Layout of the modules
Each page of NSW ref-ex training material is usually followed by an exercise.
Where to start
Work through all the modules in order if you're new to reference work or jump to the modules you need if you require a refresher.
Module 1: overview of the reference process
An overview of what reference work is, why it is important, who needs it and who does it. This module will give a brief introduction to the skills you will learn in the rest of the modules. This is the place to start if you have no reference experience.
Module 2: reference interview skills and question types
A reference interview is the step of the reference process that determines the patron's real information needs. This module includes how to start an interview, how to finish an interview, tips for remote reference service (for the patrons you can't see or hear),and how you can find out what patrons really want to know.
Module 3: people skills model reference behaviours
What you do is as important as what you say. This module covers some model behaviours and recommended actions, as well as working with people and dealing with tricky situations.
Module 4: search strategies
This module includes strategies for basic reference searching, using the best search engine, subject headings, indexing, interlibrary loan and other library mysteries. It emphasises the importance of accuracy, when to refer the query on, and keeping track of what you do.
Module 5: reference resources
This module covers evaluating and examining reference resources, basic types of resources and recommended lists of examples available in most libraries.
Module 6: ethics and legislation
This module covers the ethical and legal framework in which reference work is conducted.
Module 7: roving reference
This module covers the model behaviours necessary to provide a Roving Reference services and explains how technology can help make Roving Reference a success.
Module 8: local studies
This module provides an overview of Local Studies Collections in public libraries and identifies key resources for Local Studies research.
Module 9: family history
This module provides an overview of Family History Collections in public libraries and identifies key resources for genealogical research.
Module 10: children
This module provides an overview of providing reference services to children in public libraries.
Module 11: young adults
This module is a guide to reference services for young adults in public libraries. In particular, it looks at how reference service for young people differs when compared with adults or children.
Module 12: corporate library services
This module explains the nature of corporate library services in local government and looks at the skills you will need in order to answer reference questions from council staff and elected councillors.
Supervisors and self-pacing
Supervisors should read the Tips for supervisors.
Participants should read the Tips for participants. Work through one module at a time then do the exercises and practice. One module can be completed over a few sessions. Please discuss your plans to complete the modules with your supervisor.
Feel free to work through the module again if everything is new and you need more time with the material. Move on to the next module only when you feel ready. If you need a quick glance back at an earlier module use the links in the sidebars or at the bottom of the page.
Recognition is available for participants who complete the modules.
Get started with Module 1