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The art - and act - of listening

For twenty years, I've been teaching library staff best practices in reference and information and referral interviewing. It's been way longer that I've been practicing reference work, and "practice" here comprises both repetition for the sake of skill building and working with comers who want and need the service (think medical or legal "practice", just two other professions which require constant improvement while consistently providing skills in the aid of others needs).

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The one best thing

Author Maureen Johnson is a big fan of libraries. Recently she posted this tweet:

twitter screenshotLibrarians quickly hit the keyboards in response. The winning suggestions: Use the library. Check out books. Participate in programs. Tell your local politicians how important the library is. Use the library some more.

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Embed 'Em Where the Action Is: Watering Holes

Every week, I have the opportunity--often the opportunities--to provide on-the-spot reference services at a local coffee shop. Among other morning caffeine inhalers on hand as I make use of my own most portable electronics, some shyly ask about the rudiments of choosing and/or using specific creation-enabled tools (iPad, smartphone) . Others ask for help altering the settings on their ereaders. Another kind of query relies on my ability to connect them to online resources when they've been stumped by their own efforts to find the very specific information they'd like to uncover.

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Learning and Teaching by Pattern Recognition

There is no longer any credible argument that a range of tech skills aren't  important to 21st century literacy. Yet one worry/concern/unhappiness I often hear from public library staff is frustration with trying to teach folks how to navigate various databases and distinguish the user's perceptions of databases from the World Wide Web. Maybe reviewing what we know about our own--and users' --abilities to recognize patterns can lower that threshold of angst. Pattern recognition is something we do all the time:

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How Do Off Duty Discussions Influence Your Library Practice?

Over the weekend, I spent a couple hours in discussion with three lawyers, one practicing, one retired from an academic career, and a third disillusioned and in the throes of considering other vocational options. At some point, the talk turned to classification--within library systems of materials and, in hyper-contrast (?), by the Nazis of populations--and the question was floated: are you a lumper or a splitter?

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Learning and Teaching by Pattern Recognition

There is no longer any credible argument that a range of tech skills aren't  important to 21st century literacy. Yet one worry/concern/unhappiness I often hear from public library staff is frustration with trying to teach folks how to navigate various databases and distinguish the user's perceptions of databases from the World Wide Web. Maybe reviewing what we know about our own--and users' --abilities to recognize patterns can lower that threshold of angst.

Pattern recognition is something we do all the time:

[more]

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