Virtual Reference Training: The Complete Guide to Providing Anytime, Anywhere Answers

Even the best reference librarian can falter when suddenly thrust into cyberspace without the proper tools and training. As online library reference services become common practice, there's a critical need to develop core competencies unique to the virtual world - from conducting chats to multitasking. What does it take to be successful at the virtual reference desk? Washington State has committed to training its librarians to provide answers any time, anywhere. Now this proven learner-centered approach is available to libraries large and small, as they confront issues relating to offering virtual reference or improving existing services. In a training program that promises to make any library staff member - regardless of education or experience - comfortable and proficient in providing virtual reference, expert educator-librarians Hirko and Ross detail. 14 core competencies designed to foster consistent service; Hands-on activities and exercises - online, face-to-face, collaborative and solo; Learning activities that take the end-users perspective; Tools for developing a curriculum; Nine appendixes include assessment tools, policies, and procedures, plus fun learning activities like virtual field trips and secret patron scenarios designed to assimilate the learning. The software-neutral guide means the training works on any platform. From practical nuts-and-bolts considerations to actual feedback from learners who have used this program, Virtual Reference Training provides the guidance for developing a program that will help all librarians develop confidence and finesse at the virtual desk.