Revisioning Reference: Exploring Innovations for Your Library
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
September 15, 2009 - October 19, 2009
Do you agree with those who say that "reference is dead"? While economic hardship may bring more people into your library, do they use and value your reference resources and staff…or mainly want assistance with computers? What can you do to revitalize reference, so that it better serves users in your library, in your community, and virtually?
Learn what public, academic and special libraries are doing to re-envision the library services that we have traditionally called "reference." By experimenting with new ways to make information resources and staff available to users, they are breaking free of dependence on users to seek out reference services.
In this online course you will explore trends in information-seeking behaviors and hear from library innovators who are using "Text a Librarian" services, "predatory" reference, embedded information specialists, wireless communication devices, videoconferencing and other information delivery modes. You will examine new reference service models—some that worked and some that didn't. You will be encouraged to create a "Reference Revision," a plan for a new service, an improved or expanded service, or a way to revitalize or re-brand an existing service. You'll come away with a new respect for what you can learn from your users and a renewed enthusiasm for reference services.
Course Description: During this five week online course you will be reading background materials, reports and case studies; completing assignments, and participating in online discussion forums. Readings, discussions, assignments and online meetings are planned for the first four weeks. The fifth week will be focused on sharing "reference revisions" through a variety of online media. Online meetings will provide opportunities to hear from:
- Joseph Janes—writer, speaker and professor at the University of Washington's Information School—on the future of reference.
- Marie Radford—researcher and professor at the Rutgers University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies—on what we can learn from users.
- Lori Bell—director of innovation for the Alliance Library system (IL)—on the InfoQuest collaborative texting reference project as a case study in implementing innovation.
- Stacey Aldrich—acting state librarian for California, and Rosario Garza, director of the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System—on the California Information Services Project.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: Why Should We Re-vision Reference?
- Core values of reference service
- Trends in information creation and seeking
- The user experience
- Week 2: What Can We Learn from Users?
- Shifting perceptions of libraries
- Demand for anytime, anywhere information
- Changing face of library instruction
- Changing roles for reference providers
- Week 3: What Can We Learn from Each Other?
- Examples of innovative reference services
- What we can learn from reference service models that don't work
- Resistance to change and how to overcome it
- Week 4: What Is Your Reference Revision for Your Library?
- Putting ideas into action requires planning and team work
- Building on administrative and staff buy-in
- Steps for planning and implementing an innovation
- Week 5: Sharing the Reference Revisions
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 3 to 3½ hours per week. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, it is recommended that you complete each week’s assignments within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff involved in reference service—reference providers, supervisors, or managers—who want to explore reference innovations for the purpose of re-vitalizing or improving services in their own libraries. Course will also be of interest to MLIS students who want to learn more about current innovations in reference service. This course will be of particular interest to those working in public libraries but relevant to academic and special libraries staff as well.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 5-week-long online learning course starts on September 15, 2009.
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