One of my favourite things about being a librarian is the reference interview. I think it is also one of the great skills of the profession and also one that is under-appreciated. I have taught the basics of reference interviews to some of our junior staff over the years and it never ceases to amaze them how much of a difference just asking a few clarifying questions can make.
It takes skill to get library users to the place where we can realistically help them, without making them feel like they are being interrogated whilst at the same time making them feel listened to. It is also a skill that is used in many vocations, under many different names, but its goal is the same – to get to the core of what is really being asked for.
Which is why I was pleased to see Andy’s Agnostic Maybe blog post – Reference: Life on the desk. This is his take on the informal rules of the reference interview and I was delighted to find that this is exactly how it works on the front line, day after day for me as well.
Take some time to read it – you will smile as you read about your own daily reference experiences from the mouth of a fellow practitioner.