For this assignment, you must find a library of your choice (academic, school, public, special collections) and conduct a brief approximately one hour observation of the reference operation.
You should play close attention throughout to several aspects of reference services at the library, including:
What does the physical space look like? What kind of signage is used? Furniture? Technology?
What kinds of patrons ask for help? Can you identify patterns based on age? Race? Gender?
What kinds of questions are asked? Directional? Research? Organizational?
What do the librarians staffing the desk do between questions?
What kinds of reference sources does the library utilize to answer patron questions (include both sources that might be used during your observation, but also ones available that might not have been used in your narrow window observing)
You will complete an approximately 1-2 page write-up responding to the above questions as well as providing additional information about the institution you observed. What kind of library is it? How many patrons does it serve? How many librarians are employed there? How big is the reference book budget?
Be sure to utilize the library website to answer many of the above questions. You might also look for a strategic plan, which many libraries have and freely publish on their web pages.