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Information Services Training Guide: Welcome!

Basic resources and information for providing quality reference service

Our Goal and Objective

"Teach students to fish rather than feeding them the catch of the day."
 Anticipate their information needs with professional resources when and where they need them.



Define the nature and extent of the information needed.  Identify types of information resources available. 


About Us

About Us:   

  • Reference
  • Research
  • Instruction
  • Outreach

Reference:  answering questions in-person at our reference desk, by chat, phone or e-mail

Research: more in depth assistance - set up a research appointment(s) 

Instruction:  we work closely with faculty to teach in their classrooms (in-person or online) as well as in the library

Outreach:  “reaching out” to faculty and students to actively educate them as to the services the library offers and publicize our services. 

Ask a Librarian For Help!

  • The Library’s homepage gets you to resources needed to do research and write papers. 
  • Reference librarians are your guide in finding what you need.

Reference Desk Checklist

The following few questions might help make sure all bases are covered consistently:

Are you sure you understand the question?

  • Don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions and to restate the question in your own words.

Is the student looking for a specific item?

  • Use Amazon to verify the spelling of an author's name or title, or other websites to check titles in a series. Once you know what you're looking for, be sure to check the catalog, or Worldcat to interlibrary loan the item if necessary. 

Is the student looking for a subject?

  • Use the catalog to find the right LC range so the they can browse the shelf
  • Remember to also check
    • databases (especially for homework research or very current information)
    • the library's website (for LibGuides/subject guides,web links, etc.)
    • general internet searching to find public websites

Is the question about something local?

  • Check the local newspaper, local websites (especially newspaper and municipal websites, as well as and for socializing and events).

Is your answer is still “no” or “I don't know” - what else can you do?

  • Is the problem that you're in the right place and the information is just not there, or that you can't think of where to look? Keep the person informed, but don't waste their time 
  • Ask a coworker or supervisor for help
  • Take the student's name and number and offer to contact them when you find something

To make the reference interactions go more smoothly try this strategy:

  • Sometimes it's hard to find the answer with the person hovering above you watching and waiting. If possible, get the person started on looking in one area, and then go back to the catalog/database on your own for more thorough research.

And to make future reference questions better, here's a checklist about patron interactions in general:

  • Have there been a lot of questions on the same topic? If so, is there a way to make this information more readily available for the future?
  • Pay attention to the type of questions that make you uncomfortable, and then ask for training or explore those areas.
  • Remember to show students how to do something, instead of just giving them answers. 

No checklist will cover every interaction, but should at least get people started down the right road. 



How do I log into library databases from off campus?

● off ­campus access needs to be authenticated.  Login using NSU username and password *

 ● students must access resources by going through the library's website.  Bookmarking or Goggling databases does not work.

Know how to locate LibGuides.  Point out LibAnswers,  Chat box

If a student ask for a copy of their textbook

● Be able to state that the library doesn’t purchase textbooks regularly, but may have a copy on Reserve or in the collection.

● Be able to search for textbooks by title or author to determine if the library owns a copy.

● Be able to check course reserves by the course number or professor’s name to determine if a textbook is on reserve.