LIBE 467C – The Foundation of References Services

My next several blog postings take the form of personal reflections on the topic of information services, which is the next course in my teacher-librarianship diploma. 

“It is human nature to be curious. Throughout our lives, we seek answers to all kinds of questions. Having a healthy curiosity and a willingness to seek answers is a prerequisite for lifelong learning” (Riedling, 2013).

As curriculum moves into more open-ended, question-driven inquiry learning the more important it is to have a framework to guide students through this challenging process.  Having time to evaluate some models that can help in the inquiry/research process was very helpful. I was drawn to the BCTLA Points of Inquiry model because of its simplicity.  As much as I love the inquiry process though, I think many models fail to consider the self-regulated learning (SRL) skills required for students to perform well in these situations. The image below is a model that integrates both SRL with the information inquiry process. 

                                                                     (Lister, 2015)

As we moved away from the information inquiry process into the area of evaluating a reference collection I learned some valuable skills, which I am already putting to good use.  I have to be honest though, when I say that the reference section of my library had, up until the start of this calendar year, been largely forgotten. I knew that the reference section of my library was weak and I was unmoved by the problem because I assumed that all reference work is best when it’s completed online anyway.  How wrong I was! It’s clear that from the readings that school libraries should have access to both print and electronic reference materials. If the rule of thumb is that a good reference source is one that saves to answer a question, then crowdsourced reference materials like Wikipedia (the first port of call for many students) may not be the answer, and instead, a quality print reference may suffice.

Much like the frameworks for weeding I learned in LIBE 461 (MUSTI and CREW), evaluating a reference section is important for the overall health, condition, and usability of the library.  I found having a different framework for evaluating different reference items a little overwhelming. It would be beneficial for me to merge the methods we learned in Chapter 2 of Riedling into a framework that would work for most of the items in the reference collection.  Reidling (2009) says, “In order to create and maintain a school reference collection that meets the informational needs of students, effective selection and evaluation of resources by the school librarian is essential” (p. 25). With this in mind, it is important to consider areas such as content, accuracy, bias, authority, diversity, and accessibility when evaluating one’s reference collection.

References:

Lister, C. A. P. (2015). A Framework for Implementing Inquiry-Based Learning in the Elementary Classroom. Retrieved January 30, 2020, from https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/6950

Riedling, A. M., Shake, L., & Houston, C. (2013). Reference skills for the school librarian: tools and tips.

%d bloggers like this: