**crossposted at LibTech Soup**
When patrons enter a public or academic library, they often need assistance in locating the information they are seeking. The idea of the reference interview is to focus the query of the enquiring patron to determine what it is specifically that they are looking for. As with other interpersonal interactions, there is a process involved in undertaking an interview. The purpose of this article is to examine the literature to determine best practices for the essential reference interview.
This article seeks only to identify the essentials of the interview process. A later article will examine special topics regarding the reference interview.