A hearty reception by a sympathizing friend, and the recognition of someone at hand who will listen to inquiries, even although he may consider thern unimportant, make it easy for such person to ask
questions, and put them at once on a home footing.
Samuel S. Green, 1876.
Samuel Green´s description of a reference librarian basically summons up the main characteristics required to be a successfull reference librarian; librarian should be open, communicative and willing to help.
But besides personal characteristics that are more or less not educationally enduced and could make some think only the socially intelligent individuals could make good reference librarians, there are professional competencies and behavioral performances required as well.
Those requirements could be chategorized in the following gropus:
- Librarian should always have in mind his mission of helping the user. With that thought on his mind, some other requrements, like patience, simpathy and willingness to adapt to all the different profiles of users and their communication skills, will just come along.
- Librarian should engage mental discipline; he should listen carefully and fully to what the user is asking for, and be completeliy concentrated on the user and the inquiry.
- Librarian should be familiar with basic communication principles.
- Librarian should posses a broad knowledge. That knowledge could also be chategorized in few groups:
- general knowledge
- knowledge of (relevant) reference resources
- knowledge of information tools (online catalogues, data bases, web sites, journals, monographs etc.) and the searching techniques
- knowledge of legislative (intellectual property law, copyright)
- knowledge of information competencies standards.
For more detailed approaach to professional competencies see RUSA Reference Guidelines.