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Peer Research Consultants

Training and information for PRCs


The American Library Association (ALA) created several documents to assist librarians. These can also be used to help a PRC determine the right course of action and behavior. 


Assisting Patrons

Congratulations on becoming a PRC! Your natural inclination will be wanting to assist patrons that come up with questions, especially as you begin some of the following assignments. This can be harmful to their research process if you don't have all the tools needed yet!

Your guidelines in the beginning are as follow:

  1. You must IMMEDIATELY call out your librarian buddy to be at your side while in training. This is to ensure you are not only learning "cool" things; it's also to ensure our patrons are getting the best service and takeaways.
  2. You must "pass" the question, saying you are in training, and escorting the patron to the Consult room. You may ASK the patron if they mind you staying with the librarian so you can learn.
  3. If your buddy is busy, please use All Schedules in Teams and ask for a librarian to come out to help you.

As you complete your Reference Interview assignments:

  1. Your librarian buddy MUST be at your side, or listening to you. Do not assume they are automatically listening. In chat: "I have a patron. Can you come out?"
  2. You may do the preliminary interview work with your librarian buddy at your side, using the Mapping Ideas worksheet.
    1. Find out key information such as what class they are in, what the topic specifically is, etc.
    2. You are not yet trained on doing the searches. Slide over and let the librarian take over at this point.

As you work on the librarian questions:

  1. Follow the same instructions as the Reference Interview section
  2. Make sure you are sending the survey links (under Evaluation) to the patron and your buddy librarian
  3. The PRC supervisors will let you know when you can go it alone.
  4. Make sure to ask which class it is for.
    1. If a graduate student, IMMEDIATELY take it to the Consult room.
    2. If an upper level class, verify if it is for a capstone. If it is, IMMEDIATELY take it to the Consult room.