IGD and other reference staff have been discussing how best to approach and design reference services given how the service is currently used, and how we also see the work of liaison librarians evolving. The ability for our users to get personalized and immediate support for information-related needs is very important and one that we need to deliver. However, it is one of many ways we support our users, and we want to be sure the service fits the need as well as it can.
We also are currently challenged with the number of vacancies we have, and we want to be sure that we continue to maintain staff at our service points for times when use and need is most high (afternoons, evenings, and weekends).
As a result of these discussions and our current situation, we are going to experiment a bit with how and when reference services are delivered during the coming term. I fully expect that we will make adjustments along the way based upon evolving needs and circumstances.
Our current plan is this:
- Circulation staff will open the facility Monday-Fridays.
- For weekdays, our reference service hours will be 0800 until closing. Saturday and Sunday reference hours will be from opening to closing.
- On weekdays, we will have on-call reference between the hours of 0800 and 1300.
How will on-call reference work? Using the current reference desk schedule, the librarian scheduled for the 0800 shift will get a pager from the Circulation Desk and be on-call. At 0900, the librarian going off shift will hand the pager to the next shift’s librarian. This shift will go from 0900-1300. A sign at the Reference Desk will refer patrons to the Circulation Desk, where staff will page the librarian on-call. We will be tracking our data from this term, and will make adjustments wherever necessary.
Our overall goal is to find a sweet spot where we fully support and staff our service points when users are most likely to need assistance, and to provide just-in-time support during other times of the day.
I welcome any thoughts about this and other services at any time and appreciate the willingness to try something new. I cannot guarantee we’ll keep this current plan, but I can guarantee we’ll learn something along the way.