Library Committee Handbook

Advisory Committee to the
Associate University Librarian for User Services

Committee Charge


FY2010 Annual Report
FY2011 Annual Report


Minutes of Services Advisory Committee Meeting - 08/03/2009

Members Present:  Pat Allen, Kirstin Dougan, Karen Hogenboom, Tony Hynes, Lynne Rudasill, Robert Slater, Peggy Steele, Scott Walter (chair)

Members Absent: Tina Chrzastowski, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, JoAnn Jacoby, Kathleen Kern

Guests: Paula Carns

Appointment of Note Taker

Hogenboom volunteered to take minutes.


Walter noted that Chrzastowski and Hogenboom were completing their terms of appointment as members of the committee and thanked them for their service.

Report on Reference Retreat (Rudasill)

Rudasill reviewed the highlights of a draft report on the Reference Retreat. Feedback on the retreat was positive. Participants identified three goals for reference at the University Library: extended hours, seamless access to subject specialists, and the provision of high-quality reference service.

Participants at the retreat drafted a policy on referrals that they will recommend for review by Services Advisory and broader discussion and adoption across the Library. Participants identified a more robust listing of subject specialists and others to whom more complex questions might be referred as necessary to implement the referral policy. SAC discussed the overlap and the distinction between such a list and the current list of subject specialists available on the Web site that is focused on fund management responsibilities <> - how might we address both needs without creating multiple lists that may add to user confusion?  Participants discussed what an ideal referral form might look like, including the need to track referral statistics, the route a referral takes and the sources consulted by the referring staff member.  Because of different service models in different libraries across campus, sometimes a referral to a library would be more appropriate than a referral to an individual librarian, and the list needs to reflect this.

Participants at the retreat also discussed assessment of reference services, including the need for training in outcome -based assessment.  The limitations of our current mechanisms for assessing reference service ("hash marks") was discussed as was the potential benefit in mandating the use of Desk Tracker for reporting reference statistics was discussed. Walter agreed with the limitations of the current system, but noted that we must continue to foster consistent reporting of the number of reference transactions while we pursue ways of collecting data that would allow for more meaningful assessment of reference service.  The interrelationship of instruction, web sites with a reference focus and function, and traditional reference service was discussed, and ways to measure the role of Web sites in reference service were discussed.  Libguides are a place to start, since almost all of them have a reference purpose.

Rudasill reported that one of the highest-rated parts of the reference retreat were the "lightning talks," where people talked for three minutes about a project they are working on and took questions for two minutes.  The committee discussed including these talks at faculty meetings, and possibly presenting other kinds of reports in this format and creating podcasts of lightning talks so that they can be shared widely in and beyond the Library.

Two recommendations relating to collections came out of the retreat: to create a central fund for reference materials and to develop assessment measures for maintaining subscriptions to reference sources, both print and online. 

The retreat planning committee is pursuing the idea of another half-day retreat in about six months, to keep the conversation going and continue progress on the ideas above. 

The report from the retreat planning group will be reviewed by Services Advisory, then submitted to appropriate bodies for review and implementation of recommendations.

Future Services Retreats

The committee briefly discussed the idea of an annual (or semi-annual) "Services Retreat" that could be focused on different topics each time in order to foster similar sharing and thinking about the full scope of Library Services. The committee will revisit this topic in conjunction with its review of the final report from the Reference Retreat Working Group at a future meeting.