Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Librarian is "In"

Have you ever wondered where the Reference Desk is located in the HIU Library? Is it the public service desk on the first floor? Maybe it is the public service desk on the second floor. Hmmmm ...

The answer is: None of the above. We do not have an official Reference Desk in our Library.

What we DO have are two public service desks where questions are screened by Student Library Assistants who have had special training to provide specific library services and to refer research questions to a Librarian.
  • Circulation activities and questions happen at the desk on the first floor (i.e. book check out, Reserve book borrowing, etc.).
  • Help using the Information Commons (IC) computers, printing, and HIU IDs are handled at the desk on the second floor.
  • Both desks refer students who need research help to the Librarian on duty.

So ... where are the Librarians?

Librarians provide research help from their offices. You might well ask: How can students find the Librarians and how can they determine which one is on duty? Good question!

The answer is: Look for the sign. We now place a "Librarian is In" sign outside the office door of the Librarian on duty. It looks like this:

The sign roves within the Library depending on where the on duty Librarian happens to be working. That might be in an office on the second floor of the Library, or it might be at the Circulation Desk on the first floor. We could even take it outside of the Library and set up shop in the Cafe or a dorm lobby.

So what happens when a Librarian is not on duty? When Librarians are not available, we post the "Librarian is Out" sign. It looks like this:

This sign refers students to submit questions to our LibAnswers service. LibAnswers is available 24/7. Sometimes a question can be answered immediately based on those we have already answered. For instance, if you type "What are the library hours?" into our LibAnswers system you will be presented with a list of possible answers. One of those answers will open the Library calendar with our hours of operation. Questions that do not have a prior answer will be submitted to the system and one of the three HIU Librarians will respond within 24 hours. The answer is directly emailed to the person submitting the question and questions are usually answered within a few hours, if not immediately, since one of us is monitoring incoming questions between 8am and 10pm almost every day of the year.

So you see, the Librarian is In even when we are Out!


Terri Bogan is Reference & Instruction Librarian at Hope International University. She is passionate about helping students navigate the ever expanding world of information. She specializes in the area of information literacy and instructional design.

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