Revisioning Reference: Exploring Innovations for Your Library
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 – Monday, October 25, 2010
Start Time: Pacific Time - Noon, Mountain Time - 1:00 PM, Central Time - 2:00 PM, Eastern Time - 3:00 PM
Do you agree with those who say that "reference is dead"? While economic hardship may bring more people into your library, do they use and value your reference resources and expertise...or mainly want assistance with computers? What can you do to revitalize reference, so that it better serves users in your library, in your community, and virtually?
Learn what public, academic, and special libraries are doing to re-envision the library services that we have traditionally called "reference." By experimenting with new ways to make information resources and staff available at point-of-need, they are breaking free of dependence on users to seek out reference services.
In this online course you will explore trends—in information creation, seeking, and delivery—that influence reference services. There will be opportunities to hear from library innovators who are using "Text a Librarian" services, social media, QR codes, embedded information specialists, mobile apps, web conferencing, and other information delivery modes. You will be encouraged to share your own "Reference Revision," a plan for a new service, an improved or expanded service, or a way to revitalize or re-brand an existing service. As a result, you will come away with a new respect for what you can learn from your users and a renewed enthusiasm for reference services.
Those who took the first Revisioning Reference course in September 2009 commented that it was "thought-provoking and eye-opening" and "a wonderful opportunity to catch up on the latest trends in reference."
During this four-week online course you will be reading about trends and innovations in reference services, and choosing from a variety of case studies, assignments, online discussion forums, and recorded interviews with reference service innovators. Online meetings will provide opportunities to hear from:
- Joseph Janes—writer, speaker and professor at the University of Washington's Information School—on reference services in the past, present, and future.
- Marie Radford—researcher and professor at the Rutgers University School of Communication, Information and Library Studies—on what we can learn from users.
- Lori Bell—former director of innovation for the Alliance Library system—on the implementation of a collaborative texting reference project.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: Why Should We "Revision" Reference?
- Core values of reference service
- Trends in information creation, seeking, and delivery
- The importance of the user experience
- Week 2: What Can We Learn from Users?
- Demand for anytime, anywhere information
- Shifting perceptions of libraries
- Changing roles for reference providers
- Week 3: What Can We Learn from Each Other?
- Reference innovations that are social, personalized, instructive, and mobile
- Reference service models—form follows function
- "Embedded" reference service
- Week 4: What Is Your Reference Revision?
- Putting ideas into action
- Creating a culture of innovation
- Marketing reference expertise and resources
Time required: This Infopeople online course is designed to be completed within two hours per week, for a total of eight hours. Each week's module contains readings and various optional assignments, discussions, interviews, and online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff involved in reference service—reference providers, supervisors, or managers—who want to explore reference innovations. Course will also be of interest to MLIS students who want to learn more about current innovations in reference service. This course will be of particular interest to those working in public libraries but relevant to academic and special libraries staff, as well.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
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