[Libs-Or] does Oregon need reference librarians?

Dolores Knight dknight at cclsd.org
Sat Oct 20 12:38:47 PDT 2012

Well said!  And I too took all the reference courses I could and they 
have served me well.  I would even credit them with giving me a higher 
level of mental flexibility, which has helped in other areas of my life 
and work.


On 10/20/2012 10:36 am, Emily-Jane Dawson wrote:
> Caleb asked, as part of his many-responses-provoking post, for folks
> to share whether they had a formal reference class in library
> school. 
> I did; in fact I had several reference classes* and I have used what
> I learned in these classes every single day of my thirteen years
> working as a librarian.  I cannot emphasize that enough: _every
> single day!_
> The reason this study has been so important for me is that it gave me
> a solid grounding in how information is structured, and the
> theoretical and philosophical approaches our profession takes to
> patron service, information retrieval, and many other related topics.
>  This theory is a basic structure that can be applied to any
> reference interaction, on any subject, in any environment, with any
> available tools and resources.  I use my theoretical and
> philosophical grounding in work with patrons, when I plan and execute
> projects and services, in conversation with colleagues, and as I
> consider the large and small questions we face as a profession.
> Reference work is thrilling because you never know what you'll be
> asked -- patrons constantly surprise me.  But without the
> philosophical/theoretical structure that grounds my information
> service work, I would be at sea with each new question.  I'd be a
> worker without tools.
> And that old chestnut, "Is reference dead?" -- I'm sick of it, and
> I'm sure you all are too.  Obviously it's not dead, it will never die
> because people will always have questions and information problems 
> and
> they will always need help.  And clearly we are all quite committed
> to providing that help in whatever format or under whatever
> circumstances we can.  
> I don't know that I care whether library schools devote a course
> specifically to reference or information service or not.  But they
> _DO _need to drill their students in the theory that grounds 
> reference
> and information services work.  Without this grounding, the
> profession would profoundly suffer.
>  - Emily-Jane
> * For those of you who are curious, I attended the University of
> Maryland's library school during 1997-1999.  I took Introduction to
> Reference, which was required, and also Electronic Reference
> (basically the theory and practice of database searching), Social
> Sciences Reference, Government Information, and Art Reference.  There
> was a Humanities Reference class too, but I wasn't able to take it.
>  What I missed in library school is cataloging -- can you believe
> that?  UM required a classification theory class only.  I've sorely
> regretted not taking a cataloging course ever since because I can see
> that the lack of it limits my -- here it is again -- philosophical
> understanding of this part of our work.
> --
> Emily-Jane Dawson | _reference librarian_
> Multnomah County Library
>   tues-sat: Central Library [1] | 503.988.5728 [2]
> _  follow us: _facebook [3] | twitter [4]
> "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are
> well written, or badly written. That is all." 
>    – Oscar Wilde, author's preface, _The Picture of Dorian Gray_
> Links:
> ------
> [1] http://www.multcolib.org/agcy/cen.html
> [2] http://mail.cclsd.org/tel:503.988.5728
> [3] http://facebook.com/multcolib
> [4] http://twitter.com/multcolib

Dolores Knight, Head Reference Librarian
Coos Bay Public Library
525 Anderson Ave.
Coos Bay, OR 97420
541-269-1101 x222

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