Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians

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 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.

After participating in this course, you will:

  • Learn a variety of reference interviewing tactics to use with diverse groups, including:
    • Adults
    • Youth
    • Community members new to English or with communication disabilities
  • Understand how to evaluate online resources and become acquainted with government sites providing quality information related to health, law, and consumer affairs
  • Be able to confidently present information that satisfies community members’ reference questions
  • Become aware of relevant publications, social media platforms, and recommended readings that will help you continue to develop your reference services skills

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 healthcare 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).

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at ce@ala.org or at 312-280-5100.