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Teaching Reference Today

New Directions, Novel Approaches

Edited by Lisa A. Ellis

Reference and Information Services, if it may still be referred to by this term, is an evolving outreach service in libraries. This is not only due to Google and the Internet, but also other technological advances afford users online access to a plethora of content, free and proprietary. This evolution has also caused a shift in the theories and practices (especially, core functions and values) of reference and information services as library schools seek greater alignment with practitioners and libraries on the forefront of these changes.

As academics and practitioners work together to educate library students on the kinds of changes happening in reference and information services, they are rethinking their curriculum and assignments to incorporate real-world challenges adaptive to user needs. Likewise, libraries may work through their regional library consortia to plan professional development workshops or training sessions to teach new skills and methods of approach required for such changing services.

Here’s a tool for library school instructors, library students, professional development instructors, and current librarians poised to change, which specifically addresses the pedagogy of reference and information services in flux. It will help answer questions such as:

  • How may we better educate a new and current generation of reference and information service professionals, given the challenges they will likely encounter?
  • What kinds of assignments could be devised to better promote active learning in a transformative field like reference and information services?
  • What new approaches or theories could be applied to assist library professionals in meeting the informational needs of users?
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 370Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4
978-1-4422-6391-8 • Hardback • June 2016 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-4422-6392-5 • Paperback • June 2016 • $60.00 • (£39.95)
978-1-4422-6393-2 • eBook • June 2016 • $57.00 • (£39.95)
Lisa A. Ellis is an Associate Professor and Information Services Librarian at the William and Anita Newman Library of Baruch College, CUNY. She is library liaison/subject specialist to Marketing and International Business, as well as Fine and Performing Arts departments, primarily performing outreach services in the form of reference, course-related lectures and research consultations. Prof. Ellis co-launched the Newman Library’s Digital Reference Services in 2001 and worked as a contract chat reference librarian for OCLC QuestionPoint from 2004 to 2010 serving academic, public and foreign libraries. She serves as chair of the library department’s curriculum committee and is currently managing their credit course program in Information Studies.
Lisa A. Ellis (Baruch College, City University of New York)
Part I: Evolution of Reference Values and Roles
1 Plus Ca Change: Instilling Foundational Values within Evolving Reference Service Pedagogy
Miriam Matteson (Kent State University, Ohio)
Donald Boozer (Cleveland Public Library)
Cynthia Boyden (Consultant for State Library of Ohio)

2 Repositioning Reference Librarians as Agents of Change: Approaches to Socially Responsible
Critical Information Literacy in the LIS Curriculum
Michael Courtney (Indiana University at Bloomington)

3 Partner in the Process: Redefining Reference to Create an Integrated Educational Experience
Ashley Cole, Cindy Judd and Brad Marcum (Eastern Kentucky University)

4 Job-Embedded Training and Specialized Skills to Support New Librarians in Higher Education:
A Case Study from a Liberal Arts College
Kasia Gonnerman and Maglen Epstein (St. Olaf College, Minnesota)

Part II: Teaching Theoretical Approaches to Reference
5 The Cognitive Apprenticeship: An Approach to Teaching and Learning Virtual Reference
Margaret H. Smith and Nicole E. Brown (New York University)

6 High-impact Experiences: Using Teaching and Learning Theories in Reference
Yvonne Nalani Meulemans (California State University, San Marcos)

7 Reference 360: A Holistic Approach to Reference Instruction
Carol A. Daul-Elhindi and Tammi M. Owens (Winona State University, Minnesota)

8 Intentional Politeness: Using Communication Theory to Enhance Reference Service
Carol A. Leibiger and Alan W. Aldrich (University of South Dakota)
Part III: Design Considerations for Teaching Reference
9 Designing Course Assignments for Teaching Reference Online
Xiaoai Ren and Anita L. Ondrusek (Valdosta State University, Georgia)

10 Preparing LIS Students to Create Content for Reference
Stacy Creel (University of Southern Mississippi)

11 The Value of Reference: Teaching Assessment Strategies
Kelly Bradish (University of Pittsburg, Greensburg)

12 Designing a Reference Course for Undergraduates and Paraprofessionals
Elizabeth H. Brown (Central Washington University)

Part IV: Training Paraprofessionals for Reference and Information Services
13 Training Paraprofessionals to Provide Excellent Information Service:
The King County Library System Experience
Terry McQuown (King County Library System, Washington State)

14 Stronger Together: Partnering with Paraprofessionals to Meet Reference Needs
Jennie Simning (Hennepin Technical College, Minnesota)
Erika Bennett (Capella University, Minnesota)

15 We’re All Reference Providers: Online Cross-Training at the Shared Help Desk
Allison Faix (Coastal Carolina University, South Carolina)
Amanda Kraft (Horry Georgetown Technical College, South Carolina)

16 Reconfiguring Reference Service: A Case Study at a Small College Library
Ruth M. Owens (State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry)

17 Reference Training for Paraprofessionals at a Single-Service Desk
Paul Moffet and Mindy M. Cooper (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)
Part V: Exploring Reference Education: Here and Beyond
18 The Future Reference Librarians and the ASEAN Integration 2015
Marian Ramos- Eclevia and Roselle S. Maestro (De La Salle University, Philippines)

19 “Material-Mind-Method”: Exploring the Teaching of Reference through a Quarterly Column
Loriene Roy (University of Texas at Austin)
About the Contributors
Teaching Reference Today aims to educate those who are teaching tomorrow’s reference professionals about what their students will need to know to be successful in a rapidly changing environment.... Footnotes and a bibliography are included at the end of each chapter, and a comprehensive index is provided at the end of the volume. Teaching Reference Today is an excellent tool both for those who are teaching others about providing reference services and those learning about the topic. It discusses the pedagogy of teaching reference and information services and provides answers to difficult questions that will continue to occur in a quickly changing information environment. It is recommended for any college which has a library school and for students interested in the library profession.
American Reference Books Annual

Teaching Reference Today is a fine effort to contextualize reference service with contemporary understandings of intellectual endeavor, cognitive processes, philosophical concepts, and practical attributes of teaching, learning, information provision, and user needs. Each chapter in this collection grounds its theme in research and practitioner literature, professional practice and standards, and case studies. This work is an effective use of multiple voices to create a coherent choir of provocative thinking and useful action.
Randy Hensley, Former Professor and Head of Instruction & Reference, William & Anita Newman Library, Bernard Baruch College, City University of New York