Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reflection on Tyckoson’s Reference Service –World Domination?

With my own library experience limited to my role as a patron and a vendor, David A. Tyckoson’s chapter in The Portable MLIS provided me with a helpful overview of the reference librarian. (Tyckoson, 2008). Tyckoson’s discussion of how reference attorney tasks have evolved with technological advances was enlightening (Tyckoson, 2008, pp. 135-137, 139-141). That being said, Tyckoson only tangentially mentions globalization when describing how the Library of Congress was able to provide more comprehensive service by developing an international network of libraries that provide cooperative reference services to their collective patrons (Tyckoson, 2008, p. 137).

Globalization, though, could potentially be a huge impact on a library’s already limited reference resources. Allowing patrons to query reference services professionals via online chat, video conferencing and co-browsing tools rather than solely through face-to-face interactions means that there is the potential for the patron base to grow significantly. The library should carefully define its patron base, determine the criteria for supporting patrons outside the defined patron community and draft a communication strategy to communicate with those the library is unable to support due to resource constraints (i.e. provide alternative libraries that may be able to assist).

In conclusion, Tyckoson references the 1957 movie Desk Set as "the best library-themed film ever made". (Tyckoson, 2008, p.130). Although I have not yet seen it, I am thinking it can not possibly top this 1947 vocational film titled, The Librarian. Enjoy!


Holmes (Burton) Films, Inc. 1947. The librarian. United States of America: Iowa State College. Available from

Tyckoson, D. A. (2008). Reference service: The Personal side of librarianship. In K. Haycock & B. E. Sheldon (Eds.), The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts (pp. 127-146). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

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