Am I Making Myself Clear?
Joseph Malek, 2022 Showcase
: The reference interview is a cornerstone of reference work. Throughout an interview, the ways in which reference librarians communicate can greatly impact the consultation’s success. Reference librarians, as well as users, convey many messages through their verbal and nonverbal communication, including biases – both conscious and unconscious. Biases may be based upon perceived race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, physical and mental ability, and intelligence. Incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion training into the culture of the library helps to explain the biases. Examinations of communication concepts and theories help to explain these verbal and nonverbal cues, and the combination of these two types of examinations will help libraries to significantly improve the reference interview. This paper encourages libraries to undertake the necessary assessments and actions to achieve institutional change that will equal a permanent improvement to reference services.
Joseph Malek (he/him/his) is a historian focusing on the Vietnam War era and plans to enter academic librarianship upon completion of his MLIS. For the past several years he has worked with historical and contemporary issues of racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. He plans to continue practicing social justice work both in and out of his career.