Best practices in roving reference services: Six steps for success

Daniel A. Sabol


Roving reference requires an open and friendly person who is understanding of the student’s needs. Also, roving reference requires a good deal of interpersonal skills and the ability to read a situation. We tend to walk the library and find students who are lost in the stacks or sitting in a chair with a database open, but not quite sure what to do with it. These are the students we are trying to reach, the student who needs help but will not ask or it.

In my approach, I find that saying hello before your intervention, remembering names, and keeping the students’ best interest in mind achieves the best outcomes for both the librarian and the learner. Roving reference has value to the student and offers a service that adds value to librarians. Librarians play an enormous role in the learning and student outcomes. However, many students are not aware of what exactly it is that we do.

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Copyright Daniel A. Sabol

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