Marketing for Libraries Logo

Information Access

Learning Objectives
• Describe the librarian’s role in assisting library users.
• Define reference interview and describe it’s purpose in libraries.
• Describe the information skills needed by today’s library and information professionals.
• Describe different methods for conducting research.

Although the librarian’s primary role is to assist library users in meeting their information needs, librarians often have the opportunity to do much more for their clients.

Library and information professional often serve as collaborators, mentors, and tutors. Librarians may suggest approaches to information gathering, recommend quality resources, and tutor users in the use of citation software.

In some cases, users need to acquire skills in questioning, information evaluation, or the development of arguments.


Information Skills and Instruction

Today’s library and information professionals need to be able to use the wide range of local and remote resources available.

In addition, they need to be able to work with library users to answer questions as well as teach users how to make effective use of the library’s resources.

Formal and informal information instruction plays an important role in school and academic librarianship and support role in many other library situations.

The Reference Interview

A reference interview is the conversation between a librarian and library user that helps to clarify the information need.

Once the specific problem, need, or question has been identified, the librarian can guide the user to information sources to meet those needs.

Conducting Research

interviewResearch is often the focus of library visits regardless of the library type. Individuals are seeking to locate information that goes beyond their personal experience and opinions. These researchers may be exploring an idea, solving a problem, or investigating an issue.

Whether applying the scientific method to medical project or the historical method to a genealogy project, library users will be collecting and analyzing information.

While each discipline has developed their own approaches and techniques to research, it’s likely that they will all be involved in an information inquiry at some point in their investigation.

While librarians may not have expertise in a particular subject-matter area, they do have skills in dealing with information that can be applied across disciplines.


Library and information professionals deal with information access on a daily basis. They must be able to work with a wide range of individuals with different information needs and interests.


| eduscapes | IUPUI Online Courses | Contact Us | 2014 Annette Lamb (Adapted from earlier s401 materials)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.