This paper explores the role of the reference librarian in an interdisciplinary field bridging scholarly and policy information, and in a library that serves the public, academic, business and policy communities. After considering the nature of women’s studies and policy studies, the author reviews recent literature on the changing role of the librarian in providing specialized research and reference services, finding the emergence of a proactive, client-centered, multifunction model. Through an examination of the diverse activities in women’s policy issues in Washington, DC, the author shows the ability of the librarian to merge reference service, research consultation, outreach, collection development, and bibliographic instruction. In monitoring the field within and outside the library, the librarian becomes established as an independent authority and can offer well-informed service to policymakers, analysts, students, the media and political groups. The paper summarizes the benefits and problems for the librarian and the patrons in this individual approach to public service.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Library and Information Sciences