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Reference Training: Tiered Reference

This guide will help train Library Assistants to respond to basic reference questions, record/track responses and introduce the libchat tool.


Overview of Purpose

The purpose of this guide is to make library assistants

  • aware of and
  • fluent in the use of the many assets available to get a student/user started in using the library. 

In this way the library assistants at the circulation desk will be enhancing what is frequently the first contact point for patrons.

This contact point at the circulation desk will be called something like Information but reference librarians will still be available via various venues to answer the more challenging, upper tiered questions.

Library assistants can hand off the question with a

  • phone call to the reference librarians to come to the circulation desk when the reference librarian is physically present (or in COVID times has her phone set to forward to her home). Alternately the hand off to the reference librarian can be made
  • in LibAnswers (tickets) or
  • in LibChat,

as will be explained at the corresponding tabs below, Hand off to Reference: When & How.

Specific Modules

To that end, as the tabs on the left show, this guide will address the various parts of training:

1.  Define/explain Tiered Reference generally and then apply it to the LCCC setting

2.  Provide background information with a link to the Library Toolkit, which library assistants will complete as a first step in training.

3.  Explain the principles and need for the reference interview.

4.  Explain how to find a known item (book, etc.) in the LCCC catalog.

5.  Explain how to use OneSearch (the Library's version of a Google search, but for Library assets) to find items on a topic in order to prepare for similar questions at the circulation/information desk.

6. Explain the many "treasures and tools" contained at  Ask the Library/FAQ Link. These will greatly aid and easily enhance the first contact of the student/user.

7.  Learn how to record your interaction/transaction  with the patron in  the tool called LibAnswers.

8.  Learn some of the ins and outs of working in LibChat.

9. See some of the language/scripts frequently used in tiered reference for the hand off to the Librarian and learn the steps (found in LibAnswers & LibChat) to hand off to ref staff those questions to which you do not know the answer.

10. Chat Transcripts as Learning Aids This tab describes how to access previous LibChats to see how others have handled a LibChat.. 


Each tab will eventually also have a box with a Word document containing exercises/questions related to that section to allow for practice and develop skills..

Scheduled Training

A training session, building on the Library Toolkit, will take place on Friday, 4 September 2020 in LC 209 from 9:30-12:30 pm.

Lorain County Community College | 1005 N Abbe Rd - Elyria, OH 44035 | 1-800-995-LCCC