IntroductionMy name is Samson Leung. I am the Reference and Information Services Librarian of City of Canada Bay Library Services. First of all, I would like to thank Ellen and the Reference Working Group for giving me this opportunity to share our experience with you today. To tell you the truth, I am not a tech-savvy guy. Before we decided to use mobile devices as the tools for Roving Reference, I had never used any of these gadgets. Once our manager, Philip Edney approved the plan to use mobile devices for Roving Reference, I immediately picked up a couple of books and downloaded the user manuals to study the functions of these devices. Today, I am going to share with you our experiences in Roving Reference using iPads.I have always believed that perfection isn’t needed before we go ahead and implement a good idea. All we have to do is to constantly monitor the outcome and make necessary changes or adjustments. 4 areas:Why Roving ReferenceBrief HistoryApps / ShortcutsChallenges
Why Roving ReferenceOur libraries, both Five Dock and Concord Library, do not have a physical Reference Desk. All the reference enquiries are made at the front desk. Clients need to come to us for information. We have found that when we are shelving or walking in the library, there is much higher chance that we will be asked on how or where to search for information. We needed a proactive approach to assist our clients in searching for information. Furthermore, I was inspired by the idea of Roving Reference during previous reference seminars and meetings. In our opinion, to provide proper Roving Reference Services, we need mobile reference tools to answer enquires. With the rising popularity of mobile devices such as tablets and laptops, we decided to make use of the devices for our Roving Reference tools.
Brief historyCity of Canada Bay Library Services decided to go ahead with Roving Reference in November, 2011. We first met to discuss with our council's IT manager to get his professional and technical advice on the mobile devices. We finally decided to try Samsung Galaxy tablet and Apple iPad because of their mobility, light weight and good screen size. Our IT Dept lent us one Samsung and one iPad for trial. The library staff were encouraged to play around with the tablets. We arranged small group and individual training sessions to learn about the basic operations and functions of the both tablets. Before the Roving Reference, we had provided trainings to our staff in customer service. After a two month trial period, we concluded to choose iPad as our device for Roving Reference after a vote from the staff. Our IT Department was very supportive through out the whole process. They offered us 6 iPads and full technical support. 4 of them are for Reference, one is for Children Services and one for Youth Services. In order to standardize the use of the iPads, we developed daily operations and security procedures for the use and maintenance of iPads. Our new Information Technology Coordinator has been able to assist with technology issues with the iPads.
Apps / ShortcutsThe next step was to identify the applications and short cuts that were to be downloaded to the devices. We had asked our staff to recommend apps and resources that were relevant to the Roving Reference. We received suggestions from them, particularly in the area of Readers’ Advisory. We aimed to have the iPads having similar set up as our front desk's computers. Furthermore, we decided to start with the free applications due to licensing issues of iTunes account and the apps agreement. So in our iPads, we have the following applications and short cuts:Catalogues:City of Canada Bay Library Catalogue (OPAC)National Library appState Library of NSW appOverdrive Media Console Wheeler / Blue fire Reader appGeneral Reference:Canada Bay Council webpageTransport InfoGoogle SearchGoogle MapWikipediaFind Legal AnswersDrug Info @your libraryQrafter (QR code reader)Reader Advisory:Good ReadsGood Reading OnlineFantastic FictionWhich BookTo a certain extent, the iPads work like a mini version of the computers at the front desk.
ChallengesAlthough we strongly believe that iPads can improve our Roving Reference Service, we are facing certain challenges. Some of them are:Less reference enquiries from the clients due to the easy access of internetSecurity concerns and handling procedures of the iPads – Staff are required to follow strict security protocols due to the value of the iPads. When the iPads are not in use, they will need to be locked in drawers. This may deter the use of the devices. Willingness of library staff to adapt new technologies, software and work routines – some staff choose to rely on their own knowledge and memory to answer the enquiry. Size of the library – Staff can easily walk back to the front desk to look for information rather to use the iPads.
ConclusionTo conclude, despite of certain challenges that we are facing, the iPad is still a powerful mobile reference device and will certainly improve the service of Roving Reference.
Roving reference using iPads by Samson Leung
City of Canada Bay Library ServicesRoving Reference using iPads
Roving Reference using iPadsWhy Roving ReferenceBrief HistoryApps and InterfacesChallenges
Roving Reference using iPadsWhy Roving Reference No Reference Desk Staff are always asked enquiries when walking orshelving in the collection areas Inspired by the idea during previous referencemeetings and seminars Need mobile devices for answering enquiries
Roving Reference using iPadsBrief HistoryDecided in November 2011 to trial RovingReferenceMet with IT for advise on mobile devicesTrial of Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPadIndividual and small group trainings in how touse the mobile devices
Roving Reference using iPadsBrief History (continued)iPad selected after 2 months’ trialReceived 6 iPads from our IT Department touseDrafted procedure and policySelection of apps and short cuts
Roving Reference using iPadsChallenges:o Less reference enquiries from clientso Security concerns and handling procedureso Willingness of staff to adapt to new technologiesand work routineso Size of library