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Reference Manual: Information Desk

Opening and Closing Responsibilities

The Reference staff member or student assistant on the first shift of duty is responsible for preparing the reference area for service:

  • remove Reference Desk Closed sign from desk
  • retrieve computer keyboards and mice from storage cabinet and place with corresponding desk computers
  • turn on reference desk printer, refill as needed
  • activate telephone by "unforwarding" (pressing the Forward button while the phone is on the hook) and review phone messages (extension 4999, password 9387)
  • unlock and open library classroom (room 123)
  • Mondays first shift - update, print and cut Argo-Air guest password slips, place on reference desk

The Reference staff member or student assistant on the last shift of duty is responsible for closing the area for service:

  • place Reference Desk Closed sign on desk
  • place computer keyboards and mice in storage cabinet 
  • refill reference printer with paper in cabinet and turn it off
  • forward telephone to library hours message (Circulation Desk 2414)
  • close and lock library classroom (room 123)
  • turn off reference department printer and lock doors to Reference suite

Ask-A-Librarian

One of the desk responsibilities is to monitor the Ask-A-Librarian virtual reference service - chat, text, and email.  

  • log in to LibAnswers (through LibApps)
  • sign in to LibChat
  • answer (or refer) chat, SMS, and email questions 
  • leave social media-related messages (i.e. Twitter) for Kellie to address

NOTE: Be sure to adjust the volume of the computer's speakers so you are alerted to chat/text messages.

Please see additional tab under "Services" for more detailed information regarding our Ask-a-Librarian chat/email/text service. 

Staffing and Hours

Staffing:

The Reference Department is staffed by reference library faculty, information specialists, computer technology specialists, and library faculty from various departments in the main library (for convenience, those staffing the Reference Desk will be referred to as Reference Assistants throughout this document). Usually two reference assistants staff the desk each shift.

Library faculty and information specialists are teamed, as often as possible, with computer technology assistants in order to provide patrons with research and technological assistance.

On evenings and weekends, student assistants help staff the desk. They are paired with the evening and weekend librarians but may be the only reference staff available for the last hour or two of service.

Scheduling:

Coordinator - The Reference Information Specialist with assistance from the Reference Department head.

The reference schedule is maintained on Gmail/Calendar (available for viewing from staff computers) and a print copy is available at the Reference Desk. Shifts are:

  • Monday through Thursday
    • 8 AM to 10 AM
    • 10 AM to 12 PM
    • 12 PM to 2 PM
    • 2 PM to 4 PM
    • 4 PM to 9 PM
  • Friday
    •  8 AM to 10 AM
    • 10 AM to 12 PM
    • 12 PM to 2 PM
    • 2 PM to 4 PM
  • Saturday
    • 9 AM to 6 PM (closed in the summer)
  • Sunday
    • 1 PM to 9 PM

The Reference Information Specialist develops and maintains the schedule for the Reference Desk. Adjustments are made as needed. The online calendar is a record of reference activities, observations, etc.