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More and more of our users have access to the Internet, but few know how to find, evaluate, and use high-quality information. Even fewer realize how many rich resources their libraries have available for them in periodicals, books, and online databases. Many users today have trouble distinguishing between something they found by googling on the open web and articles or other information that is publisher-vetted.

  • How can we make the most of reference contacts to develop users' skills and abilities to find and evaluate the best sources of information?
  • How can we make it easier for users to discover and use library resources not on the open web?
  • How can we improve our library web pages and handouts to provide user instruction and build user self-reliance?

This workshop offers ways to turn every reference transaction into a chance for users to learn better information-seeking skills. Maximize your impact and the impact of your library by helping users to help themselves to find quality content.

Workshop Description: This all-day hands-on workshop will begin with discussion of current Internet trends and provide training to quickly assess users' Internet and information-seeking skill levels. You will also learn how to use reference interactions as opportunities to impart research and evaluative skills to users. You will learn to evaluate the basic usability of typical library web pages and learn to develop easy-to-use handouts to enable users to navigate pages you cannot modify. Exercises will be done individually, in small groups, and with role-playing. You will be given tip sheets, checklists, and other handouts to use outside the workshop.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Why the Need to Reshape Reference to Fit the Internet Culture
    • Users and libraries have both changed
    • The gap between what we offer and the information users find and use
    • The challenge: to expand the information skills of users
  • Helping Users Self-Serve More Competently
    • Using the reference interview to meet users wherever they are in the Internet culture
    • Reference service techniques to augment users' self-sufficiency, skills at self-serving, awareness of the best resources available
  • Expanding Users' Critical Thinking Tools in Realistic Ways
    • The ways librarians usually talk about evaluating information vs. what today's information consumers generally rely on to discern trustworthiness
    • Techniques to find and convey the essentials
  • Getting the Most from Library Websites and Handouts
    • Improving the usability of some library websites
    • What to do with those we cannot change
    • Meeting self-servers where they want to be with usable guides
  • The Future
    • Probable trends in users and physical libraries
    • Trends in information availability
    • Technology trends and innovations: Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

Workshop Instructor: Joe Barker