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Reference Librarianship

What is it?

All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference section of a library to meet the information needs of patrons (in person, by telephone, or electronically), including but not limited to answering substantive questions, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tools and techniques for finding information, conducting searches on behalf of the patron, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in the evaluation of information, referring patrons to resources outside the library when appropriate, keeping reference statistics, and participating in the development of the reference collection. (Source: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science)

What can I do with this background?

Reference, information and referral services, administration.

In addition to the required core courses, what courses should I take?

Suggested electives include:

  • 60601 Information Services and Reference Services

  • 60604 Research Methods for Libraries and Information Centers

  • 60609 Marketing the Library

  • 60611 Government Information Sources and Services

  • 60613 Information Needs, Seeking and Use

  • 60619 Legal Information Sources and Services

  • 60620 Health Information Resources (HED 64010)

  • 60621 Social Sciences Information Sources and Services

  • 60622 Science/Technology Information Sources and Services

  • 60623 Business/Finance Information Sources and Services

  • 60628 Humanities Information Sources and Services

  • 60630 Reference Sources and Services for Youth

  • 60643 Online Information Systems

  • 61095 Special Topics: Legal Information and Legal Resources

  • 61095 Special Topics: Readers' Advisory Services

  • 61095 Special Topics: Information Literacy Initiatives and Instruction

(Refer to the program guidesheet above for additional suggested coursework.)

What professional organizations are relevant to this career path?

ALA: Reference and User Services Association