Statement of Competency 9
Competency 9: Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
Information service in the context of public, academic, and special libraries refers to the act of connecting clients to the information they need. The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) defines reference transactions as “information consultations in which library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources to help others to meet particular information needs” (2008). Reference and information services are an essential component of the library profession, which highly values the equitable and equal provision of access to information resources occurring in both physical and virtual spaces.
Connecting library patrons with accurate, relevant, and appropriate resources includes reader advisory services, which aim to put the right book into the hands of the right reader. Information literacy instruction equips readers with skills to search, locate, evaluate, and use information independently and efficiently. The work of a reference librarian also entails evaluating and selecting print and electronic resources, and creating finding tools and websites.
Library and information professionals use a variety of methods to connect patrons to the information they need. Reference librarians conduct face-to-face, telephone, email, or chat transactions. The proliferation of the internet has resulted in a society where librarians are no longer needed to mediate between content and users. However, it has also led to information overload. Reference services “are at once a life raft, map, and compass to those who feel adrift” in an endless sea of digital and physical resources (Cassell & Hiremath, 2013, p. 3). Digital formats that connect groups or individuals to relevant information, such as library websites, LibGuides, online video tutorials, and FAQs, “are designed to anticipate user questions and help people find information independently” (p. 5).
Modern reference services are increasingly important to “save the time of the reader” (Ranganathan, 1931). Library and information professionals must respond to new and emerging information formats and tools, and develop new strategies to connect patrons with the information they need.
The following evidence is submitted to satisfy Competency 9:
- Information community: Opera enthusiasts, a paper from INFO 200 Information Communities
- Video presentation: George M. Aldridge Memorial Collection, a project from INFO 284 Digitization and Digital Preservation
- LibGuide, an assignment from INFO 210 Reference and Information Services
This paper, a culminating project for INFO 200, examines the community of opera enthusiasts in the context of serious leisure. Information needs and behaviors are explored, and recommendations are made for improving resources and services for participants of this group.
A literature review, a full description of search techniques employed to obtain relevant materials, and interviews with members of the community provide a solid basis for my work. A thorough analysis of preferred information sources describes typical information needs and behaviors of this community. A discussion of ethical and legal issues highlights copyright concerns faced by participants. Based on my research, observations, and personal experience, I recommend specific improvements for services and resources. Better user experience, copyright clarity, printable sheet music, and suggestions for materials and services for local libraries are detailed. This assignment clearly demonstrates my ability to analyze an information community and design and provide services and materials to connect members with relevant, appropriate, and accurate information.
This video presentation represents a component of a digitization project, which was the final assignment for INFO 284. This group project entailed creating a collection of digitized materials and using CONTENTdm software to organize and present the collection. The video provides users with an explanation of details of the project and how to access the collection by using features of CONTENTdm.
I was specifically responsible for writing the script and narrating the sections on metadata, preservation, and challenges, beginning at 9:39. I also helped devise a plan for describing the functionality of the CONTENTdm system, which was narrated by another group member for purposes of clarity and continuity. I am very proud of this digitization project, which has unfortunately been removed from the server and no longer available to view. The collection is a valuable and unique addition to the historical documentation of US history. The video gives users background information on the project, and explains how to access digital reproductions. Detailed instructions for how to search and locate specific items by identifying metadata ensure that users are able to obtain the full benefit of the functions offered by the software. This video presentation is evidence of my skills in designing and making a product that aids users to discover required information.
INFO 210 LibGuide
I created a LibGuide for an international school in Switzerland as an assignment for INFO 210 Reference and Information Services. The purpose of the assignment was to develop an information resource for a specific group. The original product included the actual name of the school and images, which have since been removed for privacy concerns.
In order to develop this LibGuide, I needed to identify the information needs of the user group, select appropriate information resources to suit these needs, and utilize the best technology with which to provide access to these resources. My LibGuide required the use of concepts, principles, and techniques that I learned about reference services. This assignment acted as a foundation on which I eventually built a comprehensive website for the school’s library. The resulting website was adopted by the school and launched in March 2017. I was hired as the school librarian a month later, and have been working there ever since. I am very happy with the groundwork I laid here, which directly led to my present employment. This assignment, which shows that I am able to connect a user group with relevant and appropriate information, contributes to the evidence of my mastery of Competency 9.
In the changing landscape of information technology, professionals employ a variety of strategies to assist people in accessing information. Depending on the information environment, these strategies may involve answering reference questions via the internet, creating pathfinders, developing finding tools, curating digital collections, or producing video tutorials, for example. I have shown my ability to recommend information resources and services for a specific information community, produce a video tutorial for accessing a digital collection, and design a LibGuide for high school students. The above coursework in the SJSU MLIS program provides evidence of my mastery of this competency.
Cassell, K.A. & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and Information Services: An Introduction. Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman.
Reference and User Services Association (2008). Definitions of Reference. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/rusa/guidelines/definitionsreference
Ranganathan, S. R. (1931). The Five Laws of Library Science. Madras: The Madras Library Association.