Reference Staffing at Funk - Spring 2012
Graduate Assistants are scheduled from 2pm-10pm Monday – Friday, 10am-10pm Saturday and Sunday. This is our primary reference force for those hours. There may be librarian back-up during the day until 5pm, but this is not currently scheduled nor do we have the personnel to do this backup staffing.
Graduate Assistants are our only reference staff on Saturday and Sunday. There is no backup from staff or librarians for most of the weekend, except for 7-10pm on Sundays when a regular staff member is present. They are in charge of much of the building, in addition to the library part, during those periods. They also supervise/manage undergraduate student workers during these periods.
Funk is budgeted for only 1FTE graduate assistant, which is seemingly a much lower level of support than other hubs (and non-hub departmental libraries in some cases). We cannot actually afford the level of support that we use for reference assistance with 1FTE of graduate assistant, so we have to borrow from our student wages to pay for hourly graduate help. We also have received 0.25FTE from GSLIS for highly recruited students who receive an assistantship.
Librarians are scheduled to be “on call” from approximately 10am-2pm one day per week. Of the 4 librarians currently in Funk, we each take one day to be on call. We tried to institute a scenario with the Biology Librarian serving the 5th on call day, but this was less successful than it might have been – likely due to geographic separation.
We have a weekly staff/reference meeting for training and sharing ideas that includes all librarians, GA, and civil service staff who are available.
We can likely maintain this level of reference assistance if our GA and hourly budget remains intact. Each year we request more GA support, and it either seems to shrink or stay about the same. If it shrinks further, then we will have to cut back somewhere.
There may be a problem with the librarian on call periods, due to the possible consolidation of the Biology Librarian, Vet Med Librarian and Biotechnology Librarian into one position. If this occurs, it does not seem likely that the new 3 in 1 position will be able to take an on call day. Our hub/division did not request this position consolidation and do not support it, but this may be what happens.
Grainger Engineering Library Reference Staffing - Spring 2012.
During the academic school year, Graduate Assistants and/or librarians are scheduled at the newly combined Reference and Circulation desk Sundays from 6 pm to 10 pm , Monday through Thursday 10 am - 5 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm, and Fridays 10 am to 5 pm. Graduate Assistants perform most of the first line of the reference service, but there are librarians or trained staff (with MLS degrees) on call to help with difficult questions or assist when things get very busy. The Chemistry librarian is currently working 2 hours per week on the desk and also attends weekly Reference meetings and actively participates in Grainger reference services.
For many years when Grainger staff received a difficult reference question or reference staff was not available, circulation staff has asked patrons to fill out a Reference Form. We have continued that practice with late night (between midnight and 8 am) hours. Reference forms are left at the Reference terminal for staff to answer the next business day. Forms are used to note what resources have been searched, results and when a question has been answered.
Graduate Assistants are our only reference during weekend hours which include Friday 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm and Sundays 10 am to 6 pm, when the regularly assigned Sunday evening graduate assistant is scheduled. During those times, Graduate Assistants have management responsibilities for the entire building and are also supervising undergraduate student assistants.
Grainger currently has 2.25 FTE graduate assistants funded by the Library. In addition, we have two .50 FTE graduate assistants -- one paid for by a College of Engineering Railroad Engineering grant and the other paid for by the NSF Ethics CORE grant through the Coordinated Science Laboratory – who also assist in reference work. Both of these graduate assistants have regularly assigned reference duties in addition to their grant work.
Since Grainger only has two librarians, we must depend on Graduate Assistants and library staff member(s) to maintain our base reference desk schedule.
We have a weekly staff/reference meeting for training and sharing issues that includes all librarians, GA, and civil service staff who are available.
The Grainger Reference Hub will expand the level of reference assistance in FY12. We will need to maintain our present Graduate Assistant allocation. The planned Engineering Data Services Librarian position needs to be filled. We need to arrange for the Geology librarian and Mathematics Librarian to be trained and to begin to assist with reference services. PSED also plans to include some Grainger reference responsibilities in the new Chemistry librarian job announcement.
Reference Staffing at Main/UGL Hub
During the semester, the Info Desk is staffed 8:30am-11pm Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-6pm Friday, 11am-5pm Saturday, and 1pm-11pm Sunday.
The UGL Desk is staffed 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-6pm Friday, and 10am-9pm Sunday.
The VR desk is staffed 9am-Midnight Monday-Thursday, 11am-5pm Friday, 11am-7pm Saturday, and 11am-Midnight Sunday.
Graduate assistants from units assigned to the Hub provide the bulk of reference service. Subject and Functional specialists and staff also serve at the desk and provide key mentoring to GAs on best practices at all 3 locations. The Hub also relies heavily on referrals to other Subject and Functional specialists for advanced questions or those where discipline-specific knowledge is required to give patrons the best answer.
Training is provided on both core competencies (particularly for new GAs and faculty), as well as introductions to discipline-specific resources and techniques in order to provide a baseline of reference support in these areas and create more informed referrals. GAs will participate in regular training sessions sponsored by the Hub, and all other reference staff will participate in professional development sessions, held bi-weekly or monthly as needed.
The Hub is managed by a team of 4 unit heads and/or desk managers, who are responsible for coordinating training, assessment, service policies, determining staffing levels, and monitor compliance with Hub goals. The Team serves staggered 2 year terms. Scheduling is done by the RRSS Library Specialist in consultation with all units assigned to the Hub.
The Hub librarians anticipate adjusting the amount and type of staffing required through analysis of reference statistics and other assessments that the management team and Reference Services Committee conducts. In particular, the Hub will analyze the mix of experienced staff and GAs from its constituent units needed to provide high quality reference across service points.
The staffing and training model will be assessed regularly beginning Spring 2013, based on the assessment plan developed by the Reference Services Committee.