Advanced eCourse: Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians

An ALA Continuing Education and SJSU iSchool Advanced eCourse

This advanced eCourse provides library staff who lack reference experience with the basic skills and knowledge needed to work at the reference desk (physically or virtually). Whether you are a paraprofessional or an experienced librarian, this course will get you up to speed on reference basics.

In the twelve weeks of this course, reference expert Dr. Ruphina Ozoh, an instructor at the San Jose State University School of Information, will cover the core topics of reference services to build your competence. Topics include reference services functions and platforms, ethics, the reference interview, information retrieval and resources, using the internet as a reference tool, selection and evaluation of information sources, programming, diversity, outreach, and marketing. Understanding critical terms, concepts, and practices that would be addressed in this course will allow library staff to competently respond to the evolving needs of twenty-first century information seekers.

After completing this course, students will:

  • Understand the key roles and responsibilities of reference librarians in a rapidly changing world and be prepared to respond to the varying needs of today’s information seekers.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the legal framework within which libraries and information centers operate, including laws pertaining to intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, and copyright.
  • Understand the importance of the reference interview, its processes, and questioning strategies through face-to-face, telephone and virtual platforms.
  • Understand basic search strategies and how to retrieve scholarly materials.
  • Understand the importance of research to the advancement of knowledge, and hence, be familiar with information resources and how to create research (LibGuides) and community guides.
  • Be familiar with some internet information sources and government sites.
  • Understand how to competently evaluate internet sites.
  • Be familiar with different methods of selecting and evaluating information sources.
  • Be aware of the critical role that library programming plays in twenty-first century libraries.
  • Understand the role of reference professionals in a diverse global society, which will include the role of fulfilling the needs of underserved people in library communities.
  • Understand why conducting outreach and marketing activities can help libraries in maintaining a competitive advantage.

Dr. Ruphina Ozoh has an extensive educational background as well as practical experience in the field of Library and Information Science. She acquired over 7 years experience in management and more than 11 years experience utilizing electronic and print resources in providing instructive reference and information services to a wide variety of academic and public library patrons. Specifically, she amassed a wide range of experience in the field as the Head of Information Services Department, as an Information Specialist, a Library Conversion Specialist, a Cataloger, a Reference Assistant, etc. Coming from a family of educators, Dr. Ozoh decided to follow the footsteps of her parents by joining the teaching profession. She currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at North Carolina Central University.

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