Identifying Core Reference Competencies from an Employers’ Perspective: Implications for Instruction

Laura Saunders


Reference services are in transition. Impacted by advances in technology, changing user expectations, and the migration to greater provision of online and distance service, reference in academic libraries today is not the same service it was even just a decade ago. Most literature looks at reference competencies either for a specific service model such as virtual reference, or a specific type of library like an academic health or law library. Despite the changing nature of the job, few studies have considered reference competencies more broadly from the employer’s point of view. This study reports the preliminary results of a survey of current reference librarians and hiring managers to answer the following questions: What knowledge, skills, and competencies do current practitioners and hiring managers believe to be valuable for the provision of reference services now and into the future? What areas do managers find lacking or underdeveloped in their new hires? How well do current library science programs prepare students to meet employer expectations for reference positions?

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Copyright © 2012 Laura Saunders, Attribution-NonCommercial ( CC BY-NC

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