Friday, February 13, 2004

Reference and Bibliographic Instruction Here is an article from Illinois Libraries which examines BI philosophy statements from various libraries.

From the article:

"What is your philosophy toward reference service?" "What is your philosophy towards bibliographic instruction?" These are common questions put to candidates for librarian positions in public services. What interviewers are trying to elicit is some statement of the candidate's beliefs, priorities or values on the subject. Although responses vary, statements of philosophy generally point to the candidate's professing to fall at either the instructional or the informational end of the spectrum. Statements of reference philosophy might point to a belief in teaching students how to find their own answers (instruction) or in providing the answers themselves (information). Similarly, statements of bibliographic instruction philosophy might point to a belief in promoting student self-sufficiency and life-long learning (instruction) or in providing students with just enough information to get them through the current assignment (information).

Philosophy statements pose difficulties. A library may have its own philosophies toward reference and bibliographic instruction, or it may have an amalgam of philosophies held by individual librarians. If library-wide philosophies exist, they may be written or unwritten. If unwritten, they may or may not be widely understood. If written, they may have come "top down" from the library administrator of "bottom up" from discussions among librarians themselves. And even if these philosophies, written or unwritten, are widely understood, they may not be followed in practice.

Full article at

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