“UP! Your Reference Quotient” at the National Library of Singapore

LOO, Janice, CHOW, Wun Han, CHAN, Belinda and TENG, Sharon (2014) “UP! Your Reference Quotient” at the National Library of Singapore. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 101 - Reference and Information Services. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/952
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


“UP! Your Reference Quotient” at the National Library of Singapore

Rapid technological advancements and attendant changes in information-seeking, reading and learning behaviours have reshaped the environment in which today’s library operates. The rise of Google has thrown the raison d'être of the library profession into question as the primary functions of the librarian appear to be performed just as well – if not better – by Internet search algorithms. However, technology is merely a tool of the reference librarian's trade, and as such, Google is not (and will never be) enough. "UP! Your Reference Quotient" is the National Library of Singapore’s (NLS) reference services’ professional development framework to equip reference librarians with diverse skills and expose them to different ways of working with content and the community. The strategy takes a four-pronged approach to boost what the NLS terms the Reference, Knowledge, Collection and Social Engagement Quotients of staff. In essence, Reference Quotient covers the fundamentals of daily reference and user services; Knowledge Quotient refers to research aptitude and subject expertise; Collection Quotient meaning familiarity with the NLS’ collections; and Social Engagement Quotient advocates bringing the content, reference services and value of librarians to the global community. The challenge of librarianship in the current Google age is to sustain and be a part of that conversation between people and content. Neither "human search engine" nor "partner in knowledge creation" adequately describes what a 21st Century reference librarian should be. In fact, the 21st Century reference librarian needs to embody both – and more. The NLS reference services’ professional development strategy aims to bridge the two by encouraging reference librarians to venture into collaborative curation and knowledge creation while remaining grounded in the tenets of librarianship and reference services work. Google has not displaced the reference librarian; rather, it has reinvigorated the profession in this brave new world of information abundance and ubiquitous access.

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