Reflections on the Reference Desk

I have talked quite a bit about the projects that I am doing in my internship, but I have not delved into the front-facing aspect of my internship.  I work for several hours at the Scholars’ Commons Reference Desk each week, and although the summer is slower than during the academic year, I still face some challenging questions.  What this portion of my internship has taught me is just how much I enjoy the educational piece of librarianship.  My favorite part of working the reference desk is when I am able to teach someone how to find information.  Just finding the appropriate places to search can be a challenge, and then once someone is in the right place, employing the best search strategies is something else entirely.  I enjoy getting to explain how a trick like conducting a Boolean search can help someone locate more relevant information. 

This topic may wax philosophical, but I think one of the major issues in access we have today is not actually access itself.  Instead, the issue is finding appropriate (and factual!) information.  We can now easily type a query into Google and get a response, but this does not mean that the information is reliable.  It may be biased, outdated, or blatantly incorrect, and basic information literacy training is important in helping someone navigate the information retrieval process. Teaching how to critically analyze information is something that I enjoy, which makes since with my significant work experience in higher education. I’m hopeful I can bring this love of learning into a future career!

One thought on “Reflections on the Reference Desk”

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