Next semester, the Occidental College Library will be changing its Reference Services to allow librarians to focus on their other departmental duties and liaison activities. Only one student assistant per shift will be responsible for answering reference questions. Although this is a dramatic shift from the previous model at the reference desk, it allows an opportunity to reevaluate the training that reference desk student assistants receive in order for them to function as effective resources for students seeking help. A survey of previous reference desk student assistants has suggested the most effective training comes ?on-the-job,? however it is not feasible to standardize this type of experience. After a discussion with the librarians that formally worked reference desk shifts, we have come to the conclusion that following their orientation training, reference desk student assistants will receive one-on-one mentoring from librarians in the beginning of the semester. Additionally, literature and observations of Reference Services have exposed a demand to implement a sense of pride and seriousness for student assistants to work by in order to provide effective help and services. To address these concerns, a new program has been developed to encourage job development and promotion, a more extensive training process, a more comprehensive understanding of reference service and resources, improved communication, and team-building, all within an online curriculum program.
Groce, Dimitri, "Rethinking Reference" (2009). URC Student Scholarship.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation