Thursday, November 11, 2010

Access Services 2010: Session I - Ending the Turf War

"Ending the Turf War: Circulation, Reference, and Instruction on One Team" by Ken Johnson and Susan Jennings from Appalachian State

Circ ref and instruction on one team to address interteam issues. Approach is figure out way. To say yes as much as possible. Reducing service differences between teams helped them do that. Lot of folks have ventured down this path. How many have actively combined circ and reference in the library? How many people think it's intriguing, how many people think it's awful? Libraries differ organizationally and culturally. We think we were successful at it. Ken johnson is coordinAtor pf learning and research services team. Susan Jennings is lead librarian for desk services, teaks desk services for user centered services. True commons. Responsible for material delivery and delivery to faculty offices.

Appalchiannstate in NW corner of NC. Has sixteen thousand five hundred students, part of unc system, new library in june 2005, gate count is over one point two million, forty one faculty and forty-nine staff members.( Slideshare? I'm getting queasy with the swooping slide moves.) traditional organization, access, ref & instruction, independent service standards. Team based, so as coordinator he is sort of head but the librarians report directly to university librarian, not a lot of authority and folks are autonomous. Staff have more direct reporting line. Access were rule enforcers and logistically moving m aerials, reference and instruction were the yesmen.

Service culture had been dated and rigid policies, enforcement mentality, no food and drink. Eye to protecting collection from pesky users who might damage. Strict fines model, inflexible library hours. Policies hadn't been reviewed in two decades. No appeal, strict interpretation of fines. Only enforcers in library of food and drink, nobody else seemed to care. Resisted pleas to increase hours from student government and felt they couldn't accommodate requests to increase from 114 hours per week. Eleven staff and one library faculty coordinator. Reference team, nine librarian faculty, web librarian, two staff and two. Part timem adjunct libs.

Impact factors creating opportunity for change. First, new building opening in 2005, termed library and information commons, collaborative space, computers, campus units that hep with student learning, faculty development for online courses. Tremendously popular building. New strategic plan, library admin felt that once were settled in new building needed to look at org structure. And student body had been pushing for extended hours.

New strategic plan had new mission statement to change culture, and focused on improved and elevated cuts service expectations, extending hours andaccomodating weds, expanding services, better use of space. Old vs new mission statement. Old is not memorable, 42 words long. New is mission of app state is to assist those who pursue knowledge. They can emphasize that with all incoming library workers, that is what The work is about. Brandable, water bottles, tshirts flash drives, grocery bags.

Reorganization. Does org still meet needs of patrons moving forward? Guiding principles were to improve communication between teams, better decision making, innovation, service orientation. Get people who need to be talking together every day on same team or department. 2008. Formed Learning and Research Services team. Not happy with name, but thats it. With structure, original access was one librarian eleven staff. Coordinator reassigned, doc delve staff split between acquisitions and collection management. Interlibrary loan borrowing went to acquisitions, lending went with collection management, stacks manta went with collection management. Reserves staff moved to tech services team including web efforts. Remainder was circ desk manager, microform and periodicals, and night supers went to new team. Reference and instruction coordinator promoted to assoc uni librarian. Librarian promoted to head, web librarian to tech team, two sup staff team went to tech but do front line tech support. Retained two part time librarians and other libs. Now eleven librarians and seven staff, new org chart makes more sense. Eighteen people, largest team in library. Coordinator, directly supers three night supers, librarians titles changed. Six info lit liBrarians. Lead desk services librarian with three desk supers under that position as well as microform staff member. E learning librarian does anything related to reusable learning objects, training materials for student assistants, etc.

Susan: combined team focus. Had to come together philosophically. Focus on more user centered environment, former decisions made based on what was good for the librarians and staff. Wanted to raise the bar in customer service, did not want to say no all the time. Wanted to work together in team environment providing middle ground for public services. Wanted to develop new services but tweak existing because hadn't been evaluated in long time. Before merge, reference libs thought access only checked out books. Now they know it's a lot more. Goal to develop more blended service. Hope was for no pointing between desks. The physical difference between circa and reference in new library is twenty feet. Didn't wan tot pass them off but address point of need. Major priorities were to evaluate and revamp policies. Extending loan periods, relax loans, i plement grace periods.d train librarians, staff and Students on three service points. Approached by taking core believers, four members were cross trained in first wave at circulation desk. Two more waves. Now seventeen of eighteen are completely crpstrained. Struggled with appropriate level of knowledge for running each desk. What were basic needs to effectively work that desk. Then needed to change groupthink of enforcement. Idea of brusque enforcement, wanted to get away from it for better library pr. Wanted to try new things, develop new services. Like study room reservations automated. In process of transforming larger group study rooms into collaborative group spaces, putting in whiteboards, TVs. Began trying to communicate in new ways. News blog on website, kids walking around with iPhones, facebook, tweeting. Needed to go where students were. Wanted to eliminate boundaries. Access services decisions affected all, but rarely got external input from other teams in library. Wanted to take cues from outside the library successes. Ucrops grocery store in Richmond with great customer service, family owned. Chick fill a great customer service. We forget the niceties of those courtesies.

Did we succeed? In many ways yes. Engaged librarians in day to day operations of library. Expectation of number of hours per week of public service desk work. Wanted to help patrons at point of need. Reference librarian mentors students and staff and provides service. Training was a two way street, staff at reference desk, etc. Cross trained and shared forty student assistants of one hundred. Have student training summit, four hours of training, great thing waS bringing folks from all over the library to train students. Centralized scheduling- prior was paper for access, reference was electronic. All electronic, nominal fee per year for their system with trade board, etc. (get what software this is). Systematic way of collecting stats. Access hadn't collected anything but the Typical Week. E dedd up consolidating and tech folk created electronic tick system on every system that dumps into back end. Newly created thirteen member student advisory group. Volunteers from student body who wanted to improve library, solicits feedback from everyday users, use them as guinea pigs.

Examples of service improvements. Making policies humane, esp those not looked at in twenty years. Not just for patrons but for staff, sometimes you feel brutalized in enforcing. Example is laptop policy. Person is one minute late. Auto ten dollar charge, PR nightmare. Fifteen minute grace period. Has made life so much easier, especially if desk is busy and cant get to it right away. Video replacement policy was that if you lost it you got charged five hundred twenty dollars because ed sets cant be bought of a piece but in whole set. Charge for lost book was forty dollars with twenty processing. Now also allow replacements. Wanted more connection with tech services, so connected services with tech support via walks and instant messaging. Especially at night is helpful. Improved chat service, just a widget with choices for reference, tech and distance learning so you can choose who you talk to, no login required. Just added text to library feature, publicizing with magnets. Eliminated no food policy. Transformed to 24/5 facility, long process because when moved into new building, was expectation access services would be third shift, did not sit well with staff. Working with library admin, they outsourced the overnight. They didn't want services, just the space. Security monitored atrium. Three person security from two am to seven am, no third shift library. Got the money because students put up one hundred k of student fees to fund it so they could get the space. They close building at midnight to community members, guards check for ids at midnight and if you don't have it you must leave. Makes students feel safer.

Key factors were administrative support, a core of believers, coordinator that understands the big picture. Lead librarian that understands and can figure out mechanics and details, motivated staffer to take on student training, developing trust between disparate teams, open communication. Coaching approach.

Challenges. Culture shock of guardians vs free access. Appropriate roles for librarian faculty members. They are faculty librarians with ex
Ectations of scholarship, service and teaching. How do you balance those competing demands? Is time beat suited working the desk?
Outside perceptions, from other teams within the library. "lot of money being paid to check out books to people." occasionally service issues, but fewer issues. Keeping eighteen members engaged and up to date. Determining appropriate training levels, a d. Staying ahead of the curve, some policies not looked at for a long time.

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