Reference work is what most people think of when they think about a library. Take a moment to picture it in your heads: do you see a smiling person behind the desk, maybe typing into the computer, maybe handing you a book?
That is certainly not wrong, and in addition to this type of service it also involves a lot of other work. Reference is increasingly moving away from sitting behind a desk and waiting for people to come to you with their lovely, well-thought out questions. Instead it now involves setting up a lot of material people can use on their own schedules, spending time training people in using online databases and other resources, and being present in many other locations.
Whether your work in Reference is helping advanced researchers finding material to help them win the next Nobel Prize, or if it involves the more mundane questions of “my teacher says I need to find an author born on my birthday” – it all matters to patrons. And of course, the most common Reference question has never changed: Where is the bathroom? As with so much we talk about on this podcast, there is a system to help you answer questions the best way possible!
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