Model Reference Behaviors

Welcoming behaviors and approachability

Patrons are often reluctant to ask questions. Your job as a reference librarian is to encourage their questions by using welcoming behaviors and by being approachable. Being approachable encourages questions from patrons.

Some Behaviors for Encouraging Questions

Non-Verbal

Smile!
Maintain natural eye contact
(Be aware of cultural sensitivities)

Verbal

Give a friendly greeting
Use a relaxed, upbeat tone of voice

Non-Verbal

Be at patron's eye level
Keep a relaxed, open body posture
Have an interested facial expression
Lean forward slightly (if sitting)
Walk around the library -- Slowly!
Let people know your name
Provide an appropriate setting
Maintain privacy
Eliminate physical barriers
Reduce desk clutter
Lower distracting noise levels

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This page was last updated on November 24, 2003.