People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: reference

Happy Birthday!

I Rock At Reader’s Advisory

Reader’s advisory is a very nuanced reference skill. While librarians are quick to give suggestions, do they ever consider the actual reading level of the patron? Here is a wonderful resource that assists in matching readers to the books appropriate for their reading level (lexile level) and reading interest.

User Experience: The Reference Interaction

All sorts of interactions take place in the library. The most well-known is probably the one that takes place at a reference desk (or via virtual reference, individual research consultations, or roving reference).

Based on this year’s Reference Renaissance conference, LJ provides four different perspectives on the user experience of reference services. From “Fish Market 101” to “Why I Don’t Use Libraries for Reference Anymore”, here are a few points, tidbits, and thoughts:

  • “Taking a holistic view, the library UX extends to every touch point we create where the community member connects with our human or material resources, physically or virtually.” Whenever the topics of usability and user experience come up in conversation, technology always seem to follow and I find myself saying “It’s more than that.” As a library, it’s great if you have a user-friendly site, but don’t forget about your physical presence as well and the interactions that take place. Think ecosystem.
  • “This profession is all about connection.” Yes! It’s all about connecting. Librarians/library staff/libraries connect people with information, resources, services, other people, etc. Keep in mind that the connecting happens everywhere – reference, outreach, instruction, etc. One time after work, on the way to the subway, a colleague and I got stopped by a parent and kid with a question about where they can get a certain pet animal.
  • I can almost feel the author’s frustration when reading “Why I Don’t Use Libraries for Reference Anymore” because unfortunately, I have seen and experienced this. I find myself telling this one story over and over again. For a library school assignment, I had to ask a question at a library and evaluate the overall reference interview and experience. I walked up to the reference desk where the librarian seem to be extremely focused on the computer. Feeling like I was interrupting, I asked “Why are there three library systems in New York City?” and the response was “Because New York City is very big”. I then found myself asking follow-up questions and variations of the same question like “Is there a reason why it was decided that there would be three library systems?” and “Are there any resources that I can look at?” The response: “Go to the 020’s, the section for library science.” Feeling dismissed, I just left the library. 

Do you have any stories to share? Have you seen or experienced any memorable (good or bad) reference interactions?