December 23, 2005

Reading & the reference librarian: The importance to library service of staff reading habits/ Juris Dilevko & Lisa Gottlieb

Published in 2004, the book elaborates on a survey of the reading habits of librarians from academic libraries and public libraries in the US and Canada.
NLB Call No.: q025.52 DIL
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One key takeaway from reading the book -- the librarians surveyed recognise the importance of reading (for personal and job competencies), but they have no time to read on the job, and most did it outside working hours. Some librarians surveyed do have time to read on the job, but that's the minority.

As I read the book, I wondered how Singapore librarians would fare. I'm sure many of the survey results would be consistent, especially the "no time to read" part. It was interesting to note that this seems to be a problem faced by librarians across the world!

The first part of the book is on academic librarians & second part on public library reference librarians.

The book puts a convincing case that reading gives an edge to the reference librarian (in collection development, programmes & outreach etc). I thought the real question is whether those reference librarians who don't read (or not as often) are less effective than those who do? (chpt 7 addresses this, which says there's a link between effectiveness and reading).

In fact, same applies to "successful" people. I think there definitely a strong positive correlation bet reading & personal effectiveness but it's one's ability to assimilate & apply info that really gives an edge -- and that is something hard to qualify & quantify.

p. 8 - web call centre. Describes how chat works
p. 10 - scathing review of S & Coffman's paper
p. 12 - on the role of librarians & librarianship
p. 21 - "re-intellectualise ref work in the 21st century"
p. 22 - walking resource - role of lib
p. 30 - issue of whether there's value in becoming a mini-expert
p. 31 - pple often ask what they read from newspapers
p. 43 - diff bet an adequate lib & a great one (on reading newspaper & mags)
p. 59 - impact on job specific responsibilities
p. 66 - conversation starters
p. 68 - debunkers
p. 78/ 81 - types of fiction & NF read (NF mostly biographies)
p. 83 - *how reading fiction helps (see also p101)
p. 84 - "it's the totality of reading that is impt" & "it doesn't matter where the content comes from"
p. 95 - on reader's advisory
p. 115 - by inference above 76% read on their personal time
p. 118 - why some don't read/ don't want to read outside work time

p. 133 - PL ref staff/ p134 - successful (pl) ref lib is one with a quizzical mind. 79.2% surveyed don't have paid time to read but are strongly encouraged to during "slow times"/ p135 - reading is part of professionalism & resp of salaried staff so not necc to have paid time

p. 148 - how keeping current helps PL ref (but undelying assump is that users want to ask PL. A chicken-egg issue?)

p. 164 - diff deg of emphasis placed by academic & pl lib wrt reading & ability to relate to the cust they serve. For PL, it is the relationship rather than direct bk knowledge.

p. 177 - 187: char of "impressive ref svc" by academics, why they were disappointed, char of "preferred ref lib"

p. 192 - advice/ feedback from academics to ref lib on what makes good svc/ p202 - on how to stay current

Appendices - methodology & survey questions asked

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