Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Are There Clear or Specific Standards on Reference Collections?

Samuel Swett Green stated that reference librarians should have four goals: teaching patrons about the library’s functions and resources, as well as how to utilize them; answering patrons’ questions; helping patrons select good reading material; and promoting the library to the greater community. In other words, the library has a duty to the community it serves and must respond to the needs of its patrons. To Green, people ought to feel welcome in their local libraries and librarians should facilitate this by being actively engaged with patrons and personalizing their service for each individual (Wikipedia). Based from these ideas of Green, it may be one of the reasons why Reference Services is one of the core subjects in Library and Information Science.

Green's advocacy on reference service is of little impact in the Philippines. I say this for the following reasons:

1. Reference Library/Section in the library is not given much attention in terms of services, collection, etc.

2. Only few libraries had reference section according to the idea of Samuel Green.

3. CHED Standards, PAASCU Standards, and other standards on reference collection are silent in terms of collection quantity unlike the Filipiniana, periodicals and professional book collection.

In my quest on this aspect, only the Policies and Programs for School Library Development (DECS Order No. 6 S 1998) has specific standard on the quantity of reference books.

I appeal to the different accrediting agencies (PAASCU, PACU-COA, etc.), government accrediting agencies (CHED, DepEd, Board for Librarians) and professional associations (PAARL, ALAP, etc.) to consider standards on reference collection as part of library standards.

by Mapanuring Librarian 2009

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