Bridging the Gap: Effective Collaboration Between Circulation and Reference


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  • For our purposes, omitting AV – their work is pretty specializedYoung Library is on a 24/5 scheduleDuring the 2009-2010 school year:Gate count = 1,024,141Questions asked at Circ Desk= 17,370Questions asked at Ref Desk = 13,597Questions asked at PNM Desk = 5,682Questions asked at Hub Desk = 4,099 Total questions = 40,748Building is a problem
  • The urge to merge One trend in public services is the combining of reference and circulation into one public services unit however, less on combining reference and circulation into one service point, especially at a large academic research libraryExamples of merged circ/ref areas Duke University Med Center (Durham, NC) - 2005Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) – January 2008Georgia Institute of Technology Library (Atlanta) – Spring 2012We are not currently planning on doing thisDiscuss advantages and disadvantages
  • Space issuesSpace & Storage Committee issuesfacilitate and coordinate library space/storage issues and projectsTo advise the libraries regarding the retrieval and delivery of stored materialsTo communicate and provide information concerning space and storageTo participate in discussions regarding use of library space when such discussions will impact materials shelving and storage.Projects involving both Reference & Circulation:Duplicates Review process which involves the identification, review, and retention or removal of duplicate monographs from the circulating collection. Process requires action on the part of CTS subject selectors as well as Circulation and Special Projects staff. As of the end of May, 736 duplicate items were withdrawn from the collection. Circulation staff worked on compacting and shifting 3rd floor periodicals in order to create space that could ultimately accommodate expansion of the monographs collection down to the 3rd floor.Special Projects transferred 615 titles to KUSI from the Z call number range in Reference; 8,786 volumes were transferred in 578 boxes. Two volumes were transferred to Young stacks and 58 volumes were withdrawn. From the Gale list, 38 titles (280 volumes) were transferred from Young Reference to KUSI in 31 boxes, and from the Oxford list, 78 titles (106 volumes) were transferred from Young Reference in 10 boxes.Lost and missing items task forceCharge – In response to various library survey comments and requests from collection managers, the Task force will develop a set of recommendations to redesign the existing missing and lost item policy and procedures. The recommendations will address at a minimum the following points:Define the current issues associated with missing/lost item records in Voyager; estimate the number of records to be up-datedDraft a set of recommendations for rectifying the current issues as definedDraft a set of recommendations addressing the on-going processing of missing/lost items Develop a procedural document for the processing of new missing/lost book items; procedures should include record review timeline, when to suppress Voyager records and steps in the collection management decision process
  • Chat Service (LibraryH3lp)allows multiple librarians to receive chats from its own chat widege or a Meebo Me widgets as well as IMs from patrons on other IM networks such as AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQroutes messages to multiple librarians, only the first one to respond "wins" the chat and becomes connected with the patron.Mobile friendlyLibrarians can transfer any chats, IMs, or text messages to each other as neededbackend for service creation, management, and centralized transcript storage, download, and deletionLibAnswersreference (ask-a-librarian) platform with a built-in knowledge baseUsers search the knowledge base of answered questions; has auto-suggestusers can submit their own questions, so the knowledge base grows as new questions are answeredChat, Twitter and widget integrationHas SMS moduleKeeps statistics
  • Joint meetings – 1st one was on Sept. 7Circulation and reference reportsPublic PC Policy The general feel of the group was that there is no need for a regularly scheduled public services meeting with the two departments. At most, we could meet a couple of times per semester or per year. Public service problems are fairly immediate and need to be addressed right away. However, it would be useful to reinstitute reference training, for example: Covering the basics:Basic reference interview skillsSession from new G.A. trainingCirculation policy reviewAnything in terms of patron interactions Jen B. will put together a “Fourth Friday” session for the two departments – the first was this month – chat service!
  • Communication: Departmental email—each department is good at forwarding misdirected patron questions/requests to appropriate department Head of Circ is on reference email and Head of Reference is on circ email Reference has blog they are going to share with Circ Circ has wiki they are going to share with Reference New Chat???? Joint meetingsCamaraderie: Opportunities to work together and share ideasPublic Service Issues: share information on building issues, problem patrons, events that might effect the whole library and/or service areasBetter Service: The more we work together, the more we learn about each department, the more we are able to serve our patrons and avoid bouncing them from desk to desk
  • Public Services is not really a big part of the strategic plan Although the collegiality is in general meant on a larger scale—outside the library—why not start within?Continuing that thought, if we are creating an environment for the larger campus/community, should it not begin at home?Creativity—in these tight budgetary times, we all have to be creative and flexible in just about everything we do. By working together, we increase the quality of our service without touching the budgetService—Again, by working together, learning about each other and sharing ideas, we increase our service skills and will be able to hopefully not only meet our users’ expectations, but exceed them
  • Basics stated. That’s what we are here to do.Goals—with budgetary restraints, staffing shortages, and constant technology changes, we all have to constantly review and analyze our hours and services.
  • Time—everyone has so much to do. This is just something else we have to fit into our busy schedules.Cross-training: Buy in from faculty/staff Time to do it Deciding what are the appropriate levels of training for everyone Keeping up the new skillsMaintaining engagement: How do we keep this going? Keep it relevant. So many good programs fall to the wayside after the initial fanfare. It would seem it would be more of a tendency with 2 groups. Must keep meetings focused and productive.
  • Cross training faculty and staff :Greater appreciation/understanding of work done at both desksReduce bouncing patrons from one desk to anotherGeneration of new ideas regarding workflow and policiesImprove Student Assistant Training:Standardize knowledge baseSet common high-quality service standardBuild technical skillsShare students when possible—this not only helps in time of budgetary restraints, it also gives GAs and other library science students a wider view of public serviceStudent Advisory Group would be created from volunteers and would give feedback and all us to test new products and services
  • Bridging the Gap: Effective Collaboration Between Circulation and Reference

    1. 1. Bridging the Gap: EffectiveCollaboration Between Circulation and Reference Jennifer Bartlett & Terri Brown, University of Kentucky Libraries KLA/KSMA Joint Conference September 29, 2011
    2. 2. Issues One big building, several service points  Hub (Information Commons) – basement  AV Desk – basement  Circulation – 1st floor  Reference Desk – 2nd floor  Periodicals Desk – 2nd Floor
    3. 3. The Urge to Merge Advantages  More economical use of staff  Less confusion for patrons Disadvantages  Too many services at one desk  Difficulty of training staff on widely different tasks  Space problems
    4. 4. What We’re Doing Space and storage Lost and missing items Integrated chat service Implementation of LibAnswers system Joint meetings between the two departments Fourth Fridays
    5. 5. Lost in Space! Space and Storage Committee  Facilitate and coordinate library space & storage issues  Advise Libraries about retrieval and delivery of stored mat’ls  Communicate and provide info concerning space & storage Lost and missing items  Define the current problems in the catalog  Recommendations for clearing the backlog  Recommendations for addressing the ongoing problem
    6. 6. On the Front Lines… Integrated chat service Implementation of LibAnswers system
    7. 7. Keeping in Touch Joint meetings between the two departments Fourth Fridays
    8. 8. What outcomes do we hope to see? More effective communication Increased camaraderie Working together to address public service issues Learning and/or tweaking skills through 4th Friday sessions And our #1 goal always—the ability to provide better service
    9. 9. Tying in to the Strategic PlanVALUES Collegiality  We value cooperation and collaboration  We commit to creating an environment that encourages collegiality Creativity  We value innovative ideas and flexible solution Service  We commit to quality services that meet or exceed our users’ expectations
    10. 10. Strategic Plan…..ATTENDING TO THE BASICS Provide access to materials and information Offer the highest quality to usersGOALSGoal 3 Opportunities for Growth and Enhancement,Objective 3.3.3 Continue reviewing, analyzing, and implementing improvements to library services, hours, and security to provide creative, flexible, and safe learning environments
    11. 11. Challenges TIME! Cross training—challenges of it’s own Maintaining engagement
    12. 12. Other Ideas/Possibilities Basic cross-training of faculty/staff  Greater appreciation/understanding of work done at both desks  Reduction of bouncing students from one desk to the other  Ability to generate new ideas regarding workflow and policies from those being cross-trained Improve student assistant training in both groups  Standardize knowledge base  Set common high-quality service standard  Build technical skills  Cross –train and share students when possible—this not only helps in times of budgetary restraints, it also gives GAs and other library science students a wider view of public service  Invite GAs and student supervisors to 4th Friday
    13. 13. Other….. Create Student Advisory Group  Consist of volunteers from across campus  Meet a couple of times a semester for feedback and perhaps to try out new services Your Ideas?
    14. 14. Question for Discussion Does your library have a combined reference and circulation desk? What are some advantages and disadvantages?
    15. 15. A B and B ProductionJennifer Bartlett, Head of Reference Services Terri Brown, Head of Circulation William T. Young Library University of Kentucky