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Reference and Research: Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Here are some reference tips and tricks to help you out along the way:

  • Remember to find out how comfortable your patron is with the specific resources you suggest. You may end up with the perfect teaching opportunity!
  • If you have the ability to spin your screen toward your patron or set up your desk so that they can see it from where they will potentially stand, do it! This will make your interaction much easier and won't make then feel so in the dark about what you're doing while you're searching.
  • Always check in with your patron as you search and involve them in the search process. It builds their trust in you.
  • Don't make the patron feel bad about what they don't know because just as quickly the shoe ends up on the other foot and you end up confused. Take that chance as a time to learn together.
  • When searching on a PC, Ctrl + F is your friend as you go through long documents! This helps you find a specific word or phrase quickly. Use Cmd + F when on a Mac.
  • Use advanced searching skills when on Google as much as you can! Need a refresher? This LibGuide, created by Karen Briere of San Antonio College Library, is a wealth of information!
  • Learn how to disengage from overly chatty patrons and have a plan in place for doing so ahead of time. It can sometimes be helpful to rehearse your script in your head!
  • Always walk patrons to the resources, never just point the way.
  • At the close of the conversation, take the opportunity to invite them back in some manner.
  • Don't be afraid to ask a colleague for help or reach out to other appropriate agencies who may be a better fit for answering patron's questions.

Image titled Google Like a Boss. Includes Google search shortcuts.