The article reports on an exploratory study that identified the skills used by reference librarians during individual research consultations with undergraduate and graduate students in a wide range of disciplines. The skills fell into eight categories. As expected, librarians needed knowledge about information sources and their effective use, but the project revealed that consultations often involve higher-order skills, as well, such as knowing how to approach and organize the research endeavor, shaping a topic appropriate for the scope of a project, making connections among various pieces of information and applying them to the problem at hand, and identifying alternative research strategies. It is important that the library profession continue to value and nurture these skills in reference librarians. Online discovery tools and even vastly improved computer interfaces are no substitute.


First published as: Magi, Trina J., and Patricia E. Mardeusz. "What Students Need from Reference Librarians: Exploring the Complexity of the Individual Consultation." College & Research Libraries News 74, no. 6 (June 2013): 288-91. http://crln.acrl.org/content/74/6/288.full


library, libraries, reference, research, information literacy, undergraduate students, graduate students, consultations

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