Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

February 2008

Document Type



The reference librarian's task is to translate the patron's question into one that can be answered with the library's resources. The first element of that task is to know what the patron wants; the second is to know what resources the library has and how to use them. Reference librarians must learn continuously throughout their careers, both because new resources become available, but also because patrons present questions requiring new resources. This article will focus on how to determine what kind of information the patron needs through the reference interview.