Real-World Reference: Moving Beyond Theory

Certificate Eligibility: 
10 ARC, 1.5 CEU
2 days
Max Attendees: 

As anyone providing reference services to users knows, archival reference is more than handing out boxes and watching the reading room. This two-day workshop is designed to provide an overview of traditional reference service and the challenges introduced by online databases, collections, and service venues such as email and chat.


Part 1 is geared toward front-line reference professionals and focuses on the reference interaction, including orientation, the entrance and exit interviews, and providing research instruction and outreach.


Part 2 concentrates on management of reference services, including copyright, mission, and establishing and implementing reference policies and procedures. Through lecture, exercises, and group discussion, you'll learn about developing mission statements, establishing policies and procedures, copyright basics, interlibrary loan, retrieval and handling of materials, effective use of Internet resources, and evaluating reference services.


Part 1 and Part 2 are offered both together and separately.

Learning Outcomes: 
Sharpen reference skills, such as conducting an interview, developing a reference policies and procedures manual, balancing best practices for reference service and ensuring security, and integrating outreach and evaluation into the program
Describe the unique challenges of providing service to users in an archival setting
Examine the place of reference in the management of archives and how to best advocate for user services
Discover effective ways to handle remote use, including postal, email, and online chat requests
Consider effective methods for working with non-traditional users, such as K-12 students and those using digital surrogates via your website
Recognize the value of outreach to patrons (and prospective patrons) to the entire archives program
Who Should Attend?: 

Part 1: Beginning and intermediate archivists


Part 2: Seasoned archivists, as discussions build on knowledge learned in Part 1 about reference management, electronic resources, and interactions with nontraditional patron groups.

"The workshop helped add to my knowledge of reference in an archival setting, which supplemented my academic reference courses, which dealt primarily with libraries." — Ariel Segal
"Generally I hate group exercises, but these were done very well, especially the Researcher/Archivist 'what is the real question' and the five questions a reference provider needs to ask the customer." — Joan Gosnell
"Exercises, group discussions. They gave me examples of other ways to approach users." — Sonia Spurlock
"I found the information on copyright the most interesting because it helps me both in my own research work and in being on the reference to know what can be allowed and what can't be."
"I came hoping to get ideas/learn best practices regarding reference policies/management, and I did—a lot!" — Carole Prietto
"Workbook is great! Extra pages for notes used. Bibliography will assist in future situations." — Iris Godwin
Co-Sponsor Provides: 
  • Classroom: 6-foot tables with two chairs each or 8-foot tables with three chairs each
  • Enough space OR a separate space for the ability to break out into groups
  • Lectern placed at the front of the room to the left of the screen
  • Instructor workstation (a PC or laptop that has a USB port, runs standard MS Office software, and has PowerPoint)
  • LCD projector and replacement bulb for the LCD projector
  • Projection screen
  • Lapel microphone
  • A whiteboard, erasable markers, and eraser or a flip chart with markers
  • Coffee/tea/water for morning break
  • Water/assorted soft drinks for afternoon break