I have known for a while, but finally confirmed, two facts about librarianship:
1 – Patrons are beginning to have less and less patience and want things immediately.
2 – They will settle for information that is not quite right or thoroughly researched if they can get it quickly.
Hmmm, how will we ever compete with this need for speed? It’s cultural and not just library related, I know.
Perhaps it’s time for required reading for all humans.
When you work with high school students and young college students the name of the game is speed. Basically, they are less likely to come to see us for reference assistance if we are 1) slow 2) provide info they could easily find themselves 3) don’t know when to end the dang reference interview.
My recommendation is that when you get a kid who actually comes up to with a question, hit them with a good, high quality info nugget that you keep just for the occasion. Store them on your desktop by subject or in your browser bookmarks. High quality, slightly general, usually unknown resources. So then the kid comes up to you with the question, start the reference interview, print out the resource and hand it to them. And then say “stay with me here and look through that…I think I have some things for you”. Because let’s face it, the reason they love the Internet is the INSTANT information, no matter how wrong. So give them an info nugget that’s actually useful, and then work your mojo.