Effective Reference Interviewing

Whether in-person or online, the reference interview is a core vehicle of reference service delivery. This interview is not a simple process of one person asking a question which another person answers. A proper reference interview can, depending on circumstances, involve open or closed-ended questions, require neutrality around controversial topics, and take multiple interactions to complete.

In this 90-minute session, you’ll learn about how this interaction is essential to library services, how a successful interview unfolds, and how, through strong communication and close attention, you can become proficient at this important process.

After this event, participants will:

  • Understand several best practices for reference interactions in online, phone, and email or snail mail situations
  • Have basic strategies for understanding and working through communication challenges like language, abilities, and age ranges
  • Strategies for practicing interviewing skills with the goal of continual improvement.
Registration for this event is included in the Reference Services Crash Course.

Francisca Goldsmith has been teaching library staff development courses for both paraprofessionals and professional librarians in reference methods and best practices for over 20 years. She currently develops and delivers online courses for the Infopeople Project and for the American Library Association and has written several professional texts, including Crash Course in Contemporary Reference (Libraries Unlimited, 2016). Her library career has spanned public, school, and academic libraries, in reference departments, youth services, and collection management.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

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