“What’s reference? And other library related questions”

My current job in graduate school is a library supervisor for a residence hall library. Our residence hall library system is unique here at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign which gives us the opportunity to interact with undergraduates in their residence halls. Our collection consists of the latest fiction, nonfiction, movies, TV shows, CDs, and magazines. Essentially a public library-like collection in an academic setting. It’s awesome, to be so close and helpful, and students don’t even have to leave their residence hall!

My co-workers and I have tried to provide reference support in the libraries. This past semester I spent eight hours a week doing “Office Hours.” Essentially, come visit me, ask your reference questions. Then, during finals, one of my co-workers did a “Roving Reference” table throughout several residence halls. At a recent staff meeting he shared that when he was roving many undergraduates asked him, “What’s reference?”

This may hurt us as library staff. We hope (and perhaps sometimes assume) that what we take as implicit knowledge (e.g., what reference is) is also implicit to the people we work with.

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The Copyright Quagmire

Copyright. ‘ It’s one of those issues in education that doesn’t go away. Whether it is the 1,000 pound elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge or it’s the topic being policed with the kind of gusto most often left for sample sales. Copyright causes confusion, panic and in some cases, arguments. ‘ The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.’ ‘  But before we discuss a solution, let’s look at some real life scenarios: Continue reading