Editorial: Learn something new: explore the possibilities

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 22 November 2022

Issue publication date: 22 November 2022



Watstein, S.B. and Johns, E.M. (2022), "Editorial: Learn something new: explore the possibilities", Reference Services Review, Vol. 50 No. 3/4, pp. 269-270. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-11-2022-114



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

We are for you – the frontline practitioners, the career changers, the middle managers, the ambitious administrators and the forever curious. For busy professionals who want to better understand the landscape in which they are working to enable them to make a valuable contribution to the field, Reference Services Review (RSR) is here for you too. In this final issue of 2022, we highlight two themes: (1) financial literacy and (2) chat reference services, in addition to presenting the annual bibliography on library instruction and information literacy.

Libraries as financial literacy supporters are of increasing interest to readers. LIS authors and contributors are drawn to explore a range of topics, including the intersection of financial literacy and citizenship, financial literacy and social justice, financial literacy and spirituality, health and wealth. This combined issue includes two articles on financial literacy. Kiszl and Winkler seek to identify, based on the published literature, in which areas and in what roles libraries engage in the development of financial literacy, and what options are available for those who intend to set out in this direction in the near future. Faulkner considers financial literacy from another angle through website analysis. Faulkner explores the financial literacy resources patrons can discover or access on the webpages of the largest 48 US public libraries to assess the strength of public libraries' current support to patrons seeking assistance with personal financial matters. As economic challenges and fluctuations permeate the United States and the globe through pandemic and political circumstances, the importance of financial literacy efforts in libraries may continue to grow and evolve.

Librarians continue to rethink reference services as we put more effort into supporting literacies in public and academic libraries. Two solutions are offered in this issue, one focused on chatbots (Rodriguez and Mune), and the other on student employees (Decker and Goss). Both solutions suggest methods to transform library reference work in ways that provide the necessary frontline support to library users without compromising quality, but allowing librarians to engage in different needs. We look forward to continuing the discussion on student workers in our upcoming issue in Volume 51 focused on peer research services.

Discovery tools offer another way for users to connect with information without or before connecting with a librarian. Lehnen and Insua examine the usefulness of more traditional subject-specific indexes compared to discovery tools for the discipline of literary studies. They pose an intriguing question: “To what extent can researchers rely on the primary database devoted to language and literature study to discover relevant scholarship, and how does its performance compare to other common search tools?” We share the authors' belief that an “understanding of the relative coverage of different search tools can inform librarian practices and recommendations.” Even with new discovery tools, curated, discipline-specific tools are still relevant for today's researcher.

Finally, the annotated bibliography is an excellent source for discovering what has been studied, researched or written on information literacy in several spheres in 2021. The bibliography offers a way for our readers to explore trends, learn new techniques and engage in the conversation about information literacy in libraries. The over 400 annotations from the team of 14 authors led by Gardner include a variety of sources on K-12 education, children and adolescents; academic and professional programs; everyday life, community and the workplace; libraries and health information literacy; multiple library types; and other information literacy research and theory.

Browse the articles in this double issue and the resources cited in the annotated bibliography. We are confident that you will find an article or articles that advance your knowledge, whets your appetite, or inspires your own personal or professional actions and decisions.

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