Week 10 of the semester was spring break, so I had a brief respite from my internship. It’s probably a good thing too, because this week has been surprisingly busy at the reference desk!
On Tuesday in particular I was flooded with patrons. A patron from another school on campus had questions about Indiana educational law and policy, so I took her to the print Indiana reference collection and explained how the Indiana Code and the Indiana Administrative Code are organized, and also directed her to other Indiana references that provide a little more explanation and discussion of topics. Later that day I worked with a patron from a student organization who was trying to locate helpful documents for a client of that organization; for this interaction I employed the help of the government documents librarian, but we determined that no one document existed to answer the patron’s question, but rather required several resources. Several quick interactions that day came from students from a class with a research assignment due; these students simply needed instruction on the use of the two major legal databases, Lexis and Westlaw. Finally, a patron came in seeking legal assistance of a personal nature and I directed her to a community legal clinic run by the law school. And that was all in a short, 3-hour window!
The rest of the week quieted down a bit. I continued to have questions from students in the class with the coming-due research assignment. Since they all had the same research question, it became easier to answer as the interactions went on! Most of these questions really came down to database instruction, and I was happy to gain some experience in this area.
Lesson learned this week: In an academic library setting, it can be beneficial for reference librarians to stay up-to-date on upcoming research assignments for which reference assistance may be sought. Especially when the assignment is the same for every student, it is highly likely that the librarians will see the same questions day in and day out; while the questions this week were simple to answer right off hand, preparation and anticipation are great benefits.