Reference Interview Practice Questions

Assume that a patron came into your library and asked the following. DO you have enough information to work On the question? Would you have to send it to another library? What kinds of information would you need to get before you could send it on?

For this exercise, donít look for answers. Instead, note down what questions you might need to ask before you can start your search.

Remember you need to find Out WHAT is the question, WHO is the patron, WHY is it needed, WHEN is it needed, WHERE have you and the patron already searched, WHERE did the patron hear of this?


"I have to write a paper on China and 1 can't find anything here today that talks about it."

ANSWER: When you say China, what do you mean? Is there some specific information on China that you are looking for? Is there a time after which you can no longer use this information? How did you become interested in this subject? What have you already looked at? Do you want advanced material or something basic? Is there anything specific you want to include in the answer?

  1. "I need a repair book for my 1955 Chevy." (Refer to the sheet on automobile questions to get suggestions for what you need to know.

  2. "Do you have anything on ladybugs?"

  3. "I want to read about emphysema."

  4. "Can you get me some information on preserving fruit without sugar?"

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This page was last updated on April 29, 2003.