Use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users

Competency I

The role of library and information science professionals is ultimately to serve the information needs of a community. They do this by creating collections, providing access, and assisting in the research needs of patrons. Libraries have considered service to the community an important principle for many years. Since the establishment of public libraries in the United States, a primary principle has been the betterment of the community through learning. One of Gorman's laws of library science is that "libraries serve humanity" (Rubin, p. 253). In fact, service is the focus of the very first item in the American Library Association's (ALA) Code of Ethics: "We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests" (ALA, Code of Ethics). These principles are some of the most basic to the profession. In fact, Rubin states that this is what separates information science professionals from those in computer science and business. "The purpose of the field is to communicate knowledge to people…the generation of profit is not the fundamental purpose, rather it is helping others" (Rubin p.248).


The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) provides guidelines that reference librarians can use to serve their communities effectively. They state the importance of service to the field of information professionals and outline service goals that all information professionals can strive towards. "Libraries have an inherent obligation to provide information service to support the educational, recreational, personal and economic endeavors of the members of their respective communities, as appropriate to the libraries’ individual missions" (ALA, RUSA Guidelines). Thus service is a concept that is inherent to the field of information professionals.


RUSA outlines many guidelines in its service policy, addressing the need to provide service, resources, and access. According to RUSA, information services should provide resources according to the needs of the community it serves, should not discriminate against a user based on their information need, and it should provide equal access to information, including the tools and equipment needed to access that information. The librarian must also ensure that the materials in the library are relevant and accurate. Guidelines in their Services section address these areas specifically. Guideline 1.3 reads "The library should strive to provide users with complete, accurate answers to information queries regardless of the complexity of those queries" (ALA, RUSA Guidelines). And guideline 1.4 discusses the importance of the ability of the librarian "to help users identify items in the collection relevant to their interests and needs" (ALA, RUSA Guidelines). Database designers must also be concerned with information access, relevance and accuracy. Databases serve the needs of their users by providing access to materials. Part of the effectiveness of this too relies on its ability to create accurate searches that retrieve relevant information. So service to users encompasses all the tools of the information and library professional. No matter what tool is used, librarians and information service professionals must serve the needs of its users.


Evidence


Strategic Plan – LIBR 204 – Spring 2005
A strategic plan is a very important document for a library. It not only outlines the library’s mission statement, vision and values, but also establishes goals and a plan for reaching those goals. In this document, I’ve created a strategic plan for a fictional young adult collection in a public library. This document demonstrates the application of principles of all three areas mentioned in this competency. This document is an outline of how the library can address the service needs of the teens of the community.


Contemporary Artists’ Books: A Pathfinder - LIBR 210 - Summer 2005
This pathfinder was developed for LIBR 210, the Reference & Information Services class. Its intent was to create a guide to core reference materials for an area of study, in this case, artists' books. It is intended to introduce college students and those interested in contemporary art and alternative forms of art to modern artists’ books and also to introduce students who are taking courses in book arts and art history to scholarly sources about this area of art. This information is compiled into this pathfinder in order to serve the research needs of the community being served, in this case a small local liberal arts college. It is a service provided for the users of the library to directo them to relevant information for a particular group of users.


Metadata Schema for the DHLR Photography Database - LIBR 247 - Spring 2007 
This group assignment for LIBR 247 was also about designing a metadata database. We analyzed different systems and how these established metadata schema could be used in our metadata schema. The goal was to use standardization to ensure that the digital delivery system can take advantage of emerging technologies and of the growing demand for interoperability with the other institutions. It encourages access among a wide user base, and was disigned so that users would be able to use the information in the metadata to find the most relevant information.


References


American Library Association. (2007). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm


American Library Association. (2007). RUSA Guidelines forInformation Services. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesinformation.cfm


Rubin, R. (2000). Foundations of library and information science. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

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© 2017 Deirdre Stretton