Circulation & Reference
In addition to my one-on-one reference training with the subject librarians, I was trained to work at the integrated circulation and reference desk helping patrons sign out or return library materials and look up items using the library catalogue. Part of my duty also included handling a walkie-talkie on an “on-call”, point-of-use basis for reference assistance. With the launch of an end-to-end online reference platform, which includes email, chat and texting channels as well as full reference statistics, in conjunction with the revamp of the library’s website, I was involved with the ongoing conversations on improving the workflow and service model of referral in different scenarios. Out of a joint brainstorming session, a communication gap between the circulation staff and reference librarians was recognized as one of the bottlenecks in the existing system due to different work cultures and knowledge backgrounds. While more robust and streamlined referral procedures would certainly help, I lightheartedly suggested more barbecues! 🙂 All joking aside, knowing to whom to talk or ask a question might be the key for a smoother referral so more interdepartmental minglings could indeed facilitate the process in my opinion. I also wondered how practical and beneficial it would be to bring the students and researchers into the conversations by ways of focus group interviews to explore the issues from the users’ perspectives.
With respect to reference analytics, I was part of a working group tasked to identify query keywords for the knowledgebase frequently asked questions, and I made a suggestion for exporting the queries already stored in the system to generate word clouds for big-picture, compare-and-contrast assessment with the underlying information architecture.