How do you handle difficult or challenging reference queries?

    Focusing Perspectives on Information Exploration

    Sample interview questions: How do you handle difficult or challenging reference queries?

    Sample answer:

    • Listen actively and empathize: Demonstrate a genuine interest in understanding the patron’s query and its context. Actively listen to their concerns and show empathy for their situation. This initial connection can help ease tension and create a more positive interaction.

    • Clarify and define the question: Encourage patrons to elaborate on their query. Ask open-ended questions to gain a deeper understanding of their information needs, desired outcomes, and any specific parameters or limitations. This clarification process helps ensure that you have a clear understanding of the query and can provide the most relevant and accurate information.

    • Utilize available resources: Reference librarians have access to a wealth of resources like databases, reference books, online resources, and subject-specific materials. Efficiently utilize these resources to gather comprehensive and relevant information to address the patron’s query.

    • Evaluate and synthesize information: Critically evaluate the retrieved information, considering its accuracy, currency, relevance, and potential biases. Integrate and synthesize the findings from multiple sources to provide a concise and well-rounded response that addresses the patron’s needs.

    • Provide clear and concise explanations: Deliver the information in a manner that is easily understood by the patron. Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and technical terms that might be unfamiliar to them. Offer explanations and context to help them grasp the information’s significance and relevance.<... Read full answer


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