The RUSA website contains volumes of information about the skills needed to be a good reference librarian. Here are some of the guidelines available at the

  • New Definition of Reference (2008)
  • Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers (2004)
  • Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Services (2006)
  • Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services (2010)
  • Guidelines for Information Services (2000)
  • Guidelines for Liaison Work in Managing Collections and Services (2010)
  • Guidelines for Medical, Legal, and Business Responses (2001)
  • Guidelines for Preparation of a Bibliography (2010)
  • Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians (2003)

However, I find RUSA's guidelines a bit wordy. I prefer to read guidelines that get straight to the point. I went looking for a more reader-friendly set of skills that I need to be a great reference librarian and found a great list here:

Bibliographic Citations

KING COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM COMPETENCIES FOR EXCELLENCE REFERENCE LIBRARIAN. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2011, from University of Washington website:

RUSA Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2011, from Reference & User Services Association website: