INFORMATION SERVICES

2. Information Services: Students will master the theory, knowledge, and skills necessary for entry-level performance of information service responsibilities. 

        Providing information services is an integral part of a librarian's interaction with patrons, and reaches the core of why libraries are invaluable to their communities: patrons will always seek information to invest in their own education, and libraries must openly foster these requests. The responsibilities associated with providing information services are innumerable; as a representative of all the information available in the ether, librarians must already understand how to access what the patron is seeking or serve as an honest model of how to go about finding information. 

 

2.1. Students will analyze the information needs of all clients.

        When working with a patron, it is important to make a connection that will allow them to trust you with their informational queries without a fear of judgment. Within these first few moments, a librarian must simultaneously also gather the information necessary to help the patron, such as their subject of interest, what type of medium is being requested, level of knowledge on the subject, and what other resources the patron would benefit from. Having worked in writing centers for a number of years, the quest for connection is relatable to my experiences and I have become comfortable with asking questions and starting a dialogue with anyone to get to the root of their request, concerns, and overall needs. Being adept with communication is integral to being able to analyze and meet the needs of every patron.

 

2.2. Students will identify appropriate information resources to meet specific requirements and will be able to make resources accessible for all clients, including those with special needs.

           Creating resources that are accessible to patrons from all backgrounds, including those with special needs, is something that I take great joy in. In the past, I have worked with a variety of students that place on the autism spectrum and, in each instance, I was able to provide service and resources that were appropriate, structured, thorough and approachable. Similarly, I enjoy the creative challenge of providing multiple perspectives for explanations, instructions, and overall ideas. This is perhaps my favorite aspect of working with people as the main focus of my job; every interaction is different and an opportunity to learn. It is also essential that librarians work to provide unbiased assistance and information. As a part of being an information services profession, I believe that it is the job of the librarian to prevent censorship, the erasure of certain histories and the suppression of various theories in order to provide appropriate resources for all patrons, regardless of whether or not their request concerns a disputed topic.  Overall, identifying appropriate information resources requires factoring in the age of the patron (to ensure the type of resource you are providing is age appropriate), ensuring that this resource is something they can access from home and that it provides accurate information.

 

2.3. Students will use theories of information organization and access and apply effective search techniques to retrieve specific items of information from print and electronic sources.

         Having worked as a research assistant since my time as a junior pursuing an undergraduate degree, I find that employing effective and creative search techniques are the most straightforward way to produce specific results. Understanding which databases, if we are in an academic or public library that subscribes to these types of resources, are most commonly used for a specific subject, how to work with subject headings and/or boolean searching are surface-level pieces of information that can best help patrons. Branching from this knowledge, providing the patron handouts or easily-digestible instructions on how to replicate these search results on their own is the second necessary step towards creating an information literate individual.

 

2.4. Students will describe the current and future impact of developing information technology on Information/Reference services.

       As with all services, the passage of time dictates that the technology develops accordingly. The needs of the average patron are growing every day, and librarians are at the forefront in providing them the information they seek. Whether it is ordering an item, helping narrow down search terms, or presenting a patron with the technology necessary to create a work of art or connect with a relative, library professionals must continue to develop the technology used to streamline the Information and Reference services process. For example, the advent of the Internet was ground-breaking in a multitude of ways, but in this burgeoning field, it was the job of librarians to find the link between the new online world and ensuring that patrons get better resources. This innovation must continue and has already broken barriers by providing community members the option to request and read material from their hand-held devices. In the future, the impact of these services will only broaden in importance, as services rise in price and individuals continue to turn to libraries to access information without censorship or socioeconomic restriction. 

 

2.5. Students will evaluate information-retrieval systems in relation to user needs and information-seeking behaviors and cooperative library networks.

           Despite my past experiences, the Library and Information Sciences program at USF enabled me to further understand user needs and how to fill those voids with certain information retrieval techniques and theories. From this vantage point, I am able to evaluate which resources are trustworthy and accurate, as well as which systems would best fit the needs of each patron. During my studies, I was able to work with multiple information resources (such as libguides, which can be created to aid patrons in their research of various studies) but also distinguish how cooperative library networks provide an additional net of information to select from if each library opens access to their resources.