New e-learning course on virtual reference – register by Feb. 14

Register by Thursday, February 14 for ACRL’s new e-learning course, Virtual Reference Competencies III: Maintain and Build Reference Skills and Knowledge.Without good communications skills a librarian will have a difficult time being a good reference librarian. However, without solid competence in reference skills and knowledge, a librarian is not a librarian. This reference expertise is why information seekers–all potential and current library users–will choose to use virtual reference services instead of just Googling on their own. Reference competencies involve searching, critical thinking, and information organization skills, as well as knowledge of specific reference sources and information-finding tools. Competent reference librarians are aware of the publication processes, both print and electronic, and the policies, procedures, organization, and legal environment of their specific library or library organization.

In this workshop participants will engage in learning activities, supported by readings as well as lecture and discussion to maintain and build on the reference competencies required by effective virtual reference librarians.



By the end of this course, you will have:

  • Ability to be approachable — to maintain and project a welcoming and enthusiastic reference service attitude through text-based communications
  • Awareness of and ability to apply organizational policies relevant to any given user of a specific virtual reference service
  • Detailed functional knowledge of ready-reference sources of information, such as encyclopedias, almanacs, indices, bibliographies and standard reference works in print and electronic formats
  • Awareness of the best or core reference sources available in print and electronic formats, and of the range of information resources that may be used in the delivery of reference services for selected subjects and general reference
  • Ability to conduct good reference interviews, to analyze reference questions using knowledge of the structures, organization, and accessibility of information in print and electronic formats
  • Awareness of the need to and ability to evaluate information resources for their appropriateness in level, scope, and format for a given user

Additional details about this course and other ACRL e-learning courses, including learning outcomes and registration materials, are online at  Be sure to submit your registration materials by Thursday, February 14 2008

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