Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Question for #glamblogclub

This post is a few, mostly unconnected thoughts, and some questions. Asking questions is important, but you don't want to sound like you are conducting an interrogation. This is important with colleagues as well as with people who use your library. You also want to make sure you are listening for the answer/s and not thinking about what you will say next. Pauses can be okay.

When you are helping someone find information, do you help them with formulating their question, or do you answer the question you think they should have asked? I once worked with someone who felt it was much better to answer the questions she thought people should have been researching, rather than the questions they were looking to answer. This is different to helping someone formulate their question, and not nearly so helpful (unless you want people to avoid asking you questions, and it could be very frustrating for students with school projects to do.).

Biblioteka Haburas Moris, NGO Roman Luan, Atauro Island
Biblioteka Haburas Moris, NGO Roman Luan, Atauro Island
The reference interview/conversation or readers' advisory interview/conversation is about finding what the person is looking for, rather than the answer you want to give, and really helping them with their questions, rather than showing off your answers. It is also about listening so you are really providing the assistance/training they are seeking. This is not a post of inspiration but of a reminder of the basics.

 From earlier posts, there are a few more questions:

In case you are wondering about the photograph, it is from Biblioteka Haburas Moris, NGO Roman Luan, Atauro Island showing a locally produced book in Tetum.  There were other books in the library which certain donor organisations had given without asking the right questions.  For example on this island there was no postal service and no internet - so a book on how to use ebay was not going to be very useful.  The book on ebay use was only one example of the donor organisation not questioning what they were actually trying to do for the community. So if you are giving library materials to other countries think very carefully about it, and make sure you ask the right questions.