Browse Our Categories



Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians eCourse
Francisca Goldsmith
Item Number: 1541-9105
Publisher: ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions
Price: $175.00
Email Friend
  Order Options:  
  Add To Cart  
  Add To Wish List  
This eCourse is now closed. We plan on offering the eCourse again soon. If you’d like to an email alert when we schedule the next session, please complete this form.

Asynchronous eCourse beginning Monday, July 10, 2017 and continuing for 4 weeks
An ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions eCourse facilitated by Francisca Goldsmith

Please note: Your purchase at the ALA Store is only Step 1 of a 2-Step Registration process!

Upon purchase you will receive a registration PDF in the form of a digital download. This PDF contains a link to our Registration page and a password. You must download this PDF and follow the instructions in order to complete the registration. The download link can be found on the final confirmation screen after you complete your purchase, and may also be accessed from your Account History. Confirmation with login instructions, reminders, and alerts will go to the email address used in the registration.

This eCourse is licensed for a single user. For pricing on bulk purchases in excess of $1,000, please contact us for more information.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 24
Certificate of Completion available upon request

Learning outcomes

After participating in this course, you will:

  • Learn a variety of reference interviewing tactics to use with diverse groups, including:
    • Adults
    • Youth
    • Community members new to English or with communication disabilities
  • Understand how to evaluate online resources and become acquainted with government sites providing quality information related to health, law, and consumer affairs
  • Be able to confidently present information that satisfies community members’ reference questions
  • Become aware of relevant publications, social media platforms, and recommended readings that will help you continue to develop your reference services skills

Are you new to the reference desk? The ability to provide reference services is a valuable skill for every librarian, but proper training is essential. Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians is a full-online course designed to help librarians who have never done reference work get up to speed.

Francisca Goldsmith is an experienced reference librarian and instructor who will demonstrate and instruct you on what you need to know about working the reference desk. You’ll start with the basics of communicating with patrons and conducting a reference interview, and then you’ll be familiarized with important resources that will allow you to successfully assist patrons. Finally, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to continue to train yourself after the course so you can keep expanding your capabilities.

eCourse Outline

Week 1 - Essential Tool Kit

  • Communication
    • Listen
    • Use your language(s)
      • Scoping vocabulary
      • Body language
    • Practicing open-ended questions
  • Evaluating sources
    • 5 criteria
  • Flexibility
    • Being prepared
    • Staying open

Week 2 – First Line of Defense: Free Quality Sites

  • Government websites to know
  • Advanced Google searching
  • Using other search engines
  • Wikipedia

Week 3 – Organizing Guides

  • Ethics
  • Indexing
  • Using finding tools

Week 4 – Growing Your Skill Set

  • Practice
  • Share
  • Asking for help
  • More places to find support

How this eCourse Works

The eCourse begins on July 10, 2017. Your participation will require approximately six hours a week, at times that fit your schedule. All activities take place on the website, and you will be expected to:

  • Read, listen to or view online content
  • Post to online discussion boards
  • Complete weekly assignments or activities

Instructor Francisca Goldsmith will monitor discussion boards regularly during the 4-week period, lead group discussions, and will also answer individual questions. All interaction will take place on the eCourse site, which will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's recommended that students log into the site on the first day of class or within a few days for an overview of the content and to begin the first lesson.

User Requirements

Participants will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message boards participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (mp3 files), and downloading and viewing PDFs and PowerPoint files. ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions eCourses are fully compatible with Windows and MacOs.

At Your Service

Accommodations are offered based on user needs. For transcription or other accessibility requests, please contact us at

About the Instructor

Francisca Goldsmith has worked in public and academic libraries across North America, for more than 25 years before becoming a full-time library staff development consultant and instructor. Recently, her focus has been on supporting public library staff and administrators in responding to community needs for access to health-care information and expanding librarian and educator awareness of multi-modal literacy needs in both youth and adult communities. Her library experience and consulting includes frontline reference work, collection management, branch services management, and teen services development and advocacy. She is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels, Second Edition (ALA Editions, 2017).


  Also of interest:  
Libraries and the Affordable Care Act: Helping the Community Understand Health-care Options
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1288-1
This important guide, the first written specifically for library staff, offers best practices, advice, and examples of library responses from the first open enrollment period (October 2013-March 2014).
Price: $28.00
Reinventing Reference: How Libraries Deliver Value in the Age of Google
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1278-2
Library staff who serve on the front lines of reference have both the power and responsibility to position the library as an institution that remains relevant and responsive.
Price: $68.00
The Reference Guide to Data Sources
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1227-0
This concise sourcebook takes the guesswork out of locating the best sources of data, a process more important than ever as the data landscape grows increasingly cluttered.
Price: $65.00