At the Ref Desk (7/11/20): After 6 hrs of chat-reference, I got out of the house and hiked north on Broadway all the way from Diversey to Howard. Nice evening. (Took the bus home.) [more...]

The Value of Library Reference : You Decide

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 4/28/20 (5:51pm)

It’s 8:30pm on a Tuesday evening. Student contacts Reference Desk saying he/she is looking for ‘research’ articles on effects of poverty on success in education. Instructor wants list of articles from student by class tomorrow.

Student Worker Solution:

  1. Sends link to Research Guide for Education
  2. Says ‘good evening’.

Reference Librarian Solution:

  1. Explains that there are several databases -- some focused on education, some focused on social science
  2. Steps through how to access these databases by pointing to library’s home page and link to ‘Research Guides’ -- where databases are arranged by subject
  3. In background does quickie search through standard databases, sizing up the lay of the land and then recommends to student strategies/pathways that appear most promising
  4. And oh yeah: Explains how to identify ‘research’ articles through a number of characteristics
  5. Says ‘good evening’.

Observation : Both responses did in fact answer the student’s question. So what’s the diff?