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Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk
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Managing Faculty and Student Expectations at the Circulation Desk

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  • We will be talking about 4 basic areas that affect our work at the circulation desk: What do we do? An overview of current practice What is our environment? Academic libraries today What do our users want and expect? Perceptions and expectations What can and should we be doing? Ideas and suggestions for improvement
  • Term not original to me – came from a 2000 article from University of Georgia – profile of their library’s circulation librarian One of her colleagues said, “if the library had a cat, circulation would empty the litter box.” Circulation is often expected to handle those duties that don’t fit well in other departments QUESTION: What does your department do that no one else wants to do? Why? Circ is usually open for the greatest number of hours Perception of the department as performing primarily technical, redundant functions Other departments’ scopes are more clearly defined
  • It can be difficult to group all these responsibilities with a common theme and extremely difficult to manage and train a group of staff and student workers when responsibilities are changing constantly and without warning. Increasingly, the term to describe this amalgamation of duties falls under the umbrella term of “Access Services.”
  • The term “access services” first started appearing in the 1980s. In 1991, the Assoc for Research Libraries came with a SPEC Kit talking about “Access services,” which was basically an administrative term referring to circulation. “Access services” was broadly defined as “physical access to library collections.” In 2005, ARL did a follow-up study to track the “access services” trend since 1995, and surveyed 77 of the 123 ARL libraries. An overwhelming majority of those libraries had a specific department with the word “circulation” or “access” in the title. From 1995 to 2005, the number of departments called just “circulation” departments decreased, from 39% to 14% - what went along with the name change was an absorption of many various access-type areas under that umbrella – increase in responsibility for periodicals, microforms, information desk, interlibrary loan “ Access services” is now more broadly defined as not only access to physical materials, but also delivery of materials ODLIS: The provision of access to a library’s resources and collections, which includes the circulation of materials (general circulation, reserves, interlibrary loan, document delivery), reshelving, stack maintenance, security and signage.
  • New services On-campus document delivery +100% Laptop circulation +200% E-reserves +269% Other services – users with disabilities, computer lab maintenance, copyright clearance, copy card sales, shipping & receiving Consolidation of service desks Increased automation Staff-side – notices, billing, bindery, ILL, offsite storage requests Patron-side – renewals, ILL requests, storage retrieval
  • What is our environment like in academic libraries right now? Report just appeared in the last month - Association of Research Libraries (2010). Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. Available at http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/ .
  • Everyone is a librarian The nearest desk should have what I need – NOW Interesting study from Texas A&M in 2007 analyzing the number of questions asked at the information desk closest to the front door, and how each question was answered – basically to test accuracy (74% accuracy rate) – but many were directional in nature more in-depth reference and technical questions had a lower accuracy rate technical “ many people are still coming to the library and asking questions of the first official-looking desk or person they see. As with any personal interaction, this first impression has a direct impact on how the user will perceive the library as a whole and is a critical factor in exploring quality of service issues.” Given this perception, one would think that you want to put your very BEST people at the circulation desk, but what are the perceptions of our colleagues of what we do?
  • However, on the other hand, SOME of our colleagues (definitely not all) think – No professional skills needed (something of a debate whether heads of circ in academic libraries should have an M.L.S.) Work is mechanical in nature Not “real” library work, i.e., cataloging, reference, etc. Relevant article from the January/February (2010) American Libraries. Toccara Porter writes that, in her library, “circulation workers and the circulation desk may as well have gone by the moniker ‘dummy worker’ or ‘dummy desk.’…there were clear boundaries set between circulation and reference, both stated in the job handbook and observed tacitly. Circulation workers were not to provide assistance to patrons unless questions were directional in nature or related to a circulation-oriented function like a basic library catalog search…yet reference staff could freely roam around the circulation desk performing that department’s duties, whether circulation staff were present or not, without reproach.”
  • OCLC in 2005 issued a report titled “Perceptions of libraries and information resources” In that year, they collected over 3,300 responses from information consumers in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, covering use of all kinds of libraries Library use Awareness and use of library electronic resources The Internet search engine, the library and the librarian Free vs. for-fee information The "Library" brand QUESTION POSED: If you could provide one piece of advice to your library, what would it be?
  • Here are some representative suggestions for improvement in the areas most relevant to circulation and front-line public service
  • 16% of total respondents to the survey provided advice related to service 6% advised libraries to increase their promotion and advertising 4 % of total respondents suggested that libraries increase access to the collections, both physically for the disabled and virtually to allow easier remote access
  • Policies: Clear, effective policies geared toward the most access for the greatest number of people, fairly applied Training: Maintaining an efficient, knowledgeable, professional staff who can communicate policies and sol
  • In order to meet the ever-changing, ever-increasing expectations of our faculty and students, we need to concentrate on three basic tools Policies: Clear, effective policies geared toward the most access for the greatest number of people, fairly applied  
  • Policies: Clear, effective policies geared toward the most access for the greatest number of people, fairly applied Training: Maintaining an efficient, knowledgeable, professional staff who can communicate policies and sol
  • Policies: Clear, effective policies geared toward the most access for the greatest number of people, fairly applied Training: Maintaining an efficient, knowledgeable, professional staff who can communicate policies and sol Statistics: Keeping track of key statistics at point of patron need, and constantly comparing and assessing these statistics for possible improvement
  • Examples - Food and drink policy Increased training resulted in greater enforcement of the policy Looked at statistics – higher instances of policy noncompliance, more staff spent enforcing this policy, higher instances of complaints from patrons – result: relaxed food and drink policy
  • Policies -- The Constant Balancing Act Our focus – the removal of deterrents to library use for the maximum number of users An “anything goes” approach vs. rigid policies strictly enforced   Situations – what would you do? A patron loses a book and wants the fine forgiven. A faculty member’s book was recalled and she refuses to return it, stating that it is important to her research. She suggests that the library purchase another copy. A graduate student has taken a library book to Guatemala with her for the summer and the book is recalled by another student. The first student says he can’t get to a post office to return the book.
  • Enforcing Policies “Fairly” Policies are in writing and transparent Circulation staff know when they can make exceptions and when to refer the issue Exceptions are applied judiciously Policies are always under review
  • WHO: all staff, student workers WHAT: the basics of circ WHEN: Early and ongoing – constant repetition WHERE: At orientation, at the desk WHY: Reference triage - shoot for ONE referral Better, more specific signage Targeted handouts
  • Blackboard as a student training and updating tool Technology training Additional benefit of using Blackboard is that students have to become familiar with Bb
  • Example of the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” game Freely available at http://www.superteachertools.com/millionaire/ Next, statistics
  • Can use a simple Excel spreadsheet to input data UK uses LibStats Other examples: Wait times for study rooms # of times network cables are checked out when wireless access is down
  • Example is from a typical Monday, from 2:00pm-11:00pm
  • Student Hrs/Wk Available (Average) Student Hrs/Wk Needed (Average) Difference (hours staff must cover/wk) Scenarios: full funding, 5% cut, 10% cut Top Priority Tasks - Students must do regardless of budget At full funding, students can do all three levels At 5% cut, students can still do top and 2 nd priority tasks At 10% cut, students can only do top priority tasks
  • Transcript

    • 1. Managing Faculty and StudentExpectations at the Circulation Desk Jen Bartlett, University of Kentucky Back in Circulation Again 2010 October 1, 2010
    • 2. Circulation: Not for the TimidWhat do we do? An overview of current practiceWhat is our environment? Academic libraries todayWhat do our users want and expect? Perceptions and expectationsWhat can and should we be doing? Ideas and suggestions for improvement
    • 3. Five Core ServicesCirculation of materialsShelving and stacks maintenanceRenewals and billingPrint and electronic reservesEntry and exit control Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 4. Emptying the Litter Pan Circulation: The catch-all department What does your department do that no one else wants to? Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 5. Emptying the Litter Pan off-site storage retrieval study carrel and locker checkouts opening and closing the building maintenance and custodial requests security problems verification of user credentials Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 6. Emptying the Litter Pan directional questions building tours reference questions during hours when the reference desk is closed interlibrary loan/document delivery support equipment (printers, copiers, phones) problems lost and found Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 7. What’s in a Name?Access ServicesBorrower ServicesCollection ServicesResource Support Services Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 8. Trends in Access ServicesNew servicesConsolidation of service desksIncreased automation Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 9. The Academic Environment Circulation statistics continue to decline Economic pressures – need to provide evidence of value Ever greater emphasis on technology Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 10. Patron Perceptions Everyone is a librarian The nearest desk should have what I need – RIGHT NOW Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 11. Perceptions from ColleaguesNo professional skillsneededWork is mechanical innatureNot “real” libraryworkNegative interactionswith patrons Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 12. Our Self-PerceptionGood organizationDetail orientedPeople-oriented/team playersGood management skillsUnderstanding of how entire library systemworksFamiliarity with communityAbility to think on your feet Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 13. Perceptions of Libraries If you could provide one piece of advice to your library, what would it be? Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 14. Suggestions…“E-mail reminders warning when books are due”“They need to get their attitudes checked, and be friendly to people”“Don’t make the shelves so high”“Get rid of the ‘no food and drinks’ policy”“Hire friendly people” Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 15. More suggestions…“Fees are too expensive – I feel that universities as a whole take advantage of students who are already on a limited income”“Be more helpful to students and to the locals who are not college students. Sometimes people are not very helpful to the locals in the area” Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 16. Customer/User ServiceExtend hours of operationReexamine the “rules” and fines/feesassociated with using library materialsOffer the ability to reserve materials onlineMake renewals easierOffer longer lending periods for materialsEliminate the fees for photocopies Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 17. Undergraduate Expectations24/7 access to thebuildingQuiet and group studyspaceClear guidelines on howto use the library Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 18. Grad Student ExpectationsExtended or no duedates for materialsUnlimited use of studyroomsSame-day delivery ofmaterials from storage Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 19. Circulation ChallengesLittle or no respect from ourcolleagues/parent institutionGradually being absorbed into an “accessservices” modelEver decreasing circulation statistics andgate countsVarying expectations depending on usergroup Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 20. “The Heart of the Campus” “A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.” - Shelby Foote“The demonstration of value is not about looking valuable; it’s about being valuable.” - Value of Academic Libraries study Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 21. Foundations of Management Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 22. Foundations of Management Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 23. Foundations of Management Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 24. PoliciesCover materials circulation, building access,patron behaviorSome policies are specific for differentgroups of usersPolicies must be clearly communicated onwebpage, etc.Policies must be applied fairly Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 25. A Constant Balancing Act Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 26. Enforcing Policies FairlyPolicies are in writing and transparentCirculation staff know when they can makeexceptions and when to refer the issueExceptions are applied judiciouslyPolicies are always under review Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 27. The 5 W’s of Effective TrainingWHO: All staff, but esp. student workersWHAT: Basics, the library, who to askWHEN: Early and ongoingWHERE: At orientation, on the deskWHY: We are the first point of contact! Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 28. UK Training OverviewTour of department and libraryMandatory confidentiality and sexualharassment trainingLCCN trainingChecklist of basic skillsWeekly e-mails from student supervisor Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 29. Online TrainingUse BlackBoard course managementsystem Instruction modules FAQs Quizzes E-mails from supervisors Chat board for students Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 30. Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 31. The Importance of StatisticsIt’s ESSENTIAL to document what we do! Tool for planning workflow Documentation of qualitative observations Support for explaining your budget needs Tool for planning Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 32. Count EverythingGate counts, # of items circulatedHead counts of users in buildingNo. and type of questionsNo. of damaged items processedNo. of hours spent on specific tasksNo. of security incidents & when Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 33. Stacks Map Example Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 34. Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 35. Student Hours Example Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 36. Top Priority Tasks - Students must doWorking desk Checking out material Answering directional & basic reference questions General problem-solving Recording gate counts Checking study rooms Erasing pencil marks in books for Preservation Helping patrons with printers, copiers & DART machines Checking book drop Special projects for Deans OfficeCheck-inSortingShelvingSecond Priority TasksShelfreadingSearching for C/R & recallsPulling books for ReservesFilling in at AV DeskThird Priority TasksDusting shelvesShiftingMaintaining bulletin boardsSpecial projects Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 37. Advocacy for CirculationAttend campus-wide meetingsPresent at new faculty orientationsStay on top of the literatureSupport real cross-training Back in Circulation Again 2010
    • 38. Thank you!Jen BartlettUniversity of Kentucky Librariesjen.bartlett@uky.edu http://www.uky.edu/Libraries Back in Circulation Again 2010

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