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VLS Reference Librarian Job Description

Virtual Librarian Service


What is the job? Many librarians want to know this, if they are thinking of consulting to the Virtual Librarian Service. The job can be pretty heady stuff - you will be making a difference for our students, faculty and administration in our client’s educational institutions. And did you remember you will be virtual. So, a lot of thought has gone into this and our Head of Reference Service and User Experience says it is as accurate as we can make it. The librarian team at VLS reviewed this JD in April 2020 . So here is a

Job Description for the Virtual Reference Librarian

To provide professional, accurate and timely reference assistance by email or live chat to the students and faculty at our client institutions

To meet the first response rate of minutes or hours; but to respond to an inquiry no later than 24 hours

To ensure all students or faculty members receive a high standard of response and assistance

To use scripted responses to reference questions while adding customization that speaks to the specific inquiry

To be keenly aware of and report gaps in the electronic holdings as they relate to the programs offered

To recommend where or what to lease or purchase to maintain the quality of the resource holdings as they support the programs offered

To assist with syllabi review, in addition to the development or updating of instructional research guides and other bibliographic aids

To maintain and expand your knowledge of the complexities of commercial literature databases

To become comfortable and efficient with the technology used to deliver the virtual reference service

To make Jings/videos when required

To always meet the assigned virtual reference service schedule

To meet in person or by electronic means with colleagues as needed

To work with faculty and academic administration staff, sit on academic committees at client institutions

To learn some big concepts surrounding U.S. accreditation at the regional, national and programmatic level.

Essential qualifications:

Language Requirements: English Essential

Education: Graduation from an ALA accredited library or information science program with a master's degree.

Experience:  Some experience in a service environment such as providing traditional reference or research assistance or virtual electronic library reference service, including reference desk service, research assistance, user instruction, or point of service assistance with electronic technologies.

Knowledge of:
• electronic commercial literature sources and their limitations and content
• the principles and theories of library reference service
• the issues and technological developments in the library and social communication field
• email software
• live chat
• web meeting software applications
• use of camera and microphone in meetings

Ability to:
• work within a wholly electronic virtual environment
• deliver effective virtual reference service to students and faculty
• monitor library services and adjust services to meet evolving client information needs
• communicate in writing using a keyboard efficiently
• work independently with little supervision
• conduct effective on-line searches using various databases and sources and to select and use the appropriate resources to verify and locate material or information
• be results oriented
• learn from previous work of other consultants working with Virtual Librarian Service

Personal Suitability:
This can be a lonely position. To offset that, the librarian should be willing to use various collaborative and communication tools to work with their colleagues. You must be able to maintain effective interpersonal relationships; demonstrate initiative, flexibility, and judgment. At the same time being be solely responsible for the quality of your reference assistance to the student and faculty. Also read the document titled “Virtual Librarian Service and Consultants”.

Asset qualifications:
Experience working within an academic setting would be helpful, but so is working in a special library.

Condition of Employment:
You must have a camera and microphone capability on your computer. Access to high speed, reliable internet with a computer capable of live chat, creating videos, attending web meetings and web email regardless of where you choose to work. During the hours that you are responsible for reference service, the computer must be available to you and secure. A confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement with Virtual Librarian Service must be signed.

Operational Requirement:
There is a really small chance that there is an opportunity for occasional travel

Well - that is the best description that the library staff can do. Thanks for reading it.

Melody Hainsworth, MLIS, Ph. D.
Virtual Librarian Service                                                                    

June 15 2020
reviewed/amended September 2012
reviewed/amended May 2013

Reviewed/amended February 2029

Reviewed/amended May 2020