Information Literacy and Instruction: Reference Consultations and Student Success Outcomes

Robin E. Miller


Librarians have offered personal help in the form of reference for well over a century,1 increasingly using technology of one sort or another. During much of that period, reference service was often just that—a “service” where librarians would serve up information and answers to questions from users. Thanks to the proliferation of powerful technologies, however, many individuals now attempt to seek information on their own first, in a vast morass of websites, social media, apps, blogs, wikis (including Wikipedia), videos, podcasts, and more, all vying for eyeballs. When overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available, and unable to sort through it all to find valid, reliable information, some turn to librarians for help. It is more and more common that assistance takes the form of helping people learn how to learn for themselves, rather than simply providing answers.

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