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18 Mar 2009 / Julie

bios never seem to mention virtual reference

This morning i just received the Maryland Library Association election ballot. While i’m pretty sure i just filled one of these out a year ago (can’t we make terms two years?), i noticed something this time around i’m not sure i noticed before.

No one mentioned MPOW, AskUsNow!, as part of their credentials.

Now, i’m not too shaken about this as the two people on the ballot who are AskUsNow! librarians are applying to be MLA Treasurer and AskUsNow! might be unneeded wordage as it doesn’t help in the screaming of “Hey! I can handle money!” but it got me thinking…

How many times have i seen bios, resumes, or kudos mention that the person does AskUsNow!, or virtual reference. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’d want to plug all the cool things i knew how to do/was involved in. If i was looking at 2 identical-on-paper librarians, i’d be more interested in the one who called out that they did virtual reference reference in various modes. Yes, yes, it’s all reference- but that’s only from the customer’s perspective; There’s a whole other skill set involved with non-f2f reference than with f2f reference. Okay, maybe not the reference part, but the connection, rapport/relationship building, and communciation part absolutely.

Is it that traditionally, and by-and-large, it’s a hard time for librarians to applaud themselves and the awesome things they do? Perhaps we see vr as “that thing we have to do” and not worthy of special attention, applause, or “hey look what we can do!”? Do we fail as coordinators of such services for not making sure people are only involved when they want to be, reminded of the excellent work they do, and shown all the wonderful comments from customers who continued to be astounded by us? Or am i reading too much into this because people combine “virtual reference” into standard duties of librarians these days?

You tell me…

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