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Traditional vs. Nontraditional
Service Points in Libraries
by by Martha Fuerst
Information and Society
(LIBR 200)
San Jose...
“[…]libraries which are as the shrines where all
the relics of the ancient saints full of true
virtue and that without del...
“The change that has come over the library in
the last half century may be described, briefly
but comprehensively, by sayi...
What is the best way to serve patrons?
Photo: Prelinger Archives, Your Life’s Work, The Library of Congress
“Corlett explains that Apple has established ‘a
new expectation of intelligent service that used
to be associated with the...
“Perhaps in our desire to appear professional
and competent, we are instead rubbing in
[patron’s] ignorance” (Morgan 1980)...
“To enhance use of the service desk, the library
should display the service when users are ready
to perceive the service, ...
“’Roving reference’ is […] a service were staff,
for some or all of the time, leave a fixed
service point to find clients ...
Roving Reference Technology
• Shelf-end OPACs
• Tablet PCs
• iPod Touch
• Vocera badges
• Carts/Mobile Desks
• Pocket PCs
...
• Patrons only decline help roughly 40% of the
time (Pitney and Slote 2007, Reed 2007).
• Approaching patrons in the stack...
“[…] libraries have consistently innovated with
services that allow their customers to take on
tasks, streamlining their l...
“Self-service options abound, including self-
check machines, drive-through windows,
vending machines with books and DVDs,...
• Convenience
• Privacy
• Faster turn-around
• 24/7 Potential
• Better workflow
• Ergonomic concerns
• More staff to direc...
Library Journal Self-Service Survey
• Over half of the 834 libraries that responded
to the survey offered some type of sel...
According to psychological research, “removing
traditional full-service offerings and forcing customers
to use a [technolo...
• Older patrons have a greater need for one-on-
one human interaction.
• Younger patrons who have less technology
anxiety ...
“Human service is a fundamental concept
in librarianship” (Mendelsohn 1994).
Photo: Express Lane (via Skokie Public Librar...
References
• Bacon, F. (1852). The Two Books of Francis Bacon: of the proficience and advancement of learning, divine and
...
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Traditional vs. Nontraditional Service Points in Libraries

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For LIBR 200 at San Jose State Univeristy, Prof. Jean Bedord.

Published in: Education
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Traditional vs. Nontraditional Service Points in Libraries

  1. 1. Traditional vs. Nontraditional Service Points in Libraries by by Martha Fuerst Information and Society (LIBR 200) San Jose State University, Fall 2010 Photo: Newcastle Library, Newcastle Library Ground Floor (via Flickr’s ricaird)
  2. 2. “[…]libraries which are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints full of true virtue and that without delusion or imposture are preserved and reposed […]” (Bacon 1852). Photo: New York Public Library (via Flickr’s Austin_YeahBaby)
  3. 3. “The change that has come over the library in the last half century may be described, briefly but comprehensively, by saying that it has become predominently a social institution; that is, that its primary concern is now with the service that it may render to society—to the people” (Bostwick 1920). Photo: Seattle Public Library (via Flickr’s deVos)
  4. 4. What is the best way to serve patrons? Photo: Prelinger Archives, Your Life’s Work, The Library of Congress
  5. 5. “Corlett explains that Apple has established ‘a new expectation of intelligent service that used to be associated with the trusted pharmacist. Now, it’s your trusted Genius’” (Mero 2007). Why not your trusted librarian? Photo: Apple Store Boylston Street (via Flickr’s justinrussel)
  6. 6. “Perhaps in our desire to appear professional and competent, we are instead rubbing in [patron’s] ignorance” (Morgan 1980). Photo: Nevins Memorial Historic Collection, Nevins Library First Librarians
  7. 7. “To enhance use of the service desk, the library should display the service when users are ready to perceive the service, which is the point in time and space when the service becomes relevant to their task” (Larson & Robinson 1984). Photo: Palvelualue jälleen kevytrakenteinen (Staff area at Silkenborg Library, Denmark) via Flickr’s xmacex
  8. 8. “’Roving reference’ is […] a service were staff, for some or all of the time, leave a fixed service point to find clients within the library who are seeking assistance rather than waiting for them to approach the reference or information desk” (Forsyth 2009). Photo: Stacks with shelf-end computers and a reference librarian roving, Darien Library (via Flickr’s ceciliaflyer)
  9. 9. Roving Reference Technology • Shelf-end OPACs • Tablet PCs • iPod Touch • Vocera badges • Carts/Mobile Desks • Pocket PCs Photo: Roving with Ees, Darien Library (via Flickr’s jblyberg)
  10. 10. • Patrons only decline help roughly 40% of the time (Pitney and Slote 2007, Reed 2007). • Approaching patrons in the stacks may reach them at the beginning of the search process, as opposed to doing a “known item” search at the desk (Kramer 1996). Photo: Mobile Service Point in action, Rapid City Public Library
  11. 11. “[…] libraries have consistently innovated with services that allow their customers to take on tasks, streamlining their library experience” (Dempsey 2010). Photo: Perkins Library Circulation Desk, 1969 (via Flickr’s Duke Yearlook)
  12. 12. “Self-service options abound, including self- check machines, drive-through windows, vending machines with books and DVDs, as well as a host of Internet-driven tools” (Dempsey 2010). Photo: Self-Service Kiosks at Pembroke Library, Dublin City Public Libraries
  13. 13. • Convenience • Privacy • Faster turn-around • 24/7 Potential • Better workflow • Ergonomic concerns • More staff to direct patrons to services Photo: Newcastle Library, Newcastle Library Returns (via Flickr’s ricaird)
  14. 14. Library Journal Self-Service Survey • Over half of the 834 libraries that responded to the survey offered some type of self-service option. • Libraries with populations around 50,000 almost all had self-service options. • (Dempsey 2010). Photo Credit: Holladay Library – Salt Lake County Library Services (via All Utah Libraries on Flickr)
  15. 15. According to psychological research, “removing traditional full-service offerings and forcing customers to use a [technology-based self-service] is likely to result in more negative evaluations of the latter” due to the concept of freedom of choice (Reinders et al 2008). Photo Credit: Circulation at SFU (via Flickr’s sherrivokey)
  16. 16. • Older patrons have a greater need for one-on- one human interaction. • Younger patrons who have less technology anxiety and more technological adaptability are among those more likely to utilize technology-based self-service options. • Income level of patrons also effects how they will approach self-service options as it has a bearing on technology anxiety (Lee et al 2010). Photo: Self check-out at the Bellingham Public Library (via Library Development, Washington State Library on Flickr)
  17. 17. “Human service is a fundamental concept in librarianship” (Mendelsohn 1994). Photo: Express Lane (via Skokie Public Library on Flickr)
  18. 18. References • Bacon, F. (1852). The Two Books of Francis Bacon: of the proficience and advancement of learning, divine and human. London: John W. Parker and Son. • Bostwick, A.E. (1920). A librarian’s open shelf: essays on various subjects. New York: H.W. Wilson Company. • Dempsey, B. (2010). Do-it-yourself libraries. Library Journal, 135(12), 24-28. • Forsyth, E. (2009). Fancy walkie talkies, Star Trek communicators or roving reference? Australian Library Journal, 58(1), 73-84. • Hamby, R., & Stubbs, J. (2010). Ireference: a case study. Library Journal, 135(5), 125. • Hines, S.S. (2007). Outpost reference: meeting patrons on their own ground. PNLA Quarterly, 72(1), 12-13. • Holt, G.E., Larsen, J.I., van Vilmmeren, T. (2002). Customer self service in the hybrid library. Retrieved from Public Libraries Internatonal website: http://www.public- libraries.net/html/x_media/pdf/selfservice_engl_mit_fotos.pdf • Kramer, E.H. (1996). Why roving reference: a case study in small academic library. Reference Services Review, 24(2), 67-80. • Larason, L. & Robinson, J.S. (1984). The reference desk: service point or barrier? RQ, 23(3), 332-349. • Lee, H. , Cho, H. , Xu, W. , & Fairhurst, A. (2010). The influence of consumer traits and demographics on intention to use retail self-service checkouts. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 28(1), 46-58. doi: 10.1108/02634501011014606 • Mero, J. (2007). Observing geniuses in their native habitat. Fortune, 155(5), 112. • Mendelsohn, J. (1994). Human help at opac terminals is user friendly: A preliminary study. RQ, 34(2), 173-190. • Morgan, L. (1980). Patron preference in service points. RQ, 19(4), 373-375. • Pitney, B. & Slote, N. (2007). Going mobile: the KCLS roving reference model. Public Libraries 46(1), 54-68. • Reed, V. (2007). Is the reference desk no longer the best point of reference? The Reference Librarian, 48(2), 77- 82. • Reinders, M.J., Dabholkar, P.A., & Framback, R.T. (2008). Consequences of forcing consumers to use technology-based-self-service. Jounral of Service Research, 11(2) 107-123. doi: 10.117/1094670508324297 All photos were used with permission or under Creative Commons Licenses.

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