Paraprofessional library staff


Emily Mann is the Research and Information Services Librarian at Florida State University. She heads research and reference training for undergraduate services. Emily coordinates the FSU Libraries Reference Associate program that trains new library professional and mentors each associate in their professional development.

Lindsey Wharton is the Extended Campus and Distance Services Librarian at Florida State University. Lindsey currently serves as Chair of the ACRL Distance Learning Section Discussion Group which holds multiple webinars each year on various topics pertaining to distance library services. Lindsey has moderated several national webinars through this role. Additionally, Lindsey’s routine duties include online instruction, online workshops, and online orientations for distance and extended campus users.




Individual registration rates are as follows:

RUSA members: $45
ALA members: $50
ALA student & retired members: $25
Non-members: $65
Group rate: $99 single login, $38/person multiple logins. (min. 2 people)

How to Register

Register online


Tech Requirements

This webinar will be offered using Adobe Connect. Please ensure that you have Adobe Flash Player Version 10.1 or later on your computer. Audio for these sessions will be streamed over computer speakers and via an optional teleconference line. You will be able to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other webinar participants via chat.

You can test your settings to verify that your computer is configured properly to participate in this webinar.


Questions about your registration should be directed to registration@ala.org. 

Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Jennifer Cross, RUSA Web Manager, at jcross@ala.org. 

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!