A reference librarian generally works in libraries at educational and other institutions. They help library visitors find the reference information they need, usually both in person and virtually. The reference librarian might also be tasked with creating bibliographies and guides on certain topics, so that these references can be easily found when sought by patrons. They may also look for new reference items to be purchased by the library. When working in a university, they might have to work with various university departments to gain an understanding of the type of resources they need.
The reference librarian might also have general librarian duties such as keeping the library neat and cataloging items. Some positions require experience using LibGuides as well. An orientation towards customer satisfaction is needed, as the reference librarian often interacts face to face with library patrons. Some positions may require public speaking skills or instructional experience, as providing workshops might be part of the job. The reference librarian might also be tasked with helping library customers become better researchers and take advantage of all the library has to offer. Additionally, they might keep records on library usage and participate in marketing to encourage people to use the library resources.
A master's of library science (or a similar degree) is usually required for this position, as well as experience as a librarian. Reference librarians may work part time and full time, and they generally work in an indoor setting during the library's hours of operation.
Reference Librarian Tasks
Select, acquire, catalogue, classify, circulate, and maintain library materials; and furnish reference, bibliographical, and readers' advisory services.
Set up or work with databases and information systems to catalogue and access information.
Perform in-depth, strategic research, and synthesize, analyze, edit, and filter information.
Search standard reference materials, including on-line sources and the Internet, in order to answer patrons' reference questions.