"Hello? I'm having trouble finding articles."
"Hi, thank you for your question! My name is ____ and I'll be more than happy to help with that!"
Before the reference interaction even begins, a patron needs to see that you are approachable!
The librarian's first step in initiating the reference interaction is to make the patron feel comfortable in a situation that can be perceived as intimidating, confusing, or overwhelming. This is especially true when the patron is a member of an underserved or otherwise marginalized group.
How to be Approachable:
- Body language
- Sit up straight
- Don't look bored
- Make eye contact
- Acknowledge the patron with a friendly greeting
After the patron has initiated the reference interaction, it is your responsibility as a librarian to show interest in the research topic. This assures the patron that their research or question has value.
How to Show Interest:
- Focus complete attention on the patron and their information need
- Maintain or re-establish eye contact with patron throughout transaction
- Signal an understanding of the patron's needs through verbal and non-verbal confirmation, such as nodding of the head, restating their question, or asking additional questions to better understand the patron's query
- Demonstrate a high degree of objective, nonjudgmental interest
- While not every query will be of interest to the librarian, the librarian should embrace each patron's information need and should be committed to providing the most effective assistance.
- Get the patron started on initial steps of their search, then move on to other patrons and provide more assistance later if needed
- Don't forget to check back on their progress!
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- Last Updated: Oct 8, 2020 11:56 AM
- URL: https://campusguides.lib.utah.edu/referenceinterview
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