Basic Reference Skills for Non-Reference Librarians eCourse

You must complete your registration in advance of the eCourse by following the instructions contained in the PDF download that accompanies your purchase. The download can be found on the final confirmation screen after you complete your purchase and may also be accessed from your account. Select "My Account" and then select the "Files" tab to see all of your digital downloads.

$175.00
ALA Member: 
$ 157.50
Item Number:
1541-9105
Date(s): 
From:  March 12, 2018
To:  April 8, 2018
Delivery Method: 
Asynchronous
Credentials: 
Attendance Cert.
Duration: 
4 weeks
Estimated Hours of Learning: 
24 Hours
Publisher: 
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions
  • Description
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Registration
  • eCourse Outline
  • About the Instructor
  • Contact Us

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.

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

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 by selecting "My Account" at the top of your screen and then selecting the "Files" tab. Confirmation with login instructions, reminders, and alerts will go to the email address used in the registration.

How this eCourse Works
The eCourse begins on March 12, 2018. Your participation will require approximately four to five hours a week, at times that fit your schedule. There are no live sessions. 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.

Bulk Orders

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

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

Francisca Goldsmith

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 healthcare 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).

If you have any questions about this eCourse, please contact us at elsmarketing@ala.org.

At Your Service

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