Middlebury

Reference Duty Procedures & Information

Revision as of 16:10, 8 April 2011 by Carrie Macfarlane (talk | contribs) (added lots of procedures)

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When and where do we provide reference coverage?
  • See go/askus.  In general:
  • On Monday-Friday afternoons, Monday-Wednesday evenings, and Sunday afternoons and evenings, we have scheduled reference shifts.
  • On weekday mornings and on days when there are no scheduled reference shifts (eg, intersession), librarians should respond to reference email messages and calls to the reference line.  
  • Outside of normal working hours (eg, Saturdays), librarians may consider responding to reference email questions.  This is not required, but it is appreciated since many questions are time-sensitive.  Grab a candy from the shared reference office for every weekend question you answer!
  • We ask Circulation Desk staff to refer research questions to us by phone or email at any hour.  Circ staff also are welcome to walk researchers to our offices in person.
  • Phone calls to the reference line (443.5496) can ring on the phones in individual librarian’s offices.  Telephone Services can add the reference line to any person’s phone.  Calls are forwarded to the Circulation Desk if we don’t pick them up.
  • The reference email account (refdesk@middlebury.edu) forwards to librarians who provide reference assistance.  
  • The “Ask a Librarian” form on the library home page sends email to the reference email account.  
  • “Text a Librarian” (text us at 66746 and start your question with the word midd) forwards to the reference email account, and librarians who provide reference assistance each have a Mosio “Text a Librarian” username and password.



Who  provides reference coverage?

  • All librarians are invited to provide reference coverage, in person and virtual.
  • Members of the Reference and Instruction (R&I) Workgroup must take at least one weekly shift and participate in the weekend rotation.  Members of the Reference and Instruction Workgroup who aren’t required to spend a significant proportion of their time on outside work (eg, cataloging) should take more than one weekly shift.



How is the schedule set?

  • Joy and Carrie review statistics approximately one month before the beginning of each term (see Liaisons and Librarians Calendar).  Any proposed changes to the schedule are brought to the R&I Workgroup for discussion.
  • Joy asks librarians for scheduling preferences, then creates a schedule using the “Reference Desk Schedule” Outlook calendar.  The Friday afternoon shift will not be a permanent assignment for any librarian; it will change each semester, or perhaps weekly.



Procedures for in-person shifts

  • If you have a 1 pm or 7 pm shift then begin by saying hello to the staff at the circulation desk and the HelpDesk.  Tell them that they can refer research questions to you, and ask them if there are any outstanding issues (eg, broken printers) that you should be aware of.  
  • 1 pm shifts:  do this for the first 3 weeks of the term only.  
  • 7 pm shifts:  do this for the duration of the term.  
  • (see Liaisons and Librarians Calendar)
  • Afternoons:  Go to your office or the shared reference office, Lib 207.  Hang up the “Librarian on Duty” sign (find it in the shared ref office) and turn on the light.  
  • Evenings:  Go to the shared ref office.  Get the ID card from the desk drawer.  Hang the the “Librarian on Duty” sign, blue side facing out.  Get the “” stand.  Put the “” stand in the atrium near the curved staircase. Open Special Collections - put procedures in gdocs?
  • Consult RefDesk Manager for passwords.
  • Record interactions in Zoho.



Procedures for email

  • The Ask-a-Librarian form on the library home page sends a message to the reference email account (refdesk@middlebury.edu).  The reference email account forwards to librarians who provide reference assistance.  
  • If a librarian is currently on duty when a reference email is received, that librarian should respond.
  • If no librarian is on duty, members of the Reference and Instruction Workgroup who aren’t required to spend a significant proportion of their time on outside work (eg, cataloging) should try to respond first.
  • To respond to a reference email:
  1. Hit “reply” (not “reply all”) to tell other librarians you’ll respond.
  2. Hit “forward,” insert the researcher’s email address, and change the subject line.
  3. Save the response to the “Answered Questions” folder.  
  4. Delete the question from the inbox.
  • Consider saving other research-related email responses you’ve written to the “Answered Questions” so that others may learn from you.
  • The “Tips” folder is a good spot for reference-related advice received via email.
  • Instructions on how to add the reference email to your Outlook account are here.



Procedures for text

  • Advice on how to text LIS is at go/askus.  
  • When a text is received, a message will be sent to the reference email, and that email gets  forwarded to librarians who provide reference assistance.
  • If a librarian is currently on duty when a text is received, that librarian should respond.
  • If no librarian is on duty, members of the Reference and Instruction Workgroup who aren’t required to spend a significant proportion of their time on outside work (eg, cataloging) should try to respond first.
  • To respond to a text:
  1. Hit “reply” (not “reply all”) to the email -- to tell other librarians you’ll respond.
  2. Go to the Mosio Dashboard and log in.  URL and logins are in RefDesk Manager.
  3. Respond or alert others in LIS to respond (HelpDesk and Circ have their own logins).

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Procedures when sick & scheduled for evening or weekend reference
  • If you have an evening or weekend shift and are sick: try to find a sub yourself.
  • If you are not able to find a sub: alert circulation (library_circulation@middlebury.edu, xt. 5494) and Andy, so that questions can be directed to the Reference email or text message service.
  • For Special Collections: Andy is comfortable with the student manning the reception desk if someone is sick.
  • If you are not well enough to follow any of the above steps: contact Carrie or Terry, and ask them to find a sub.
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